Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Madonnari chalk drawing festival

Oh where to start... Madonnari is an Italian Street Painting Festival dating back to the 16th century where painters transform village street squares into colorful temporary galleries. Well, my little town decided to host it's own "Madonnari Off Main" in downtown Glen Ellyn. This is the second annual, last year we had a little 2' x 2' square my daughter designed and colored. But this year... my favoritist rock band in the world was sponsoring a fan contest, how could I NOT participate? I bought a square for $25, ALL proceeds going to Ronald McDonald House. It was simple, draw a picture that had something to do with the Lovehammers music... the winner gets to have DINNER with the band!! What are the chances... ?

By the way, I wouldn't even have attempted it without my art partner and 8 year old daughter! Our canvas was a 5' x 5' square of asphalt. That's right. Parking lot material. I had drawn out my design on a 9" x 12" paper the day before and gridded it so I wouldn't be flying completely by the seat of my pants. Dick Blick supplied gobs and gobs of chalk and little brushes and we were on our knees by 10:00 a.m. Here is about 30 minutes into it:

Luckily it was a beautiful warm sunny day, We got some great compliments by passers-by. One lady's observations on my drawing just floored me. She noticed the symbolism and really "got it". Another guy looks and asks "Does that mean what I think it means?" and after a second, I burst out laughing and told him no. He said he had three daughters and just thought that... well, it was a good message anyway. About 2.5 hours into it, the picture looked like this:

It took another hour and a half to put down all the blue and add shading and details to the lettering. I think we used about 10 sticks of blue chalk. And if you dab the chalk with a paintbrush while laying it down, it goes deep into the cracks of the asphalt and really makes the color pop brightly. We were done by 2:00. It took 8 hours between the two of us! And my little partner plugged along the entire time, not complaining about sore knees, loving every minute of it. Here are some details of the picture:

So we checked in with the contest people and got some lunch, and wandered around for a few hours. Here's a weird part (cue Twilight Zone music) We walked by our drawing once and found a bright yellow piece of paper just sitting on the drawing. It was a menu from a restaurant called Bistro Monet. I picked it up and perused it and laughed at the fancy descriptions of the food. We walked around some more. By the time we got back we were informed... we would be having DINNER WITH THE BAND!!! That night! Like, in an hour! Ack. I didn't have time to be nervous. I called my husband and casually mentioned that we would be dining with the Lovehammers, don't expect us home for awhile (there was a free concert afterward too!) Well, I was in athletic capris, really dirty shoes, all my makeup had been sweated off and my hair had a really bad case of hat-head. And I had chalk under my nails. Where was dinner? A REALLY fancy french restuarant in downtown Glen Ellyn, Bistro Monet. (Twilight Zone music again!)

This is the band. On the left is Dino Kourelis. I am second from left, my daughter next to me. Then there's a fan, Marty Casey, and another fan. On the right side is Bobby Kourelis and Billy Sawilchik. Let me tell you... I've met "Rock Stars" before... and these guys were the nicest, most down to earth people ever. It was so easy to talk to them and ask questions. I thought at first that I would be really nervous and not say a word, but it was the opposite, my mouth probably ran too much. They were very gracious with my daughter and included her in the conversations. Several members have kids of their own and they didn't swear once! We were there for about an hour and a half and the time flew by! The other girls in the back flocking Marty Casey were the other winners. I'll be completely honest here... there were only two participants so the band decided to invite us all! (Although I like my picture better, hehe.) I was walking on clouds the entire weekend... because really, what are the chances of ME dining with my favorite band?

About the Lovehammers: Singer Marty Casey was on the reality show RockStar INXS where he came in second (thank goodness... he's too good for INXS!) He toured with L.A. Guns a few summers ago and now he's focused on his longtime band Lovehammers. The band members are all from the Chicago area so they have a nice following here. They do ALOT of concerts for charity and fundraising events, bless their souls. They have raised money for animal shelters, Ronald McDonald House, pediatric cancer research, and various other local charities. Marty Casey's Silver Elements Collection donates money to American Forests “Global Releaf” Ecosystem Restoration Projects.

The picture we drew was imagined from the song "Honest I'll Wait" from the Lovehammers newest CD "Heavy Crown".

Honest I'll Wait
Whatever gets you high will never get you through your worries
Affection that you feel, the pain inside your skin can't bury
If this road that you take is three times luckier
The earth is gonna shake and the restless souls will come for you.
Honest I'll wait, till the wave crashes over me
In wide open space, your sound fills the rest of me
No matter how I try, I can't escape this way I'm feeling
No longer run and hide, I turn and face the wave that heals me
If this road that you take is three times luckier
The earth is gonna shake and the restless souls will come for you.
Honest I'll wait; honest I'll wait
Till the sun refuse to shine, honest I will wait.


  1. I'm so happy for you and your daughter. Love your chalk drawing and the song! What an awesome experience!

  2. This is sooooo cool, Congrats and what a prize!!!
    I see why it won. What a wonderful creation. Its too bad it will be washed away. I'm glad you took pics to share.
    Thank you for stopping by my blog and for your kind words.
    Good luck in my giveaway too!

  3. Cool, Cool, Cooooool! Congratulations! Your drawing is fabulous! I'm not familiar with this band but they really seem very generous and very cool.

  4. Wow! what an amazing piece of pavement art, Congrats to you and your daughter for creating this - I love it and I love the fact that you got to have dinner with your favourite band as a reward... how cool was that; glad they didn't disappoint and were nice guys.
    Your excitement positively spilled out in this piece and yes I loved reading about it xxx

  5. Tres cool! The whole thing just screams fun....

    thanks for the virtual here from the SJ yahoo group.

    I love that chalk drawing!

  6. What a great story with a great ending! Congratulations on a job well done. Your drawing was wonderful! Also, your daughter is really cute. nancy

  7. What a wonderful Artfull momment in time to remember with your daughter
    Art Rocks !!

    thanks for shareing

  8. This is just great! Nice artwork, nice people, I hope nice food, too. Sounds like everything was a lot of fun, and how nice for your daughter to be there sharing it all!

  9. Well congrats on getting to eat dinner with your favorite band. Great picture you and your daughter made. What a great memory this will be for her.

  10. Thank you for sharing your wonderful day! What a fantastic memory for you and your daughter. Your art is terrific!


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