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Father’s Day and the San Rafael Italian Street Painting Festival

On Father’s Day Matt had this awesome idea to spend a little time with each of the boys and myself individually. It was a nice thought since most weekends we try to spend as much possible time together as a family.

First he took Mason to the park. They loaded up their gear and hopped on their bikes. They rode down the street to the park at the nearby school where they played Ice Cream Man. Here’s the portrait Matt took of Mason as…”the ice cream man”.


When their time was done they rode home so that Matt could take the lunch packed in the cooler, pick up Miles and head to the stream behind the park at the Marinwood Community Center. Miles LOVES to throw rocks into the creek. They spent their whole time playing in the shallow water and throwing rocks. What a great Father’s Day moment.


While Miles and Matt were tossing rocks into the stream, Mason, my mom and I headed to the Italian Street Painting Festival. My mom was visiting that week and when she and I went to do a little grocery shopping the day before we literally stumbled upon the festival. It was the perfect way to spend a few hours in the afternoon.





According to Wikpedia, street painting has been recorded throughout Europe since the 16th century. Street painters in Italy are called madonnari (pronounced: mah-doan-are-ee with madonnaro being the singular form) because they often created pictures representing the Madonna. Maybe this is why my mom and I enjoyed it so much. Being Italian, I think we must have it in our blood. I come from a line of artists, my mother being no exception. In fact, growing up, she was my art teacher at the grade school I attended. This festival was right up our alley. Wonderful art to experience and the best part was, well there were two best parts. The first was that we were able to watch the artist creating. Some of the paintings were completed but many of them were in progress. It was wonderful to see the artists at work. In fact, Mason and his friend Milo sat down to watch one of them. That should tell you something. A four and a five year old boy, parked on the street, watching art being made. It was amazing.

The second best thing was that they had a children’s section. For $12 you could buy a 2′ square and create your own masterpiece. It included the square to color in, a box of chalk for you to take home and a polaroid of you with your completed drawing.

My mom bought Mason and Milo each a square and it was so much fun to watch them create. Mason is more of a line artist than a color in the lines type. This may change as he gets older but I worked with his strength to create a really cool piece. In fact, Maya and I had as much fun as the boys. We both let them put the foundation of the painting down on the ground and then embellished the drawings with their direction.

Mason did this great line drawing of some flowers which turned into monster flowers. I colored in the shapes that he drew with the colors that he wanted. I only made a couple of suggestions along the way and WOW, I love his picture, our picture. It was a really cool thing to create a piece of art with him. He absolutely loved it and was so proud of it. We did have a couple of meltdowns along the way. One was because his chalk broke and the other was when he realized that this wasn’t a permanent addition to the streets of San Rafael. But, all in all it was an amazing time. Thanks mom for buying the squares and letting the boys express their creativity!

Milo was really into drawing a house. It became a monster house, hence the monster flowers. 😉 Maya took the structure and made it such a great piece. All of the little squares of color were so great and the creatures in the windows were awesome. Yea MIlo and Maya! The photo of Milo holding up his polaroid is a Mason photograph. A super shot!

This festival will definitely be on our agenda next year and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys outdoor festivals and wonderful art. I’m sure street painting is something that comes to a lot of areas and I would highly suggest finding out if and when one is coming to your town. It’s like going to an outdoor museum that won’t exist in a day or two. A transient treasure for those fortunate enough to experience.

Father’s Day wrapped up with time at home which was really nice. We played in the backyard and bbq’d burgers. My mom spent time with the boys, Matt and I spent some time together and the boys got in a healthy dose of dad time. I ran and grabbed the camera while they were literally attacking him. It was fun to see boys just being boys. All three of them!




I hope all the dad’s I know had a wonderful day in celebration of the love you share with your children.

Carrie Hasson - I so love the lighting of those first 2 pictures! Your family always does seem to have the best time, such cool things going on in your area. I think what you capture so beautifully is the joy you all have when you’re together. That really comes through. I love that picture 2nd from the bottom, Matt looks like a superhero dad the way he’s balancing those boys!

Kristy - The festival looked amazing- I’ve never seen sidewalk art look like that! You and your family always look like your having the BEST day ever! It’s a breath of fresh air to visit your blog.
P.S. the picture of your car packed full to go camping was awesome!

zip - I love the idea of spending time with each child. Definately going to do that next year! I am loving your photo journey and blog. You are a natural at everything you do. Thanks for sharing with us.

FMN Design - Hi Sharon, maybe we’ll see you there!

Sharon - What a fun idea to break up the day and get individual time with dad on Father’s Day. And for sure we are going to the Italian Street painting Festival next year. How cool is that!