With a box of crayons and a piece of paper, I can make a picture anywhere, even on an airplane as I did on my way to Colorado to ski with my family. The crayons are made in Germany of pure beeswax and all natural-pigments from the earth. They are like my memory of crayons fifty years ago. The chunky shape is rich, intense, and bold color that can be layered and then etched or scraped through to the color underneath. They can go on the paper lightly or very heavy.
I received a gift of these from my daughter-in-law in January 2010. I loved them at once because I could quickly sketch and lay out a picture and build on it and scrape through to make changes and the picture could grow. The colors glowed. It is so easy to make a mark that is significant.
Like pastel, which I returned to last summer after many years, the crayons have blunt, blurred, soft edges that define shape like the way my eyes see, with less detail; Pastels and crayons also have in common a limited palette with colors made by layering rather than mixed, as in watercolor. For now, it is a marriage between medium and my vision.
I began with an old sample paper, tiny, to see what the crayon did on the sample. With each image I was led to another variety of sample paper . The crayon responds differently with a smooth or a rough surface or a hard or a soft paper, or a fine textured or a horizontal textured paper. The texture of the paper effects how the crayon goes on it. Since the paper varied, it demanded from me a creative response to it. I used all the sample papers I had saved over many years.
I did some fantastic pictures with crayon when I was young. I used crayons in a coloring contest of groceries from Albers, a supermarket in the midwest. I used crayons in a Cincinnati Art Museum class for children. Albers did not believe a child had done the art so I didn't win the contest, but the Art Museum awarded me a scholarship in the adult classes, the summer when I was fourteen.
Pretty boxes of crayons stacked up in my studio over the years, giving me no satisfaction. As an adult I bought crayons, but they no longer had the strength and intensity, so I gave up the medium. Now I am once again able to make good pictures with crayon. The crayon is Stockmar and made in Germany. The twenty-four hues are based on an extension of Goethe’s 12-part color circle, which represents the natural progression of the color spectrum. In the U.S. quite a few places sell these as gifts for children and I can buy them with shipping costs for about $55. To my knowledge, no art store, at this time, sells them.