I Madonnari Chalk Painting Festival!

The I Madonnari Chalk Painting Festival was back once again in a big way! The 38th year! As usual, I took way too many photos to share them all in this article. I followed the progress each day and also returned on the “fourth day” after Memorial Day when it is a bit less crowded and the art works are all completed.

Here are all of my photos, arranged by day in each of four galleries. Along with my favorite picks.

The I Madonnari Festival is a fund raiser for the Children’s Creative Project, which is part of the County school system. More information below.

The layout was a bit different this year than in previous years. The merchandise booth was out in the driveway, leaving more room on the lawn for tables and chairs to eat food and listen to the music. This helpful young woman was visiting from Spain and she sold me some note cards and other goodies.

On to the art!

Architect Tom Meaney was back again, creating another epic chalk painting of his family. With the help of his family. Here he kindly looked up for a moment from this massive project. He creates his own pigments, mixed with wax, giving extraordinary brilliance and subtlety to his painting.

His daughter looked up from her work as well.

Here was the finished result:

His daughter Kieran and his son Aidan also had a piece of their own and they posed with it.

I am not a dog person, but I admired the artistry of Sacramento artist Mariah Quintanilla and her well-deserved radiant smile for her accomplishment.

This artist looked up from his nearly-finished piece, which depicted the Greek myth of Daedalus and Icarus.

Some artists were not striving for realism, but perhaps a kind of psychedelic surrealism.

My former co-worker at the former Goleta Valley Voice Rod Tryon was back again with his patient skill creating another anamorphic wonder. For most large pieces there is a severe distortion of perspective that makes it impossible fully to appreciate the art. This anamorphic technique allows full appreciation for anyone who stands at the anamorphic focal point. I wish every large piece could be done this way. Unfortunately, it is a lot of extra work!

This year there were a couple of other anamorphic pieces. Here was one:

Tracy Lee Stum is a veteran of many I Madonnari festivals, and she travels the world doing these creations. Here she was working on her cosmic anamorphic piece “Fishing on a Star”:

Here was the finished result:

Tracy has worked in the past with my friend Sharyn Chan. Like many artists at this event, their chalk paintings are their own original creations. Here Sharyn posed with me.

Sharyn introduced me to Lisa Lohmeyer, who briefly worked at the same place I did, but at a different time. Lisa comes from the tech world, like Sharyn and me, so it was impressive to see the artistic subtlety of her chalk painting.

Here was the finished result. She said she added an extra hummingbird when one observer noted that one hummingbird would be lonely!

My biologist friend Jessie Altstatt made another huge biologically themed piece this year.

Cecilia Linayao was back again with another grand piece. This time painting her two nieces. I noted that they look just like my wife Merlie’s two nieces, who she helped raise. Cecilia had just finished her piece and was exploring the rest of the Festival when she very kindly came back for a photo together.

Lysa Ashley was also back, recreating “Picnic” by Mexican artist Jesus Helguera in extraordinary detail.

Here was her finished result:

This year’s featured artist was Emily Lostaunau. She began street painting in 1998 and has been in many previous I Madonnari festivals. Her chalk painting depicts her own three stallions, who she loves to spend time with. They are professional horse models, so she had photos to work from that she combined to create this masterpiece at the foot of the Mission steps.

This piece at the foot of the Mission steps was almost impossible to view, except that I came back on Tuesday to photograph it. And then I used a photo editor to re-scale it to appear as if viewed from above.

There is no way for me to feature every amazing art piece here in this article. Please go to my galleries here to see it all! Here are my favorite picks!

And this page gives the history of what I Madonnari is all about. The entire event is a fund raiser for the Children’s Creative Project, a nonprofit arts education program of the Santa Barbara County Education Office. The Project serves 50,000 children in more than 100 schools with visual and performing arts workshops and performances throughout Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.


Robert Bernstein


Written by sbrobert

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  1. Robert, You are SO very kind to share your photos w/our community ! We were not able to go to Madonnari this year and really appreciate seeing your beautiful photography and also for fearuring the artists as well. Thank you very much for all that you conribute to edhat ! 🙂

    • @Ahlia I very much appreciate your kind words. As I wrote to paglinsb, I am honored to be the eyes and ears when you cannot attend. I am also grateful to the wonderful talented artists who have taken the time to talk to me and pose for me over the years. It is a privilege to be a part of their community.

  2. Great job again Robert! I’ve been going to see that architect Tom Meaney and his cute kids draw since he was young and handsome for like the last 30 years.
    I heard he’s a really good architect too? Is that true??

    • @Basicinfo805 Thank you and I totally agree about the world class talent we are privileged to see. Yes, get over there soon before they are totally trashed. People are walking all over them and letting their dogs pee on them. Argh.

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