How to be awesome at street painting

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Street painting might seem like child's play, but pop by Via Colori this weekend and you'll learn otherwise from the talented artists at work. As far as I know, Bob Ross didn't make an instructional series on street painting, so you'll need some help getting started.

1. Get the Goods

You'll need lots of chalk, and not the kind lumpy-rumped old teachers use. Visit an art supply story and get chalk pastels - they're more precise, vibrant and long-lasting. Next, you'll want to put on some hideously outdated clothes, because they'll get messy quickly.

2. Conjure a vision

Coming up with a design can be tricky. Try transcendental mediation, typing nonsense into Google Image Search or simply "reappropriating" someone else's work. A colorful image is good, but it's best to start small and simple - the more solid colors, the easier.

3. Square one

Unless you plan to wing it, draw or print out your design. Using a ruler, draw a basic grid over your paper design. Find a smooth, preferably concrete, surface to start chalking. Using a light piece of chalk, enlarge your paper grid on the concrete canvas. See, math can be fun.

4. Paint by numbers

Using your paper grid as reference for scale, start by outlining the main subject on the ground. Then, working from top to bottom, fill in large chunks of color as appropriate. Starting with lighter colors, apply layers of chalk to create rich, blending hues. You'll want to add enough layers to mask the surface texture, kind of like Joan Rivers' makeup.

5. Enjoy yourself

It's fun to crawl around on the pavement like a kid - be creative and don't worry about the final product. Assuming neighborhood mutts don't relieve themselves on your work, it can linger for a couple weeks. Get a beret and cigarette extender, then mutter to passersby, "You see, what I was going for here ... "