Linnie Aikens Arts and Letters • HeART Haven Studios

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iMadonnari Festival at the Santa Barbara Mission 2013

This is one of my favorite festivals all year in Santa Barbara, and I’ve been painting on one square or another every year since 1997.  Because I’m heading off to live in Albuquerque soon, I am feeling rather nostalgic about all of my years working at this festival.  The community really comes together for this, with over 200 artists, 300 if you count all the childrens’ personal art as well!  Yes, there are artists who come in from out of town, and the highlighted 8 ft x 8 ft square in front of the Mission is often from elsewhere (I wish we’d have more local artists do that one!!) but we do have many many locals painting.  I love it!  From the beautiful display of chalks lined up in a chromatic spectrum, to the chalk smears on faces, clothes and bodies!   


For an artist, we being typically a quieter, more introspective bunch, this provides us an opportunity to be more social.  We’re in our element, painting (somewhat likened to “hiding behind the camera”!) but passerbys draw us out and ask us questions, and we make the rounds to praise our fellow artists, and they us.  It’s a fun event, albeit tiring.  The hot sun is one thing, but it’s the blazing blacktop that really gets you!!


If there is such a festival in Albuquerque, I know I’ll be there...if not, I will work to get one there!


Cheryl Guthrie, Fellow Kung Fu San Soo Artist and Pastel Artist and Friend

I was fascinated watching this woman even more than her art.  She was so solitary and unaware of anyone around her.  No earphones walled her off from the jangle of music and conversation around her, yet she seemed totally alone with her chalks.  The quiet, peaceful art and beauty of her posture and presence just lent a spiritual connection to art and artist here.  The beauty of the lines in her face, the creases in her shirt and chalk smearing her pants....As a viewer, I felt I’d been given a precious glimpse into her world that outside of iMadonnari, few may get to see.


My good friend, Victor Sigismondi, a graphic artist in town, painted these over the years.  He and I love DaVinci for his great artistic and scientific mind.  I love “renaissance men and women” -- those with minds, hearts and spirits that just won’t be contained or categorized in any one area or genre!  Victor is also such a man.  My mother and Daughter as well.  I am very much so at heart!  He and I toured the paintings this year, both on Saturday and then on Monday, when most were done. One has to visit them at different stages!  One should not miss the wonderful gelato while there as well!


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