Last Thurs. was National Summer Learning Day. I was invited to participate by the Central Valley Afterschool Foundation in Fresno CA USA to create a chalk drawing that was themed around the education that happens over the summer and after school.
Education and learning is important to keep the kids’ minds active and engaged while school is out. Many kids loose valuable learning skills without being stimulated, it’s especially hard on the less privileged kids, kids without parental interest, time, or energy to be their teachers.
The chalk drawing was at the semi pro Grizzlies Chukchansi baseball stadium. I used a Grizzly Bear’s paw print, baseball player, and combined them with the sun, skateboarding, cheer leading, hip hop dancing, cooking, music, art, science, academics, creative technology, and more.
Weds. night the game was dedicated to the National Summer Learning Day and would be full of kids and parents. There were information booths, music, dance, and cheer leading performances. My piece was designed so that kids and parents could draw all around the borders, it becoming an interactive community collaborative chalk drawing.
The chalk drawing was 22 x 20 ft. which is pretty darn big for one person and a day and a half. I started around 5pm on Tues night.It was a beautiful warm night with sun setting. I worked until I couldn’t see the differences in color due to the night.
After I figured out where I was going to draw, did the math and measurements, set up the grid, and enlarged my drawing by using grids, I came into a problem. The surface that I was drawing on was one the smoothest I have ever worked on.
I worked on something smooth when I was helping Tracy Stum on a chalk drawing project. She used hair spray to first create a tacky connection to the surface and then chalk draw on top. My piece was way too big for that to be an option. I freaked out for a few moments.
But then as with all creative problems, I let the surface teach me. I leaned into it and discovered how it would work best. At other chalk drawing festivals the street can take a lot of chalk. A too rough street sucks and is just as bad as a too smooth street. It’s the baby bear thing… not too cold, not too hot, just right. With a street or pavement that is just right, you can push the chalk into the street, you can layer the chalk, get deep rick solid colors, and even then draw on the surface.
And over time it does always work out. That is something I have learned over time, in the beginning is almost always looks horrible, but staying with it, it always looks better than you thought.
And then the doors were open, the kids and parents came. People were drawing late into the evening. I made some great connections and meet some wonderful people who were passionate about kids, learning, and humanity.
if you haven’t bought one of our World Record Chalk Drawing Books, please do!