Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Where the sidewalk ends...

 and becomes a msterpiece! I love sidewalks. When I was a kid the sidewalk was like far away from our front door and close enough to the street to feel like you were someplace else. We always had a lot of yard around our house and the front yard in the Des Moines house was three steps above the sidewalk so there were steps at the end of our front walk. Best place ever to hang out and play. We didn't have a fence but a 30" cement retaining wall all around the front yard. The sidewalk is where we played hopscotch, and jacks and jump-rope. We dragged our dolls out and pretended they lived in apartments -each step a different apartment. There were flower dolls to be made out of hollyhocks and tooth picks and crowns out of white and purple clover. And when the people next door remodeled their house we discovered that there was 'chalk' in the walls just waiting for us to peel the paper away and draw with it.

When my kids were young the sidewalk and driveway represented a huge canvas just waiting for us to make our marks. On really hot days all it took was a bucket of water and a paint brush. Pictures would magically disappear so we could start all over again. We used sidewalk chalk by the pound. The cement around our house was always filled with colors and images.

 Last week I ordered a case of sidewalk chalk. For the next two weeks my students and I are going outside the studio to draw on the sidewalk. Of course I won't let them draw just anything. My students will be re-creating some of Van Gogh's masterpieces on the sidewalk. Here is the first third of Van Gogh's "Iris" from 1889.

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