Contrast is an important element for any artist, but the concept took on new meaning when students from Santa Fe Christian School put their lesson on chalk art into action.
Participating in Carlsbad’s ArtSplash during the last weekend in September, students in Barbara Farrington’s upper level art classes turned black pavement into works of art in 100-degree temperatures.
Less than a week later, they used the school’s center quad as a canvas, but this time under cloudy skies and possible thunderstorms.
The threat of rain didn’t deter the young artists as they set up tents or worked in sheltered areas to re-create chalk works by five pop artists.
Chalk painting festivals throughout California have been patterned after those that originated in 16th
century Renaissance Italy, Farrington said. The artists were called “madonnari” after their customary practice of re-creating chalk paintings of the Madonna. They earned their living from coins from passers-by.
Today artists worldwide are taking to the streets, bringing with them new ideas, techniques and an excitement from this ancient form of expression, Farrington said. Her students experience this centuries-old art form annually as they re-create works by European masters or contemporary artists.
Farrington said she chose pop art this year because she felt it would translate well into chalk. Each year her students participate in one community event and share their projects with their classmates.
“Working in groups, the students not only learn about enlarging artworks on a grand scale, but they learn to work with one another in a fun, creative endeavor,” Farrington said. “All students at the school get to see these giant ‘canvases’ emerge as the students work in the central quad and are visible to students passing from one class to another during breaks and at lunch.”
“It’s amazing,” student Connor Close said as he watched classmates Megan Sacher and Sophie Bowles work on “Liberty” by Peter Max.
“It’s a different experience than what we’re used to in class,” junior Alyssa Barkley of Encinitas said. “It’s a different medium and we work with other people.”
“It’s actually really fun to do,” said 16-year-old Viviyan Zoechling, who worked with Alyssa and Kristin Wolfe to re-create “Cupcakes” by Wayne Thiebaud.