How to Make an Large Scale Interactive Painting for the Third Annual Marydale Festival


Embrace the Standee: Also known as a-face-in-a-hole. It’s a classic format for people to pose and snap a photo.

Pay Homage: I wanted this piece to be about Neighborhood pride, so I used one of the many views from Loeb Lake (located inside Marydale Park) for the background scene.

Find a Theme: I decided upon catfish riding bikes because I’ve long been inspired by my neighbors who bike over to the lake while balancing a fishing pole, tackle box, and sometimes another person. Also, what is better than a “Channel Cat” having it’s whiskers blowing in the wind as they zoom around the lake!

Sketch, Trace, and Project: I worked from the photos I took on my phone, vintage bicycle ads and illustrations from the Department of Natural Resources. I used a light box and tracing paper to layer each of the elements, then an opaque projector to broadcast that image onto plywood.

Take a Deep Breath and Get the Jigsaw: A lot of work went into the project so far and having those holes cut out was pretty stressful. There’s isn’t much room to fix a mistake, but a-face-in-a-hole doesn’t work without the holes!

Invest in Acrylic Paints: I haven’t worked in Acrylic paints for sometime. I’m more of a water-soluble oil paint and soft pastel kinda gal these days, but a polymer based paint is the best bet for an art project at an outdoor event. Thankfully, the Third Saturday of September just happened to be a top ten weather day!

Sit Back, Relax, and Tell People “Yeah, Come Take a Picture”: Some people needed a little coaxing or coaching, but I got to experience people running up to see my work. I saw families take photos of smiling kids as they became Catfish Riding Bikes about Loeb Lake. It was the best art exhibit experience I could ever have!

Special Thanks to Nathan Kastle, Beth Baden, Carl Grill, Cris Miles, and Margot Mickey Jeanne!