Summer Art Festivals beckon. Merlin looks forward to art walkies walkabout. After the spring Classic cars drive away, the streets in front of Mission San Rafael are resurfaced for the Italian Street Painting Festival. Sponsored by Youth in Arts, our local event attracts world class madonnari, chalk drawing artists. Masters willingly work alongside local artists and students for two days in the hot sun to create 200 vibrant street murals. Thousands of spectators mingle in the street, watching designs take form as the madonnari apply chalk and blend color with hands, cloth, sponges, and tools from their indoor studios.
We hunt for art pals Mark Wagner, Clayton Thiel, and Joel Yau. Mark, his dog Mr. Z, and 5,678 school kids hold the official Guinness World Record for the largest chalk drawing, 90,000 square feet of imaginative image on the old Alameda Naval Air Base. Mark's mission is to re-enchant the world through art, cultivating creative collaboration to open hearts, awaken senses, build community.
By the end of Sunday afternoon, hot, tired, chalk covered artists remove the boundary tape and step back to appreciate the free flowing gallery of expression and vibrancy. Merlin sneaks in after hours to look for depictions of dogs. He spotted a cow, by Art Works Downtown volunteer, Allison Snopek. and declared it his favorite. We tweeted.
Our favorite summer outdoor art event is the Marin Art Festival. Located at Frank Lloyd Wright designed Marin Civic Center lagoon, 250 fine artists inhabit white tents in a spectacular setting 15 minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Flags flutter over airy art booths dotting the lush green lawn around dance and music stages. Costumed performers greet guests as they engage with artists. Merlin presents his own on-going performance art piece, Gopher Discovery, to the delight and amusement of all. This year's Marin Master Artist is our art friend Phyllis Thelen, who's imaginative sculpture of vessels, habitats, and creatures transform natural materials like bark into profound containers of journey, safety, and home. Phyllis was the main force behind the creation of Art Works Downtown, where Merlin greets visitors to the Pavlinac studio and cleans up after receptions. Cindy photographs artwork for artists and has documented Phyllis' work for over 10 years, featuring her voyage vessels in the Marin Arts Council's Artist Dialogue Magazine when she was Editor-in-Chief, in the last century. Phyllis is indeed a master artist, residing in the process, embracing the journey. Merlin appreciated her bark fish.
Stilted Steampunk birds wobbled along artist alleys as Merlin found shaded refuge with wild animal artist Marne Jaye. Her vibrant oil paintings are some of the most exciting work at any festival and Merlin treated his chauffeur to one of her new canteens. Look for us sipping from the electric turquoise, dark gold ribboned zebra water bottle. Merlin is enticed by the enchanting music of Aryeh Frankfurter’s nyckelharpa to plop down in the thick grass and settle in for a gentle recital in the sun. Celtic motifs flowed over and around us in a well-tempered aria of memory, myth, and magic.
We awoke to a gopher staring at us, daring Merlin to pounce. He followed its tunneling sounds to a herd of giant metal animals by the lagoon. On safari from Santa Fe, the kinetic steel sculptures of Fredrick Prescott form colorful creatures that nod in the breeze. Merlin's favorite? The cow!
Art stimulates, enriches, integrates, invigorates, entices, excites, energizes.
Art nourishes our soul, relaxes our minds, opens possibilities.
Art does indeed re-enchant the world.
Some of the best road trips are close to home. Merlin delights in finding old friends in new settings. And we all treasure visiting with our artist pals, basking in tender melodies, discovering new delights, sharing creative expression, traveling in our imaginations to wondrous locations, and finding COWS!
Jun 27, 2010
Jun 13, 2010
Sometimes, the road trip comes to Merlin. Every spring classic cars roll into San Rafael for auto events and admiration. Merlin sniffed out a Model T that drove the Great Race across the Bonneville Speed Flats, several futurama Rocket 88s, a pristine El Dorado, and an intriguing Delorean. The longest running street car show in Northern California, May Madness draws hundreds of vintage rides for a Fourth Street cruise. Merlin supervises from his usual perch on the curb in front of Art Works Downtown, home of the Pavlinac Photo studio and 2nd Friday Art Walks/Cheese Receptions. This year everyone in the afternoon cruising parade pointed and clicked as they drove past Merlin. He smiled politely at his admirers, dwarfed by a giant Iron Horse vehicle taking up two parking spaces in front of the art center. Created out of recycled car parts by Scottie Collinson, it is a Burning Man Art Car and a pun; the horseless carriage horse-shaped vehicle.
A sporty race car zipped in right before the parade to squeeze behind the Iron Horse. Merlin approved of the open air maximum wind-in-your-ears styling, but decided the seat was too buckety for a proper road trip. Cougars, Impalas, Mustangs, Vipers, Roadrunners, and Coyotes rolled past, honking and laughing. And snapping photos with cameras, video, and phones of Merlin, and the giant horseless carriage horse and sporty roadster.
The following weekend the Marin Sonoma Concours d'Elegance gathered several hundred classy classics in fog shrouded Mill Valley at 7am on Saturday morning for The Drive. Porches had their own route over Mount Tam while the pre-1978s roared along the Hwy 1 Pacific coast. Merlin zipped up the freeway to head them off and after a bit of a delay in Petaluma's annual Salute to American Graffiti, we arrived in position for photos as they drove past. Everyone was amused as they began to recognize the big, red, non vintage, but still classic Saturn Merlinmobile. We all rendezvoused on a private ranch/air strip/boat launch for catered lunch and lavish auto mutual appreciation.
Sunday found us on the Concours green with historic autos, hot rods, more Porches, and vintage delivery trucks. Merlin especially enjoyed the Good Humor Ice Cream Truck sign inviting dogs to run off with ice cream bars. Merlin's chauffeur drooled over the lime sorbet 1954 Kaiser Darrin Roadster, built in Michigan, which won a Best in Class Award. Janis Joplin's psychedelic 1965 Porsche was surrounded all day by enthusiastic reminiscers. Merlin's too young to remember the Summer of Love but he experiences the delight of driving freedom, the open road, the journey, his own trippy road trip.
What's your favorite ride for your road trip? Merlin hops into his mighty Merlinmobile, where his dog blankets cushion the entire back seat and the windows wind all the way down.
Dogs remind us to pay attention to the journey, nose to the wind, ears swept back, blissfully drinking in life, full each moment. Enjoy!
The Drive: 150 miles
The Cars: Just over a Century.