Tag Archives: crayon art

Surviving the Inferno…Sydney’s summer heatwave.

We have survived yesterday’s heatwave. There wasn’t any smoke or even a fire near us and yet the sky was a blazing inferno. We were down in Sydney and when I stepped foot outside beyond the air-conditioning, my eyeballs were burning. It was that hot! Geoff said it was like that rush of hot air when you open the oven door. At just under 43 degrees, it was obscenely hot even by Australian summer standards and we’re used to the heat!

As the day unfolded and the place began to heat up, the intensity mounted. Our local radio station was running a phone-in about whether you could actually fry an egg on your car bonnet. I found out today that a number of our local shops had closed. We live in a tourist area so when shops close during the holiday season, you know it’s serious!! One of my friends washed her sheets and they dried almost instantly but they were still hot when she was trying to get to sleep.

Ideally, we would have spent the day at home in the lounge room with the air-conditioner blasting away. However, as luck would have it, I was booked in for my regular blood transfusion and I also had the kids in tow. We had been planning to catch the train down to Sydney which would have had us walking from the station at midday (we have a saying about mad dogs and Englishmen out in the midday sun). So we changed plans and I took the kids to the air-conditioned shopping Mecca of Macquarie Centre before Mum could drive me down. While this was a great way to beat the heatwave, the kids were completely over-stimulated and wanted to buy the place out. I bought us some crayons to do some more crayon art and I did have to wonder whether the hairdryer would even be necessary. With this kind of heat, the crayons could melt onto the canvas all by themselves! 

My patience with the kids definitely melted but that’s another story…

In a past life, I used to live in Geraldton, in Western Australia. I have survived 46 degree heat over there and that was hot! Hot! Hot!!!! If I could survive Geraldton, I figured I could survive a relatively minor Sydney heatwave. I could survive this and I was somewhat right. The thing about the West Australian heat is that they have this phenomenon known locally as the Fremantle Doctor. It’s a very strong, cool wind that turns up like clockwork almost every afternoon and gets rid of the heat. That means you can usually get to sleep.

Not so with a Sydney heatwave. The heat sometimes just sits and waits, refusing to budge. At midnight last night, it was still 31 degrees and when I put the dog outside the heat was quite disturbing. We get quite a few bushfires around here and we’ve had some major fires under similar conditions. I was concerned and part of me was on alert. Not quite red alert because we don’t live in the bush but there’s a lot of National Park around here and fires are a community concern. I am also mindful of communities around Australia that are currently fighting real fires and there have been serious losses. In Tasmania, around 100 people are currently unaccounted for. My main concern was tossing and turning in bed feeling like a pig on a spit roast and I’ll survive.

Then somewhere in the middle of the darkness, I could hear something rattling and the sound of deep breathing. The cool change had finally arrived.

I could have sung the Alleluia Chorus!!!

Blue skies and sunny days can be rather over-rated.

There’s something to be said for grey skies…

 

Expressing Myself… and my struggle to blog about it!

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

I'd do anything for a quiet cup of tea and a chance to catch up on my blog!

I’d do anything for a quiet cup of tea and a chance to catch up on my blog!

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…

Amelia creates a spider's web. Daddy beware!

Amelia creates a spider’s web. Daddy beware!

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!

Boxing Day

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.

Getting started.

Getting started.

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.

Molten Lava

Molten Lava

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!

Crayon art with the kids.

Crayon art with the kids.

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.

City Reflections.

City Reflections.

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!

xx Rowena

Zoomed in.

Zoomed in.