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The Atlanta gang got together this past Saturday to create four amazing scenes from the Star Wars universe to celebrate the new Star Wars movie: Rogue One. Meg Mitchell & Adam Dunlap created a Yoda in the swamps of Degobah. Jessi Queen & Cathryn Bozone created a Jyn Erso and Darth Vader mashup with x-wings, tie-fighters, and AT-STs. James Wheeler & Zach Herndon worked to paint a scene from Empire Strikes Back with Luke Skywalker and a wampa. Katie Bush re-imagined Darth Vader and Storm Trooper helmets as a geometric mosaic.

Just like the last time we were out at PATH400, we started early. We were able to park nearby which was convenient. The vertical walls are an interesting change of pace from chalking on pavement. The texture was much rougher than what we’re used to. The surface isn’t consistent and in some places it was very rough and in other places it was very smooth. The extremely rough parts were tough to blend and the extremely smooth parts wouldn’t hold the chalk. Meg experimented with using the sugar water technique that Jessi and I learned in Germany with moderate success.

At Venice, I met Holland King. He raved about using foam workout mat as a blending tool. Before heading out to Houston last month, I cut some pieces from some mat at home and tried it out. It worked really well. I brought some to use at PATH400 and it was the perfect tool for the rough areas and saved our fingers. James fell in love with it but I didn’t bring enough. James and I took a break at Publix and I found two rubber koozies on sale and they were excellent substitutions. For large areas we used the bottoms of the koozies and for detail we used smaller strips I cut from the remaining koozie.

Cathryn was able to complete the portrait of Darth Vader, but Jessi’s Jyn Erso was only have finished when the rain started up on Saturday about an hour before sunset. We quickly covered all the pieces and retreated to return another day. Cathryn and Jessi returned the following Saturday to make finishing touches. Despite the rain earlier in the week, the vertical space did well to retain most of the drawings. Meg’s Yoda looked especially good after the rain. The streaks that sneaked through the tarp added a sense of authenticity to the swamp.

The pieces were done high up on the walls and required the use of step ladders to add to our reach. It’s odd working on the vertical with chalk because every stroke you make results in half the media falling to the ground. This can be frustrating since when working on the ground you can get a layer of chalk down and then blend, but on the vertical you have to blend as you go. The falling chalk also makes you hyper aware of what’s below where you’re working. If you work from the bottom up, the chalk from later drawing will fall and attach itself to the earlier work. You definitely have to work from top to bottom to keep your piece free from getting muddy.

Katie’s picture looked really great. She used the pounce method to get her picture plotted on the wall. I was skeptical at first since using a pounce typically requires chalk dust to spread around on the paper, but Katie used a smart innovation of liquefying the dust to then paint against the paper. This worked really well and she was able to make quick work of getting her piece laid out.

All in all, we had an awesome time. There were quite a few people on the newly opened path that stopped to admire the work and thanked us for contributing to the neighborhood.