I looked down at the blank white illustration board in front of me. I stared at it so intensely that it magically became a movie screen of sorts. Many vivid and wonderful images and memories passed by as my mind began to wander down a road that encompassed almost 30 years.
I smiled as I thought about all the fun times I had. There were several things that unified my trip down memory lane: cherry blossoms, love, beauty, international friendship and, of course, the color pink!
I didnt realize how much time had passed until I suddenly was jolted back to the present.
I picked up a brush and examined all the paints in front of me. There they stood in bottles all in a row like colorful specimens eager and ready to be of service. Starting at one end of the row of paints, I carefully surveyed each color.
Every shade of pink you could possibly imagine was represented. I chuckled to myself as I read the names on each bottle. Baby Pink, Diva Pink, Pink Parfait, Sassy Pink, Magnificent Magenta, Bubble Gum Pink and Cherry Fizz, just to name a few.
I am very familiar with all of these colors. During the last almost 30 years, I had used them to create and execute images I hoped would make Macons internationally famous Cherry Blossom Festival proud. When you are dealing with the Cherry Blossom Capital of the World, the creative task can sometimes be a little daunting.
I glanced back at my blank design board and wondered what I could possibly do this year with the annual pin that would be just as good as or better than the other designs Id created over the years. This would be the seventh Cherry Blossom Festival pin I designed, so I really had to give it some thought.
As I do each time I begin to design, I look for inspiration from the person or event with which its associated. The colors are always somewhat predetermined, but to capture the real essence of the Pinkest Party on Earth is a little tough.
I poured out a little bit of every shade of pink. I dipped my brush in one of the shades that seemed to especially call out my name. It is just a fact. You cant express the true meaning of a cherry blossom without pink!
For one thing, the color pink just has a way of capturing your attention. Just like the quote from Alice Walkers book The Color Purple, the color pink is much the same as purple. Its hard to walk past the color pink without noticing it. It just says, Here I am! Look at me!
For all of us who live in Middle Georgia, we are certainly more than familiar with the color pink. Our beautiful city is practically shrouded in pink during the month of March. Hardly a nook or cranny is left unadorned. And, for all the visitors who come to our town during this time, they certainly know how proud we Maconites are.
I cant tell you how much pink paint, ribbon, paper, ink and blossoms Ive used over the years. I can tell you that Ive done eight porcelain plates, four porcelain mugs, two fine art prints, countless T-shirts, posters and advertising materials, not counting decorations. You would think Id be tired of the color pink but, in fact, after working with it for so long, it has basically become part of me. This year would be no different!
Using various shades of pink, different brushes and my imagination, before I knew it, the blank white board in front of me had turned into what would become the 2013 Cherry Blossom Festival pin.
If you have not purchased your pin yet, please do so. It is a wonderful way to display your pride and show support. If you are visiting, it will be a memento of your time here.
As many of you know, I am also coordinating and emceeing the annual Cherry Blossom Fashion Show again this year. With the help of my wife, a great committee of volunteers, fabulous local models and celebrities and several of the local retailers in our area, this show is coming together nicely.
Not to give away the entire theme, I will say this. Some creative friends and I have designed and made large pink cherry blossoms out of paper.
You can go to www.macon.com/ballard to watch my latest video on how to create them.
More than 150 of these showy pink blossoms will adorn the centers of the tables at Thursdays event. There are a few tickets still available for the show. You can go to www.cherryblossom.com to order them.
Im especially excited this year because well be paying tribute to Macons own Miss America 1953, Neva Fickling, who lost her battle with cancer last fall. Several of her couture dresses and even one of her Miss America gowns will be featured.
So, the color pink will not go unnoticed again this year. If you dont believe me, just look around. Macon is always beautiful but no more so than when it is abloom with pink!
More with Mark
Macons Cherry Blossom Festival is in full swing. Go to www.cherryblossom.com to see all the fabulous events you can be a part of -- many of them free of charge. Visit Mark at his booth during the Mulberry Street Arts & Crafts Festival on March 23-24. Get in the pink and enjoy these great spring celebrations. For more information, call 751-7429. Check out Marks website, www.markballard.com, for current projects, recipes and lots of other fun stuff. Cherry Blossom Festival and spring merchandise is available.
Mark is on www.macon.com 24 hours a day. Videos, columns and articles are featured.
Mark Ballards column runs each week in The Telegraph. Send your questions or comments to P.O. Box 4232, Macon, GA 31208; fax them to (478) 474-4930; call (478) 757-6877; e-mail to email@example.com; or become a subscriber to Marks Facebook page.