Anatomy of a Chalkart Wall
- Category: Blog
- Published: Tuesday, 11 July 2017 14:35
The Anatomy of a Chalk Art Wall
If you’ve ever sat and had a meal here at Gracie’s, then you know that the walls are covered in chalk boards filled with doodles and artwork and quotes. I love words. I love the way they can stir up emotion within you. I love the way they look and sound. And I love how some words and sentiments can speak to the soul.
But my love of chalk art came way before it was “trendy” to have chalkboards all over your home. My mom was a trendsetter. When chalkboard paint was very first available, my mom painted an entire wall of our kitchen in chalkboard paint. Part of the wall had our family calendar on it, but a large portion of the wall was just for my little sister and I to draw on. And we would spend hours creating masterpieces, playing school house, or just playing hangman. It was my intention when we started out to fill the walls of our little cafe with chalkboards, full of quotes and sayings that would feed your soul the way Jim’s food would feed your belly. As we’ve grown, we continued that chalkboard tradition, and the task of filling the walls becomes both difficult and therapeutic. So today I thought I would take you through the anatomy of a chalk art wall here at Gracie’s, and how I create the walls you see when you come in for a meal or a cup of coffee.
Out with the old, to make room for the new! First, I have to wash away the old chalk art so I have a blank canvas to work with. This can be both bittersweet and exciting. Bittersweet because sometimes there are quotes I really love that I’m going to miss, or specific chalk art designs I was really proud of. And exciting because to me, there’s nothing better than a fresh, clean, blank canvas. The possibilities that await a blank chalkboard are exhilarating to me.
The tools make the job all the more beautiful… They say a poor workman blames his tools. But when it comes to art, sometimes you just can’t get the desired look or effect without the right tools. For me, that means I have to start out with the right kind of chalk. I prefer Crayola, and specifically, the artists 24 pack that I’ve only been able to find locally at the Flower and Craft Warehouse in Blue Ball. The colors in the 24 pack are so bold and vibrant. I also have plenty of packs of the standard white chalk around as well! You can never have too much chalk in my book!
I also keep a damp rag at hand to help clean up any mistakes. And a ladder, because I’m quite short and the final product will look more evenly spaced and level if I can be at eye level with each line of text or doodle.
Choosing a theme! Depending on the events coming up, or the season or holidays upon us, I choose a theme for the wall. This theme will then help me determine the colors I use and the quotes I choose.
Then comes the fun part- actually drawing! Sometimes I take the time to sketch out what I want to put up on the walls. If it’s a large undertaking, like the Christmas mural of 2015, or the Up! movie scenes I recreated for Jim and my 5th wedding anniversary vow renewal, I will sketch out ahead of time what I want and where. (Check out our chalk art photo album on our Facebook page for more pictures of chalk art and quotes!) But more often than not, something will strike my fancy, or I’ll get an inspiration and just start drawing.
I get asked a lot where I get all my quotes and sayings from. A lot of them actually come from social media. If someone posts a meme or quote that I like on Facebook or Instagram, I’ll save a screenshot of it to the camera roll on my phone. Then when I’m drawing a new chalkboard, I can just scroll through my pictures for the quotes that have been speaking to me most recently. I also have a couple quote books that customers have given me over the years that I can go to when I’m really stuck for that perfect quote to fill a hole in my designs. And as a last resort, I’ll check the photos I’ve taken of past chalkboards and bring back something that maybe hasn’t been up in a long while.
A lot of what I do, though, is honestly just drawn free hand and not really planned. I like the boards to be colorful, and I like a mix of attributed and anonymous quotes on a wide range of subjects. From motivational to scripture, funny to touching, and of course plenty of quotes about food and bacon- there’s sure to be something for everyone.
Last month I chose to re-do a chalkboard that’s been up pretty much since we opened. I erased the “About Us” in the foyer to make room for a map showing where some of our food and products come from. We source as much local as possible, and I think it’s time we show you guys just exactly how much we get from Lancaster County and Pennsylvania. So keep an eye on our social and media and this blog, as we continue to take you on tours of our favorite local vendors. And if you haven't already, check out the posting below about our local coffee vendors!