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