Street Art Post Mortem

I would safely venture to say that last weekend was one of the best for the Houston Via Colori. The weather was fantastic.

Art by Lilibeth André, Photo by Leila Abaso

Art by Lilibeth André, Photo by Leila Abaso

There were two years where we had rain enough to rain us out on Saturday, and one that rained us out on Sunday. Luckily, I was able to finish painting my square that Sunday and that Saturday, respectively, so I was fortunate to take photos of the completed works.

Two years it was hot and muggy and one year it was cold but in the mix, it was always great fun and I finished my paintings and got to talk to the festival attendees.

This year was no exception and although Saturday started a little cool, it was nothing my long sleeves couldn’t handle once I got down to work on my square.

I counted with the help of two assistants this year. It is good to teach others how to do the street art and it helps me be able to focus on the work at hand. One of them is even considering painting his own square next year.

My assistants helped me grid my square. I then outlined the image so they could begin to color block the sky and grass. I then showed them blending techniques and you can see them apply it in the sky.

Art by Lilibeth André, Photo by Thu-Hang Do

Art by Lilibeth André, Photo by Thu-Hang Do

I grid the image because it helps me work faster. I can quickly transfer the image to the pavement and focus on the application of color as quickly as possible.

This year, we were asked to draw the name of our square sponsors into the square so after outlining the image, I focused on placing the lettering and by 10:30 am, I had a an outlined image with lettering and background blocking in progress.

I get so focused that I don’t really get hungry. I mostly get thirsty but my assistants were there to make sure I ate and took breaks to stretch my legs. My favorite working position is on my knees and it makes for sore knees, thighs and glutes so standing up and walking gets the circulation pumping and gives me a chance to flex the trunk and roll my shoulders.

The afternoon was mostly for detailing and completing the color on the path I leave blank to allow for an “escape” route in and out of the image on the 10 ft. x 10 ft. square.

By 5:00pm I was ready to call it a day and let the pastel settle overnight. The weather promised to be calm and dry that night so covering the image was not necessary. I spotted a few areas here and there and left the site.

Sunday was beautiful. No damage to the image occurred overnight and I focused on freshening up the brights and adding a bit more dimension. A nice observer pointed out to me that my musical notes were inverted and I was glad to make the correction.

So the Jaguar Knight, my Aztec warrior, was now complete.

Art by Lilibeth André, Photo by Thu-Hang Do

Art by Lilibeth André, Photo by Thu-Hang Do

This image of the Jaguar Knight is an adaptation of the illustration I created for my book, The Lady of the Turquoise Pendant. This version for Houston Via Colori was more lyrical and symbolic. I also incorporated the condition of the pavement to lend the image greater character and effect. The background of the painting includes two volcanoes in the horizon. My story was inspired by the leyend that tells how the volcanoes were formed.

In the background of the image is also a conch shell with three musical notes below it. Conch shells were used by the Aztecs to express various calls. Having no horns or telephones, the conch shell was used to signal messages and also as a musical instrument. This I included to honor the work of the Center for Hearing and Speech and the work that they do to help kids hear and teach them to speak. They have organized this event for the last seven years in Houston as their main fundraiser and I appreciate being included as one of the artists who contribute with their work.

This year, the festival took place all around City Hall. Mayor Annise Parker joined the festival and stopped by to say hello to the artists. Two festival attendees were generous enough to take the time to share their photos with me and I want to express my appreciation for their submission. Thank you Leyla Abaso and Thu-Hang Do.

 

 

 

 

 

Orchid Flower Love Poetry

This is to give you a sneak peak at “Orchid Flower Love Poetry“, Raymond Chong’s new book of poems. This is Chong’s second book and I, once again, have the honor of being included as the cover illustrator. In his first book, “Plum Blossom Love Poetry“, I also did chapter illustrations.

This series of watercolors were inspired by Chong’s poems. Each piece is filled with symbolism that would be even more deeply understood after reading the selected poetry in these books.

Enjoy! I most certainly have. These projects called for watercolors and I was happy to oblige.

 

December Art Calendar

Mark your calendar for the following events that will close my art activities for the 2012 year.

Friday, December, 6-9pm: The Story of Izta – The Aztec Princess, an art exhibition and book event, presented by the Houston Institute for Culture at the East End Studio Gallery located at 708 Telephone Road, Suite C, Houston, Texas 77023.

Sunday, December 23: The current My Journey, My Story/Mi Viaje, Mi Historia: Mexican Art & Culture Exhibition, at the Pearl Fincher Museum of Fine Art, in the Main Gallery, is open but comes to a close on December 23. The exhibition includes three paintings from my Mexico Series. The Museum is located at 6815 Cypresswood Drive, Spring, Texas 77379, (281)  376-6322.

November-December: Appointments are booking now for the studio holiday offerings. Make it an Art Holiday with an André original or print. All studio inventory is 20-50% off, including prints. Framed art is discounted 20%. Unframed art and prints are discounted 50%. Email or call to set your appointment.

Thank you for your readership. Have a fantastic Holiday Season.

My Via Colori #6

As I finalize all the necessary goodies in my work bag I am almost ready for my 6th Houston Via Colori. In the last six years I’ve created seven street paintings for the Center for Hearing and Speech at the Houston Via Colori, a festival of temporary street art where hundreds of artists give their talent to create beautiful and colorful masterpieces that will only last the weekend.

In past paintings I’ve created squares of different sizes: 6 x 6; 8 x 8; 10 x 10; and 13 x 13. The first year I created a marsh scene typical of our coastal terrain. I then went classical to recreate details of well-known paintings and even sculpture. Last year I did a self-portrait in a classical vein.

The Shackouls Family Foundation is the sponsor of my 10 ft. by 10 ft. square this year. I’ll be located in the Piazzas (square A10), between City Hall and the Houston Public Library, on the library side. I will be recreating one of the illustrations from my book, The Lady of the Turquoise Pendant adapted especially for Via Colori.

The weather should be fantastic for a fall weekend of art.

Sustainability and Infrastructure

Why is density in the urban environment considered to be more sustainable?

It is all part of economics. It is easier, because of cost and affordability, to create an installation of any sort in a reduced space than to extend it out to multiple distant destinations.

If a tree has to nourish tall and extensive branches, it needs a broad trunk and deep roots set in fertile ground. The alternative would be that branches that break away from the main trunk generate the ability to nourish themselves independent of the trunk and root system.

If a city needs to tend to demanding and growing needs within its core and supply for the needs of ever growing outlying areas then it’s “trunk and root system” need to be bedded in very fertile ground. That is rarely the case anymore.

Density is a solution that localizes resources for efficiency purposes and generates a greater and more beneficial impact on the investment. Services can be enhanced. Design can be more sophisticated, anthropometric and utilitarian, and the sense of community can be greater as more and more people condense in an urban area that is warm and inviting because it works with the natural assets of the terrain. This in itself enhances sustainability.

Are we ready for ‘densification’? Or a better question to ask would be: Is our infrastructure ready for densification?

In Houston Engineers Give Roads, Water Lines Barely Passing Grades, a Houston Chronicle article by Dug Begley, we seem to have the perfect opportunity to prepare for densification. If our infrastructure is nearing obsolescence then let’s not spend our money creating new and farther infrastructure. Let’s revamp what is reaching its term and create an infrastructure that can manage greater and expanded need. That way, when we increase the density of urban living with business and services to support it, we won’t have to ponder what will happen when more and more people head for the shower or flush at 6:00 am, what kind of traffic we will face at 5:00 pm in our neighborhood streets, or whether we will be able to catch a frequent and dependable bus or rail on infrastructure that has shady tree-laced streets with interconnected bikeways, sidewalks and sidewalk businesses welcoming walk-in traffic.

Perhaps a ‘bad grade’ is only a great opportunity to focus on rebuilding a better and denser city core before the crowds get here.

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