Mom, daughter turn to 3D sidewalk art amid pandemic

The Chambliss's 3D sidewalk art helps pass the time during a pandemic

PRATTVILLE, Ala. (WSFA) - Chalk it up to the consequences of a pandemic, but an Alabama mother and daughter have rekindled an artistic passion dating back decades.

Twenty years ago, when Sarah Dalton Chambliss was a small child, she and her mother, Renée Chambliss, spent hours filling up coloring books. The two spent quite a bit of time together since Dalton, as she is sometimes called, was mostly home schooled.

“We both love to draw,” Renée explained.

Dalton said they’ve both always been “artsy” and creative. But as so often happens, life gets busy. As Dalton grew up, she also found an interest in swimming, which has taken up most of her time. In fact, it’s also taken her away from home.

As a senior at the University of Arkansas, she’s been taking advantage of a scholarship for swimming for the last four years, and “her breaks have been minimal due to the team’s competition and practice schedule,” Renée added.

And then, like a stone being tossed into a pool of calm water, the first reports of COVID-19 splashed onto the U.S. mainland and a wave of cases soon rippled across the nation. Dalton was out of the water, out of school, and headed home because of the subsequent shutdown.

“She decided to return to Alabama and stay with mom and dad when her campus closed and went to online classes,” Mom explained.

And with the return home came a return to an earlier love, though with a multidimensional twist.

“A few years ago we noticed a 3D chalk drawer with my maiden name out of Michigan,” Renée recalled, and “with all the time on our hands, Sarah Dalton and I decided to try 3D drawing.”

Though they started out small, photos of the 3D sidewalk art at their Prattville home have made a splash. At first the canvas was bricks on their home drawn to appear like hollowed-out holes for creatures to peer through.

Three pieces of chalk artwork drawn on the side of Renée Chambliss's Prattville home show small creatures peering out. Chambliss and her daughter, Sarah Dalton, have been drawing as a way to pass time during the pandemic.
Three pieces of chalk artwork drawn on the side of Renée Chambliss's Prattville home show small creatures peering out. Chambliss and her daughter, Sarah Dalton, have been drawing as a way to pass time during the pandemic. (Source: Renée Chambliss)

“We started small and got bigger as we had more and more time on our hands,” Renée said.

There’s one of Dalton doing a handstand on the edge of a massive, bottomless pit.

Sarah Dalton Chambliss puts action to the 3D sidewalk art she and her mom, Renée Chambliss, drew at their Prattville home as a way to pass time during the pandemic.
Sarah Dalton Chambliss puts action to the 3D sidewalk art she and her mom, Renée Chambliss, drew at their Prattville home as a way to pass time during the pandemic. (Source: Renée Chambliss)

There’s also an alligator waiting for a meal as she tiptoes over a bridge in her driveway.

Sarah Dalton Chambliss puts action to the 3D sidewalk art she and her mom, Renée Chambliss, drew at their Prattville home as a way to pass time during the pandemic.
Sarah Dalton Chambliss puts action to the 3D sidewalk art she and her mom, Renée Chambliss, drew at their Prattville home as a way to pass time during the pandemic. (Source: Renée Chambliss)

And the perilous journey from the front door to the sidewalk could leave you at the bottom of a ravine with a single wrong step!

Sarah Dalton Chambliss puts action to the 3D sidewalk art she and her mom, Renée Chambliss, drew at their Prattville home as a way to pass time during the pandemic.
Sarah Dalton Chambliss puts action to the 3D sidewalk art she and her mom, Renée Chambliss, drew at their Prattville home as a way to pass time during the pandemic. (Source: Renée Chambliss)

“I am really enjoying spending time with my parents despite these unfortunate circumstances,” Dalton said. “It has meant so much to me to work on these art projects with my mom.”

Though the drawings are temporary, they’ve created something permanent that has "deepened my appreciation for the people in my life, and will treasure these memories forever,” the student added.

And though the rain would eventually wash them away, maybe the pandemic, like every dark cloud, has at least a small silver lining.

“Her being home has been a blessing to me,” Mom said.

Renée and Sarah Dalton Chambliss
Renée and Sarah Dalton Chambliss (Source: The Chambliss family)

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