Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Chalk Art

By Christina VanGinkel

As the heat of this summer roars on, finding activities to keep occupied, without risking overheating can be a task all on its own. Staying indoors is often preferable, but even the most contented air conditioner hugger may suddenly find themselves longing for the outdoors even in the blazing heat. When that happens, try to choose an activity that will provide some relief from the boredom of being cooped up, yet allow you to express some creativity at the same time. Try sidewalk chalk art! An inexpensive hobby that can bring back memories of childhood and that can be done any place you have a sidewalk or paved expanse such as a driveway. Whether kids, adults, or both are involved, if you are using any surface for a canvas that is normally a place that vehicles travel or are parked, be sure to keep safety at the forefront of your activities. Cordon off the area, and move vehicles out of the area. If this cannot be safely accomplished, choose an alternative place to create and play. Also, with the heat an issue, do try to choose an area that is predominantly in the shade.

Almost any craft store or five an dime will carry at least a rudimentary box of colored chalk. I actually picked up a big plastic tub of fat, easy to handle colored chalk sticks at the local dollar store. Yep, I bought a whole bucket of chalk in a rainbow of colors for only a dollar. I ended up picking up several tubs actually, keeping a couple at my house and dropping off a bucket at my young grandsons. Once you have your chalk in hand, begin.

One of the greatest things about chalk art is that the sky is literally the limit. If you have a bit of graffiti artist in you, express yourself away. Artist incognito? No problem, as you have a completely wide canvas before you just waiting to be filled. You will even begin to forget the heat of the day as you lose yourself amongst the rainbow of colors. Moreover, what happens if you make a mistake? Grab a bucket of water and wash it away. Other summers, this would mean waiting an undetermined amount of time for your concrete or paved canvas to dry up, but most places this year, you will be all dried up and ready to start over in about half an hour at the most.

If you have small children, get them going in their own corner and create them a display that will wow their socks off. My son in law did just this by drawing a huge dinosaur and crocodile along the front walk to his house the other afternoon. My young grandson was given the task of drawing apples and other fruits to feed the two creatures. As hot out as the afternoon was, by keeping to the shaded areas of the pavement, they managed to while away over an hour outside. For the next couple of days, their creation was the talk of anyone who happened to walk by. Yesterday morning they awoke to rain, something much needed by us, and my grandson came flying away from the window to exclaim that the croc and dinosaur had gone! Even as the chalk was being washed away, they were still entertaining.

Chalk art can be a fun hobby, allowing just about anyone, no matter their age, to have a bit of fun and express their creativity. For those who might want to take this type of creativity to the next level, be sure to check out products such as the newest spray chalks. Similar to spray paint, spray chalk is applied in much the same way, yet is easily washed off, allowing that aforementioned graffiti artist yet one more level of expression, yet without the permanence, that lands many of them in trouble. Available in a variety of colors, spray on chalk can be used on virtually any surface and washes away with ease, no scrubbing required, just water, and is great for decorating everything from windows to vehicles, even the grass in the front yard. When the heat of summer is gone, spray on chalk can still be fun, as it can even be used on snow, perfect for decorating snow forts and snowmen! Have fun!

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