Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mother, may I colour...

There seems to be some artistic genes in my mother's gene pool.  She, herself, didn't draw or paint although I have this red parrot.  The parrot is actually painted on the glass, perhaps with the outline traced. The gold background is a paper. 

I do have a very vivid memory of my mum using pencil crayons on colour by number pages. The pictures looked just like the paint by number kits and were pretty involved.  I also remember her putting crayon pictures between wax paper and ironing them onto fabric. 

Crayons aren't just for the kindergarten crowd.  There are some serious artists using crayons as their preferred medium, adding them as highlights or even using the simple wax crayon as a final layer to watercolours, gouache or acrylics.  This makes sense when you realize what wax crayons are.

"Oil pastels and wax crayons are serious media in the arts and not only a toy for children. Oil pastels and wax crayons are names for basically the same type of medium. However wax crayon is usually the label for a cheaper qualities and children toys. This misconception probably is the reason why these media are not as popular as soft pastels or traditional oil color in the art world. There is a difference in the quality of the pigments and the binders that are used in the production of artists grades and more simple grades. Oil pastels and wax crayons are a very versatile and exciting media that allow creating unique artwork. Many illustrators use them in their mixed media work for special effects. Only if you want to create artwork for permanent display I would commend not to use less light fast,cheaper,wax crayons."  quoted from here

The options for colouring on Lutrador are pretty extensive.

Lutradur is transparent, even the heavier weight. Using a permanent marker I can choose which side and I don't need to worry about mirror imaging if there is no writing.
I used an old newspaper article featuring a Ruby Kim block of the week that my grandmother and my mother had saved.  Not wanting to mark on the old newsprint I  photocopied it, outlined the lines with a black marker and then placed it under Lutradur and copied the lines.

I used the original crayon colours that were in my crayon box way back when.  The sky is one layer of blue and I heat set it face down on printer paper with my iron.

The green is two layers, each heat set.  The bark is three layers as are the apples.  An interesting bonus is positioning the lutradur on the printer paper so that the image continues to be ironed in the same place.

I had done some water soluble crayons but a 12 x12 background only has so much room. :O

Then I was ready to try melting wax crayons.

I was surprised that different brands of crayons melt differently and the large child's crayon was really hard to melt and dripped the slowest.  Controlling the drips takes some practice.  In hindsight I can see that a non porous surface would produce better shaped dots if high round dots were desired.

Then I put the heat gun to the Lutradur with the wax drips.  The Lutradur melted without reheating the drips unduly.  That was a cool hot technique!

I prepared a background on white scrapbook paper, using gesso, paper images, gel medium and acrylics.

I began to arrange my story.   I am relatively new to mixed media and I must admit I was a trifle boggled by how this would all work out. The mind is an amazing creative tool.  As I began with the first thing- a commitment to explore crayons and lutradur and a few memories;  thoughts began to suggest themselves and I pursued hotly!  lol  The idea to frame my crayon drawing brought to mind the crayon box colours.  My image is a bit big so do I need all of it on the page?  How then should I treat the edge?  How can I colour things to represent past, present and future?  Gosh,  I hate covering goodness up!  lol  Layers!  I need to see covering up as necessary for layers.  Some tulle should dull the colours a bit and some stitching should add some pizazz.  And then there are those great splatters that pull everything together.

I need to spend more time developing layers and achieving depth.  In the end I didn't use the tulle.   The lovely concise wax dots got melted when I ironed from the back in preparation for putting the back scrapbook paper on for strength and to hide any stitches, brads, etc. :(  So I covered it with another try on mulberry paper.  Not as good but...  This was a good page to start with because I expect my pages to improve as I go along just as colouring inside the lines improves with the doing!

Some things that didn't make the time crunch:

-melting wax crayons between wax paper to make skins which are cut into shapes
-melting wax crayons and using a tjanting tool
-buffing wax crayon work, especially metallic crayons
-dripping melting crayons from the top of the page
-notching crayons and scraping them across paper
-using a texture plate
-using crayons as a resist with paint, even faux batik
-crayons used to antique brown paper bags

I'm so glad I asked if I could could color!!!


Unknown said...

I never knew the red parrot was original family artwork.

Thinking about what you wrote about watching your Mum colour by the numbers with pencil crayons reminded me of when I used to watch you colour large Doodle Arts with markers. Like the huge kalediscope you put up on the living room wall (back when you decorated with orange striped wallpaper ... must have been the '70's :) And hey, yes, you spray painted the outside edges gold.

Createology said...

WOW!!! This is beautiful and creative and so very interesting. I love the layers you achieved. Having your Mum's Parrot art is such a treasure. I used to color with Crayola crayons and then iron onto fabric. We did school projects with the students. So much fun. You should feel very proud of this art my friend. Creative Color Bliss...

elle said...

Why should I be amazed when history repeats itself! amazing!

JennyPennyPoppy said...

Thank you for taking us along on your experimentation. This was a really interesting read. Looking forward to your next post!

Threadpainter said...

Yes, thanks 'for taking us along on your experimentation' ... you really know how to have fun !

Jo Ferguson said...

Thank you for sharing your experiments and also the experiments you want to try. It was fascinating, inspiring and educational. My fingers are itchy to grab my crayons and join in on the fun.