Four days after the Festival, I was able to walk normally again! Seriously folks -- it is an incredible experience to be so close to the ground for two days in grueling 90 degree plus heat, "painting" my beloved Equus with chalk pastels -- but, it is physically, mentally and emotionally challenging. However, having never been one to shirk from a challenge, when I heard on Thursday from Suzanne, the Director of the Youth in Arts Program, that I would be painting in the Festival on Saturday, I had a few days to prepare for the event. Using my Feldenkrais skills and meditation, I visioned the entire process from laying out the grid lines, to sketching and finally painting "Camargue Dream", with the chalk pastels in 90 degree heat. When I was exhausted and didn't know how I would be able to make another mark on the ground, I drew on the picture in my mind of pulling myself up by the bootstraps and trudging up the mountain. I knew that I would succeed.
In the morning, I gathered up all of my tools -- brushes and rags for blending, a piece of string to create a chalkline, pieces of felt for blending, a sun hat and sun screen, and plenty of water and a small cooler for snacks to get me through the day -- and I arrived in time for Ole Man Summer to be shining in all of his glory from the East Bay. Covered from head to toe and slathered with 70 Sunscreen, I managed to avoid the inevitable sunburns I got as a kid. Moreover, I developed a real appreciation for the nutrient that sustained me - WATER - throughout the day! Half way through the 2nd day, I started to get a feel for handling the chalk pastels on the asphalt, to the point that I really enjoyed the process of scratching and blending the luxurious media on the ground.
There were so many incredible moments, but the "highlight" of my day at the Festival, was when I had a sudden urge to stand up after painting for 2 hours and right behind me, watching me "paint", stood my Sponsor, Mr. Chris Dempsy, and his children John and Kate. They just "happened" to be standing there when I dragged my stiff body from the abstract images unfolding before my eyes. By this time, I was so full of emotion that I nearly burst into tears because it really is a GIFT to be part of such an incredible event, and Mr. Dempsy's generous GIFT made it possible for me to participate this year, when there were more Sponsors than Artists. Spirit is so GENEROUS!!!
Now that its over, people tell me that they enjoyed seeing my horses at the Festival and ask me, "Will you do it again?" They know its grueling and bolster my confidence when I say, "YES". In fact, on our way home from the Festival, dirty from head to toe with chalk pastel dust, I told my husband, "I just loved painting on the street. I'm going to practice on the street in front of our home." I definitely "heard" him whince at the meer thought, but he didn't object to my aspirations to practice over the year, so I'll be well prepared and ready for the 18th Annual Italian Street Painting Festival next year!