In this day and age “Free is key” and anything that costs nothing automatically has value (funny, eh?) One of the best things about summer in Whistler is that there’s no shortage of “Free.” The scenery is free and so are the beaches, lakes and parks. Fresh air is free, and so is the street entertainment, music and live art displays that pop up this summer in Whistler Village.
Throughout the summer the village will be full of random jugglers and traveling minstrels, clowns and concerts and local artists creating work under the scrutiny of anyone who stops to watch, and it’s all free as part of the Whistler Street Entertainment program. One of those artists is Andrea Mueller, who recently did her first ever public painting session. The Insider asked her to keep a journal of how it went. This is what she had to say:
My First Time – A Public Art Journal
by Andrea Mueller.
I want it to be special so I can’t help but have those “first time” worries floating around my mind— am I doing this for the right reasons? Will there be too much pressure? Can I really handle everyone looking at me all afternoon?
I remind myself to face the fears. It’s going to have to happen some time so best to get it over with quickly, like pulling off a band-aid. I’m ready. Today I take what is usually an incredibly private segment of my life and put it on public display as part of the Whistler Street Entertainment Program. Today I paint in public.
SATURDAY, May 26. Memorial Day Weekend, Whistler Village.
12:00pm – Do I have everything I need? Do I smell okay? How do I look in these pants? What about my breath?
12:01pm – Yup, I’m good. Let’s do this thing.
12:30pm – Set-up begins. I’m on display surrounded by a white picket fence in the middle of Village Square, like a caged tiger.
12:48pm – Brushes are set out, a dozen different paint colours, easels X 2, paint markers, string, trowel, and 4 fresh new canvases that still smell like the plastic they came in.
1:00pm sharp – It happens. The painting begins. It’s hot, it’s passionate. I am no longer a live-paint virgin!
1:00pm and 30 seconds – It’s over… (Just kidding! I still have 4 hours.)
1:17pm – People are staring. I mean really staring. I promise myself I will never own a fish tank.
1:30pm – My friend Jon Shrier, a one-man band, sets up across the square from me. Hopefully he will draw a bit of the crowd’s attention.
2:18pm – Nope. People everywhere. Still staring.
2:36pm – A lovely gentleman strikes up a conversation and tells me that “Making money as an artist is like winning the lottery.” I consider myself lucky, i have a day job.
3:06pm – I have somehow gained an assistant, the cutest little 5-year-old girl. My painting is definitely better because of it.
3:35pm – Suddenly I am surrounded by a group of children whose parents seem to be enjoying a cold margarita on nearby Citta’s patio. Hmmm, I could use a Margarita. My new entourage is put in charge of keeping my canvases from blowing away in the wind.
4:00pm – More painting. More staring. I’m getting used to it…and getting a lot done.
5:00pm – And just like that, it’s over. I had fun, I loved it. Packing up the easels i can’t help but look forward to doing this again…
Editor’s Note: The piece Andrea painted was used as the cover of this week’s Pique Newsmagazine to coincide with their feature about the 30th anniversary of the Whistler Arts Council.
The “lovely gentleman” who spoke with Andrea is right, it is incredibly difficult to make a living as an artist, but thanks to the Whistler Arts Council and events like Artwalk and the Whistler Street Entertainment program, Whistler artists are able to get a leg up and get their work shown.
The Whistler Street Entertainment program runs five days a week from June 29 to Sept 3rd. Its fun for the entire family, it supports local talent, and it’s always free. Take a look at Whistler’s other Events Listings for more great Village entertainment and be sure to check out more of Andrea’s artwork at her website.