Taking it to the Streets

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Published in IN Community Magazines – Moon Township Winter 2016

PITTSBURGH – Paige Landay, an art student from Moon, says her first attempt at street painting with chalk pastels was a challenging and rewarding experience. She created the painting for the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts in State College in July.

Landay graduated from Moon Area High School in 2014 and is a junior at Penn State University where she studies art education. After attending the arts festival for several years, she decided to participate in this year’s street painting event. Using chalk pastels and painting on the street surface were both new experiences, Landay says.

“Working on the street surface is not like canvas or paper,” Landay says. “You are on top of the artwork rather than having paper on an easel.”

She created a grid to help her map out the painting and create the proper perspective. Landay brought a gardening kneepad because she had to kneel for many hours while completing her painting.

“I was in many different awkward positions to try and work on the piece without ruining it,” she says.

Landay also had to contend with the weather and two rainstorms threatened to wash away her work. She had to use tarps and a tent to protect her painting. It took about 20 hours to complete the work and the weather was also very hot.

Landay and several other artists completed their works while the art festival was ongoing, so attendees could watch them work. Many passersby asked questions and offered compliments while Landay worked, and she sometimes took breaks to chat with onlookers. One observer told Landay she will be a great inspiration as an art teacher.

“It was a very interactive experience,” she says. “It was fun to get that immediate response rather than waiting until the piece is finished.”

Her piece was based on the painting “Girl with Sailboat,” which was originally created by artist Edmund Charles Tarbell in 1899. She chose that picture because it had a summer theme and incorporated lots of colors.

“Since the street surface is already dark, I wanted to make sure I could use very vibrant colors,” Landay says.

After the festival ended, the streets were washed and the paintings disappeared. Landay says she would have been frustrated if the rain had washed away her painting while she was working on it, but she was not disappointed that her painting was only on display temporarily.

“It served its purpose,” she says. “We also took lots of pictures.”

In the future, Landay would like to expand her artistic skills by exploring other media. She is enrolled in a studio art class this semester and is looking forward to trying her had at oil painting because many famous artists have worked in that medium. Landay says she has always wanted to be an art teacher and that art was her favorite class in school. Her family supported her artistic pursuits and encouraged her to attend different workshops and camps. Landay also enjoys studying art history and impressionists, such as Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh, are among her favorite artists. Landay enjoys working with many different media but says painting and drawing are her two favorite pursuits.

“I feel more comfortable with a paintbrush or pencil in my hand,” she says. “But, you have to know how to do everything to be an art teacher.”

Landay says she has always wanted to be an art teacher and would prefer to teach either elementary school students or high school students. Working in an elementary school means she could help students develop a passion for art at a young age. On the other hand, she could also help high school students further develop their talents. She advises students of any age who are interested in art to continue practicing.

“Never stop doing it because you can do artwork as long as you live,” Landay says. “I don’t want them to be discouraged about doing art in their life.”

Since she was three years old, Landay has also been passionate about dancing.

“Using the body, lighting, and costuming means that dance is an art as well,” Landay says. “I like doing art with both my hands and my entire body.”

She is a member of the Penn State Ballet Club where she performs in many different styles, including lyrical and modern dance. She plans to continue pursuing her interest in dance when she begins teaching and would like to contribute to theatrical performances at her school, because she is also interested in special effects makeup. While attending Moon Area High School, she learned how to create different makeup effects by watching Youtube videos. She used her talents to help the school principal become the Grinch for a holiday assembly.

“It got a great reaction and he really got into the role,” Landay says.

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