Moving Between Sunlight and Shadow

Posted September 30, 2016 by Kerry McFall

Sunlight and Shadow at a festival

“Fall Festival 2016 Corvallis”, mixed media by Kerry McFall, 8 x 10 prints $25

The biggest challenge for me with  “urban sketching” is squirmy people.  Not only do people move constantly and strike awkward poses, they wander in and out of the light, in and out of my line of sight.  (Hey, that almost rhymes… ) Okay, that rose hedge in the center could be a little less pointy. And I only fudged a tiny bit by using a couple of photos I snapped to help capture the poses as folks strolled around the festival.  The actual Hat Lady was not quite this elegant or graceful, to be honest – she was more of an old-school unreconstructed hippie who just happened to have a really lovely hat… which is rare here in Corvallis, the honorary Capital of The Land of Dopey Hats.

But this was a fun challenge.  What started out as a quick sketch made from a shady bench became a watercolor with a story to tell.  Is the lady with the hat about to rendezvous with the guy in the orange sweatshirt?  Does he even know she’s there?  Or did the guy with the backpack, walking out of the picture, just realize that he’s been stood up and is going to the beer tent to assuage his broken ego?  And what did that shadowy little kid find under the tarp on the left?

Fall Festival is one of Corvallis’ seasonal trademarks.  Artists and artisans fill Central Park, each tent and booth representing at least an entire year’s worth of hard work and creative sweat.  I somehow doubt that most of the festival goers realize just how much effort it takes to get those tents up and decorated and stocked and ready for action.  For many artists, the circuit of summer tent sales like this are how they pay the rent, and it’s a tough way to make a living.  It almost feels like we the “shoppers” should leave a tip for every time we say, “I LOVE your work!” and then mosey on to the next tent without buying a thing.  Just sayin’.

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