Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Pushed Pigment: Crayon Canvases

Shannon and I are pretty much professional pintresters.  One thing that captures the mind of most early pinners, I among them, is crayon art. The drippy glue-gun style has never given me the gumption to sit down and create my own, but this watercolour version tickled me.    I am naturally drawn to strong pigment and organic shapes, so when I found this inspiration, I finally broke into my canvas reserve.  It has the flow of watercolours but with bolder colour.  Words of wisdom for starting your canvases:  be patient, be impulsive and watch your fingers.

Step One: Preparation
Pick your colours and peel them. Don't worry about keeping them pretty, get a blade and strip those suckers.  Your necessary supplies will be canvas, a hair dryer (an extra 5 points if it's pink) and possibly a fork if you need extra finger protection.  I had read on another blog that a fork might be a good idea, but as I had a bunch of brand new crayons, it wasn't really necessary.

Though I was looking for it to look random I knew I wanted a few things:  I wanted strong colour contrast and opportunities for gradient tones.

Step Two:  Start Pushing
 Start heating and moving pigment around.   I was surprised by how the crayon broke down through the process; this might have been because I was using no-name brand crayons, but you could clearly see the pigment suspended in a clear oily wax when thinly spread on the white surface.   I found heating up the crayon prior to touching it to canvas helped distribute the maximum amount of colour.   Also, you might not be able to tell, but I stuck with darker colours to compensate for weak tones.   Remember to keep changing the direction of your canvas so that you don't fall prey to an unintentional pattern.

Step Three:  Consider the Whole
For me, keeping it organic meant that it the colour shouldn't just end at the edge of the canvas.   Using a two inch wide canvas, it would look pretty odd to have it blank or harshly trimmed in a solid colour.   Propping up the canvas let me work at the sides of the canvas.

I'd say it's a vast improvement on the blank canvas I have kicking around my desk.  For me, this is a great way to bring a pop of life into a room.  I think it would feel more complete with a contrasting geometric silhouette  or even  if  it were a proper triptych.  I will probably revisit it again in the future with variations on this method, so keep an eye out for Pushed Pigment redux.  
 Good Luck!

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