This is a reverse post. It’s actually my third attempt to write about my foray into crayon art. Note that it’s now Friday 4th January and I’ve been trying to write this post ever since Boxing Day!
Thursday 3rd January, 2013
Trying to get anything done during school holidays is mission impossible.
I don’t know whether you can appreciate just how hard it is to string a row of thoughts together when your kids are on the loose at home. I know some people can actually work from home quite successfully during the school holidays but I’m having trouble breathing, let alone managing something more complex. The kids are either under foot or up to mischief. I seemingly can’t turn my back without some disastrous mess erupting, seemingly out of nowhere.
We have also been attending Beach Mission at a local school and haven’t been home much. Consequently, my blog, my violin and the house are looking rather neglected. I miss my blog and my violin dearly however, when it comes to the house, neglect can be a blessing. With any luck, it might stay exactly how it is. As I’m sure you know yourself, school holidays aren’t kind on homes and I have no delusions about the house getting any better before it gets worse…or even self-destructs!!
So here I am and all I want to do is write a brief post about doing crayon art we did way back on Boxing Day, choose a couple of photos and click on the publish button. Surely, it shouldn’t be this difficult?!!
Hold that thought.
The dog is now barking ferociously at something out the front. I am in the office overlooking the backyard and the kids are missing despite the television being on. (Isn’t the TV supposed to be the ultimate babysitter?? My kids also received iPods for Christmas and they’re also supposed to be like a drug but they’re not working and I feel like taking them back to the shop in disgust. My kids can barely sit still.) Mr was last seen heading out the back door with a ball of wool he was tying around the garden furniture, around the rose bush and I now suspect he has absconded somewhere down the street.
I’ll be back…
I actually found Miss out the front trying red wool around magnolia tree, the letterbox and around and around the trampoline, recreating a scene out of Entrapment starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta Jones. I’m just hoping Daddy doesn’t get stuck when he arrives home from work. He certainly doesn’t like getting caught up in their webs!
Rewind, rewind, rewind…Boxing Day…crayon art…
After being at home with the kids for only half the day, I am feeling sleepy, very, very sleepy!!!!!
Wednesday 2nd January, 2013
I know I probably shouldn’t be blogging in the middle of the day, especially when we are having guests for dinner tonight and there are layers and layers of clutter stacked up on just about every flat surface in the house (chairs, tables, floors) but I just needed to chill out and connect with someone on my side and have a metaphorical cup of coffee. After all, isn’t that what blogging is all about? Connection?!! I know I should be connecting with my kids but my daughter in particular is malfunctioning today. She can’t seem to listen at all. This morning when I asked her what her ears were for, she replied: “earrings” so you can understand what kind of day I’m having!!
But I am persistent…determined. I am going to write about crayon art even if it kills me!
I don’t know what Boxing Day was traditionally for but when I was growing up, Boxing Day was always a day of complete and total rest. We never went anywhere or saw anyone and Dad quite literally locked the doors and barred the windows. We are perpetuating this tradition. After all the pre-Christmas “excitement”, we just needed to stop!! Make that a full stop!!
Somehow, I had managed to resuscitate sufficiently by mid-afternoon to embark on some crayon art.
There are plenty of sites which outline how to do crayon art so this isn’t going to be a how-to guide. I just wanted to share my own experience because I had so much fun and the results, at least as far as I am concerned, were quite spectacular without being too tricky.
Essentially, you glue or position wax crayons onto a canvas and blast away with your hairdryer to melt the wax. I could only buy jumbo kindergarten crayons at our local shops, which took forever to melt and had a very limited colour selection but they still worked pretty well. I couldn’t find my glue gun. Actually, I didn’t even know where to look for it so I made do and balanced the crayons on the canvas. This was a bit tricky but once the wax started to melt, the crayons stayed in place.
I loved, loved, loved blasting away at the crayons with the hairdryer and watching the colours melt away, running along in tiny streams and crosscurrents down the canvas. It was so cathartic!! You could put a lot of energy into it the same way I’ve hacked into a garden hedge and found such release.
Pablo Picasso said “the purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls” and I felt so many dusty layers simply disappear and vanish as I blasted away at those crayons. All my inhibitions were gone and I was set free! I could truly express myself and I didn’t need to be a creative genius. I just had to be me!
By the way, while I was working on our masterpiece, I was reminded of the wax “sculptures” they used to do on wine bottles back in the 1970s. You melted different coloured candles and the wax built up layer up on layer building colourful and intriguing stalagmites. They were so much fun and way cool! Do you remember them at all? Mum and Dad had one which had all sorts of rainbow colours all over the bottle. I loved it!
Anyway, as much as I loved crayon art, I am a little unsure of where it lies on the “artistic spectrum”. Does it actually rate as real, serious art or is it for kids and people who can’t do anything “better”? You often hear people putting down modern art with comments like “a kid could do that” and that’s supposed to be the ultimate artistic put down. Sure kids can do crayon art but do they get the same results? Moreover, some kids are naturally much better at art than many adults so kids’ art should also be appreciated for what it is and not automatically dismissed or prejudiced either.
I enjoyed this quote from Picasso:
“The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: the sky, from the Earth. From a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web…Rowena has added melted crayons to the list!
My kids did “help me” a little with my creation, although it was my project. They just had a few token blasts with the hairdryer to feel involved. Like any artwork, I had to select my colours. Put them into position and then direct how the wax travelled along the canvas. I turned the canvas backwards and forwards to mix the colours and I also manipulated the wax by moving soggy, waxy lumps of molten crayons around the canvas to create balance.
My initial concept had been to have rainbow colours streaming down the canvas. However, one half of the crayons looked fabulous with bright vibrant reds, orange yellows and a pink for dramatic effect, while the other end of the “rainbow” looked very drab with dark green, navy blue and not the bright vibrant colour variations I prefer. Hence, I tilted the canvas and mixed the colours. I also added some white crayons. I like mixing white in with my colours and I thought it would look interesting.
So while the concept of melting crayons onto a canvas sounds simple enough, there is sufficient scope to express your artistic talents and produce your own legitimate masterpiece, which just happens to be made of wax instead of oils.
I was very pleased with the results and I’m actually quite proud of our “painting”. We have an up version which is titled City Reflections. It looks a bit like high rises reflected onto the harbour. Geoff suggested turning it around and we called our down version Fireworks. With all the splatters of colours and dripping wax, it really does resemble fireworks. The more I look at it, especially after watching the amazing fireworks over Sydney Harbour on New Year’s Eve, the more I prefer the upside down version.
As much as I am promoting crayon art as a serious artistic endeavour, it also offers those who perhaps feel artistically challenged, to be creative. You don’t need to be able to draw, manage a paint brush or mix the colours well. You can just blast away at those crayons and watch the colours ooze all over the canvas and let yourself go. Your artwork doesn’t need to look like anything in particular, be realistic or even pretty. It just is. You can just have fun for the sake of having fun!
As Vincent Van Gogh said:
If you hear a voice within you say `you can not paint’, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced. (and that doesn’t need to be with a brush!)
The kids also loved it and were in raptures about the results. “Mummy, you’re an artist!” There was certainly no doubt in their minds although they haven’t really been able to clarify what they actually liked about it. My daughter just mumbled something about the hairdryer and the crayons. By the way, this activity is unsuitable for young children and requires close adult involvement.
Anyway, I encourage you to have a whirl at crayon art for yourself. You never know. You might just unleash some lost inner artist and find yourself.
By the way, hope you had a Merry Christmas and I wish you a Happy New Year!