Back in February I was standing here in front of the Campbell Plaza stage trying to imagine summer, when the weather would be hot and sticky and people would be passing by curiously looking over their shoulders at a giant painting taking shape.
Time leaps. It's mid-June. The weather is alternately a sauna or a torrent of rain and thunder (the latter at the moment is giving me a chance to write this), and people have been asking a lot of questions.
"What is it going to be?"
"How long will it last?"
"Do you get paid to do that?"
"It's too bad about the brick. Is there any way to sand blast it (meaning the mural) off?"
"Will you be done by the end of the Festival (two days) ?"
"Are you an artist?"
As one of my mural heroes Jean Charlot used to do, I only let people hang out as armchair critics for a few minutes before I say, "Here, take a brush and paint this." Sometimes it takes a little encouraging, as people aren't used to being asked to jump right into working on a big public production, but I try to match each person's abilities with the right task so they're comfortable and challenged just enough to stay engaged.
So when someone comes by to take pictures or get an interview, it's always a trade - sure I'll go on camera if you paint this shape blue - as happened with Ashleigh (on the right) who stopped by to film a little piece about the mural for Salina Downtown Inc.
Others, especially kids, don't need the prodding. They're more than ready to paint anything anywhere. And the idea that they're going to paint on a wall outside is intoxicating. I agree.