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What happens when you take a group of normally solitary illustrators and give them some chalk and reference photos?  A collaborative pastel mural!  Volunteers prepared the canvases ahead of time and squares of different sizes were chalked on.  Each canvas represented different habitats in the area around Santa Cruz.  One was on land and two were in the ocean.  No one was told what to draw or where to put it, other than a list of species found in the area.  It was a beautiful thing to see young and older, new and seasoned artists working side by side, many outside their comfort zone, laughing as they struggled with the blunt media.  We tended to work slowly at the start, but as the enormity of the task sunk in and the light started fading, we sped up.  It was interesting to see how some stayed in the drawn box and others made no attempt to do so.  Others waited to near the end, backing up to get a feel for the whole piece, tying it together with long strands of kelp.  The last part was adding names of species found in each habitat.  In a little over 3 hours we were finished and the canvases were sprayed.

Later on in the week we had the opportunity to see them beautifully displayed at the Sanctuary Exploration Center.  Working with my peers was my favorite part of the week…enjoy!

Here’s a time lapse of the whole thing…