Chalk art tradition continues at the Bellevue arts festivals

The artist’s face is pensive as she studies a Picasso on a print out. Her fingers, caked in color, slide across the concrete. With each stroke of chalk, she transfers his brilliant colors to the sidewalk outside the Bellevue Arts Museum.

Street painter and chalk artist Gabrielle Abbott works on a piece outside the Bellevue Arts Museum during its annual ARTSfair July 28.

The artist’s face is pensive as she studies a Picasso on a print out.  Her fingers, caked in color, slide across the concrete. With each stroke of chalk, she transfers his brilliant colors to the sidewalk outside the Bellevue Arts Museum.

While hundreds pass Gabrielle Abbott by the hour, none are more fascinated than the children, who often try to join the game.

“I think it makes fine art accessible to everyone,” Abbott says.

To complete the experience, a bucket of chalk greeted families just a few feet away. Sixth Street belonged to their creativity through the ARTSfair July 27-28.

While chalk art, or street painting, dates back to the Renaissance, there are only two known street painters in Northwest. Abbott was invited to Bellevue for the first time this year, when long-standing fair artist, Brian Major, made another commitment.

She first encountered the art form in Florence, Italy, where she studied classical art for three years. She joined a guild and gave it a try.

Although she cried when she had to leave her first painting, she’s grown fond of the idea that beauty is temporary. Street painting is her form of a Buddhist Mandala.

When she arrived home at Seattle, she decided to test the city. She set up camp at the Westlake Center park.

“I just wanted to see how it’d go over,” she said.

As expected, a police officer told her she really wasn’t allowed to paint the street in chalk, but it was so cool he wasn’t going to stop her. He did, however, ask her to call the park manager and ask for a commission.

She’s returned each year since, now paid for her work.

Unlike the pastel colors of sidewalk chalk, she uses artist chalk and powdered pigment mixed with water, which can be applied with a brush.

“It’s not fussy or refined,” she said. “It’s very tactile.”

Gabrielle Abbott works on a chalk art piece at the Bellevue Arts Museum’s ARTSfair July 28. She reproduced a painting by Picasso.

 

More in Life

After 70 years of serving, Grace Lutheran Church in Bellevue is permanently closed. The church donated $3.6 million to homeless services on the Eastside. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo
Local church closes, donates assets to nonprofits

Grace Lutheran Church donates $3.6 million to homeless services on the Eastside.

Mindful goal setting | Health Column

What are the roots of you life goals?

Nityia Photography
Happy Fourth — Do we have freedom? What is freedom anyway?

A column about mindfulness and mental well being.

Celebrating the Fourth on the Eastside

Events around the Eastside.

Celebrating the Fourth on the Eastside

Americans all over the country including the Eastside region will gather on… Continue reading

Customer buys green leaves from Foothills Farms at the opening market day in Bellevue on May 16. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo
It’s officially market season

Bellevue Farmers Market will run every Thursday through October.

Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo
                                Bellevue resident and blind cyclist Clark Roberts will be riding his tenth 206-mile Seattle to Portland bicycle ride in June.
The gift of sight loss

Bellevue’s Clark Roberts to ride his 10th Seattle-to-Portland bicycle ride

Ramit Malhotra and Tanvee Kale star in “Devi” at Allen Theatre at ACT. Photo courtesy of Siddhartha Saha Photography
Pratidhwani produces ‘Devi’ with Eastside actors

The show will feature actors from Bellevue, Redmond and Kirkland.

Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo 
                                Claire Cannon and daughter Riley, 2, pose for a photo while enjoying the sheep at the annual sheep shearing event at Kelsey Creek Farm on April 27.
Bellevue shears the fun at annual sheep shearing event

The day consisted of various sheep activities and pony rides.

Regional anesthesia improves outcomes for total knee replacement

The technique not only reduces pain, but allows patients to maintain muscle strength in the leg.

Libraries are places of connection and community pride | Library column

Written by Lisa Rosenblum, the director of the King County Library System.