Saturday, October 20, 2007

Laura's Chalk

When I walked out onto the Leidseplein after lunch with Scarlet on Thursday (see last post), I saw Laura. It was 3:30 in the afternoon and she had been there, she said, since just before 3, starting this chalk painting.

I was in heaven and stuck around for over an hour, taking photos. When I realized how slowly it was going, I asked her if she'd still be there around 6p? "Oh yes," she said. So I went home to the apartment 10 minutes away and worked up the last post of my 3 blogger meet-ups in less than a week.

Then, back to the Leidseplein!

See how much she had done while I was gone!
By now it was almost 6p and the sun was going down.

This time I met Sava who lives here in Amsterdam and likes to help Laura by filling in the grunt work...the open spaces. That's his wheelchair.
Laura herself is from Florence, Italy, and has quite a network of friends who are chalk artists like herself. But this was her first time doing chalk "on the floor" here in Amsterdam.

She's 21 years old and has been chalk painting since she was 17!
What a beautiful, energetic, captivating, contagious smile.

Even though this was her model, she says she almost always puts herself, her own face, in her pictures!

After another hour of watching and taking more photos, I realized that I probably could go back and eat my supper and still get back in time before she finished up. When I asked, she said she expected to be done by 10p.

So I was back at 8p. It was dark except for the yellow street lights of the Leidseplein and all the bustling activity of the nearby cafes and other street artists.

The last thing to finish was the lady's hand on the book.

Once it was done, by 9p (six hours of work!), Sava graciously offered me a drink of wine that his parents had made (little red plastic glass). I would not have refused it for anything. The best wine in the world because of the moment and the celebration.

And then he said I must be in a photo with Laura. Why didn't I think of that! I had been using the tripod and my camera's timer for all the night photos (no flash). He put two and two together and said the camera could take our picture together. And it did!

I really was in heaven! I told Laura that every time I see chalk art on the Internet, it makes me cry because of how long it takes and knowing that a sudden rain will wash it all away. Talk about unselfish creativity. She LIVES for this. This is her life. She doesn't want to do anything else.

Yesterday I made a photo album of 86 photos and e-mailed it to both Laura and Sava. It was my gift to them after what they gave to me. I will never forget it. An eternalized moment of Laura's Chalk that I will cherish forever!

For those of you who want to see the album, copy and paste this URL in your browser:


  1. This brings tears to my eyes. For the beauty of her work. For Sava. For you connecting with them. The wine. I've been so stunned seeing these masterpieces on sidewalks around Europe, the skill, the time and then knowing it's a temporary pleasure they share with us passersby. Thank you so much, Boots.

  2. This is the most amazing art form. THANK YOU for documenting the heart and soul of this very talented artist. Please, can you share with us your 86 photos...somewhere?

  3. Ruth: You share my sentiment exactly! Thank you.

    Anon: Please tell me who you are! And, per your request, I have added the link to my text. Thanks.

  4. Oh yes, I shed a tear as well. This is so amazing. What a labour of love from a very talented artist. I'm going to go look at your pictures now.

  5. Zabrina is here sharing this amazing artist's work with me. Beannie wants to be an artist. She is like a Hart, though and is talented at everything she does:D

  6. chalk artists always amaze me, it's truly a selfless art to be able to let go of such loving work.

  7. What a marvellous piece of art. And to be drawing that detailed picture on the sidewalk all day on her knees in such a back breaking position. I hope the street artists earn enough from their art to make a living. They certainly deserve it.
    And it will only last until the next rainfall. Shame.
    I tried to look at your album but apparently I have to join to see the pics, which I don't want to do.
    BTW, I have posted pics of The Wedding. Everyone had a wonderful time, and I'll probably post a few more pics tomorrow.

  8. Labour of Love...truly.....a lovely touching post , Ginnie.......

  9. Christina: And she's only 21!!

    RK: I knew you and yours would love this! So much to give!

    Mad: Selfless is the word! It comes and goes so quickly. The rest of us have to keep it in our hearts and memories.

    Ex-S: My new album site is not what I wish it could be but my old site folded and sent us to SnapFish. It's free to sign up but I surely understand why you wouldn't. That's why I didn't initially include the album and why I added so many pics to the post. Thanks.

    Moi: Thank you, dear friend.

  10. Thanks for sharing this chalk art and the story that goes along with it. It is very beautiful!

  11. You were so lucky to be able to watch the whole thing, and to get a photo with her as well, that is truly beautiful.

  12. Very beautiful. A fine life for a 21 year old, but... what will life be like at 40? (Sorry, I just can't help being practical.)

  13. Street artists keep astonishing me and unfortunately, they don't really earn what they should. But I guess that's what makes a real artist: they do it for the love and passion of their Art.

  14. Tim: It was very touching to experience it. Thanks.

    L&N: I do feel very lucky indeed, Lilli.

    Karen: One really wonders. Wouldn't it be fun to find out some day!

    CS: Yes, you are so right, Sandra. I found that I wanted everyone to put in EUROS and not just the smaller coins!

  15. By the way, I am a member of Snapfish (same thing happened to me with the old site, and I share your opinion -- Snapfish is not quite up to the same standards) but I STILL can't see your photos using this link. Snapfish is telling me the link is outdated and I should ask you to share them again.

  16. UGH! I have just updated the link, Karen. See if it works. Thanks for the heads up!

  17. how incredible ginnie! What a great thing to document and experience...

    When she says she longs for doing that and only that, I totally know what she means. I only long for traveling and showing great photography.... Ah one day.

  18. Wow Ginnie!
    What a patience job this is, also YOU took your time to make the photo's and make this stry to publice on your blog, how wonderfull! Only YOU could make contact this very well with Laura, just being interested and not o scare her off. Although its an Italian girl I can hardly imagine that she can live by this artist work1 You? he might not even have a house, so no rent to pay, perhaps a hostelroom aor a dorm bed. It tickles my fantasy this story...

    The red wine, Yeh! That is typical for Italians, when I travelled by train in Italy,( I lived in Italy for 6 ears) I saw the farmers with their plastic 5 liter jerrycans, filled with RED wine, and besides that they ate that fat chickenbones.....


    :) I am just retuned/back from my/our short trip to South of Italy, thanks for 'not forgetting me' I posted an overview of pictures from my holiday , soon more... Have a great sunday!!!

    Greetings JoAnn:)

  19. No wonder you was in heaven and for a whole long day. This chalk art is just amazing and Laura is so creative - thanks so much for sharing and also for the picture link - you know I love to look!

    Good to see you in the last pick with Laura too (and with the same shirt LoL).

    Btw: Thanks for you nice comment and warm thoughts on my Love Story post!

  20. I'm liking this new template! It's simple, and the color is lovely. I couldn't view it before when you invited me. So I just went to your url and here it is. Nice!

  21. She's very talented - if I'd of made that chalk drawing - I'd of wanted to load that chunk of sidewalk into my car and haul it home to a nice dry indoor showplace.

  22. ET: It was a great privilege and I know you understand!

    JoAnn: You would have loved to watch and photograph this, for sure!

    Renny: I bet you see this there in Oslo from time to time, Renny? It really is an amazing story to document.

    Ruth: Now you know that I uninvited you after I realized you were away and I just took the plunge and did it. Finally! Thanks for your support! :)

    Wendy. Thank you kindly for stopping by and commenting!

  23. The nighttime photos are my favorite- reminds me of my photos of Venice at night.

  24. RK: Did you know we'll be in Venice in another week? I'll have the itinerary up in a post tomorrow! I'll get to see what you're talking about, I hope.

  25. wonderful shots, they tell a history of life

  26. Oh, my! Yes, take lots of pictures at night- esp. angels and gargoyles with the moon and the clouds floating by behind them. You'll enjoy very much!

  27. Wow, I always thought those Internet pictures were fake. Now I know better. That is incredible.
    And, I like your background colors.

  28. P-Effe: Thank you kindly for stopping by and commenting. That means a lot.

    RK: OK! It's always good to get suggestions/requests! Thanks. :)

    Susan: I often wondered myself but at least in this case, there's nothing fake about it! I'm still tweaking my colors but I'm glad you like them. Thanks.