Smudge Factor



Pastels beat chalk any day. As a medium, pastels have all the artistic cred of oil paint and all the childhood fun of crayons and finger painting combined. Pastels on the Plaza is back in Arcata Saturday — what, already? Yes, the weather this summer threw you off, but it's October now. Put your hoodie back on and accept it.

Once again, businesses are shelling out $100 to $200 for sidewalk real estate, and artists are crouching down to draw temporary works of art. (Tip: Wear gloves when you smudge your colors, folks — unless you want to lose your fingerprints and go do some crime.) Proceeds benefit Northcoast Children's Services and all they do for pregnant women and little kids around Humboldt and Del Norte.

Nope. Not competitive at all. - PHOTO BY BOB DORAN
  • Photo by Bob Doran
  • Nope. Not competitive at all.

Speaking of kids, if you have them in your life, you know that the world is their canvas — walls, the hardwood floors you just re-did, the couch, vital documents, anything suede — and you'll be happy to let them do their tagging outside for a change. Cups of pastels go out to little Banksys who want to give it a try on the walkways.

The artists aren't competing, and no prizes are given. But let's be real. There will be neck craning, border hogging and vying for pedestrian attention. And with all those color-saturated squares, who can help trying to choose a favorite?

It all happens during the farmers market, so you can turn your grocery run into a little outdoor museum visit — strolling the plaza in the fresh air, listening to music and gazing down at the fleeting masterpieces at your feet. And judging — silently judging.

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