Last weekend I took my sister to the annual Denver Chalk Art Festival in Larimer Square. We went on Saturday; as we discovered, most of the pictures are not finished until Sunday, so that’s when we should have gone. Here’s a sampling of what we saw. Unfortunately, I don’t have the artists’ names for any of them. The portrait of the woman in white was especially interesting: The picture itself was oddly elongated, but a piece of paper taped to the ground in front of it directed you to stand there and look through your camera lens. And voilà, the picture appeared in proper perspective. It’s funny to think of the thousands of photographs of this picture that now exist in Colorado. Other chalk artists set themselves the task of reproducing a painting; the photo of the American Indian with the buffalo robe shows a detail of one of these.
It isn’t new—in fact, it was dedicated in 1914—but St. Louisans sometimes refer to the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis as the “New Cathedral,” in contradistinction to the much smaller, historic “Old Cathedral” on the riverfront. These iPhone photos have been improved as much as my middling Photoshop capability can make them. The Wikipedia article about the cathedral has immensely better photographs. The Cathedral Basilica contains one of the largest collections of mosaics in the world. It’s something of a hidden treasure in the heart of St. Louis, not far from Forest Park.
Closeup of textured stainless steel on one of the sculptures in Benson Sculpture Garden, Loveland, Colo.
I’m keenly missing many things from Southern Illinois—besides my friends, I mean, whom I miss constantly. Maybe it’s time to tally up a few things I like about Colorado and Loveland, to allay a sort of disoriented feeling I’ve been getting lately when I ponder that I really live out here now:
- Cool nights even on hot days.
- Lilacs. The lilacs out here grow much larger and bloom much longer than they do in Southern Illinois. (I guess the cold nights agree with them.) The large lilac in my yard bloomed for a full month this May. And in Loveland there are enough lilac bushes to perfume the air for several weeks.
- Rocky Mountain National Park. Now that U.S. 34 is once again open through Big Thompson Canyon, it’s less than an hour away. Also: The Peak-to-Peak Highway, which runs from Black Hawk to Estes Park, and the drive from Fairplay over the mountains to Breckinridge. I’m itching to do some mountain drives that are new to me.
- The sky. Although I don’t see as much of it as I’d like to, I see enough to appreciate that the clouds are very interesting out here. If it weren’t for the fact that winters and summers are both more extreme out on the open plains, and everything so remote, I’d like to live out there. Since my house has no mountain view, I wish it at least had a good view of the sky. Fortunately, things open out just a block or two from home.
- Benson Sculpture Garden in Loveland, which has more than 100 works of art, mostly bronzes, in a very pretty pond setting.
- Aspens, of course, and columbines, with their lovely molded five-cupped centers.
- Tokyo Joe’s, a “fast-casual” chain where I can get a big bowl of udon noodles, veggies, and wild salmon for $11.65. Oh, and New York–style pizza bought by the slice. Yeah, they have that here! I wouldn’t be my mother’s daughter if I didn’t mention food in some fashion.
- No chiggers! As Calvin Trillin knows, this is never the least consideration in any list of positive attributes.
That’s a start. More later, I hope.
From digitized negative; cropping and some color saturation.
These photo is of a wall neighboring a burned and demolished building in Sesser, Ill. Digitized negative; color slightly saturated.