Tribute To Crayons

9:42 AM

Believe it or not, that little blonde tater-tot in the picture above is me.

Where did I begin? How long did it take me to create this work?
I don't ever know whether to say that I started out sketching or painting. 
You know, that's the answer to the question, "how did you start out?" 

Really, I started with Crayons
Those smelly markers. The seven-color pallet of watercolors. 
(The occasional sharpie.) 
More Crayons (I didn't like to draw with broken Crayons, but I always seemed to squeeze too hard and break them.) 
A pen here. 
A pencil there. 
My Grandma's fancy watercolors.
My Aunt's fancy oil paints.
My own "artist acrylic color." (Thank you, Mom and Dad)

On computer paper.
On restaurant napkins. 
Church programs.
My sister's sketchbook (sorry Becca!)
The fun fax paper where the edges would tear off. 
The sidewalk with chalk. 
When we remolded our house, the sheetrock was painted with a Slurpie
before it was even a wall.

When my aunt and uncle redid their front yard, 
the dirt clods made for a great drawing piece on the clean driveway. 

Did you know, when you cut construction paper into hundreds of tiny pieces, you can nearly assemble them to create a "painting?"(Not to mention that you also learn to use the vacuum at a very young age. As should every very young adolescent.)

I've done a few paint by numbers. 
I've assembled all the crafts for kids in elementary school. 
(I'm admitting, I've watched a couple Bob Ross episodes.)
Read dozens of art books (maybe nearing or beyond 100.)

Met in person a handful of incredibly gifted artists. 
Taken a workshop, or a few, from wonderful people who happen to be artists.
Been in shows amongst the artists I look up to.  
Walked through galleries that are from heaven.
I've seen a lot of wonderful art, but nothing near to make me a critic. (But who is?)
Now, I've begun my studies in art at a university.
I have so much to learn.
Yet, I still attribute the Crayons.

A single painting. 
I am asked, "how long did it take you?" 
19 years. Give or take. 
Yes, 19 years.  

Not like the old masters that really did spend 30(plus/ minus) years dabbling meticulously on a single work. For me, I consider everything learned, learned through a process. (Sometimes it's the process of patience.) 

(There were definitely times when I was advancing with my art. 
On a time line, I could plot by years.
1-5 years: Crayons. The first few mentioned above. 
5-6 years:
7 years: The sketch table. [I drew a ballerina in arabesque for months.]
8 Years: Dabbled first with oil color.
8 years: Acrylic. [Commence the kitchen table ruining--or embellishing?]
9-10 years: commence the kitchen table takeover.
11 years: Art shows. Wonderful people guiding me along. 
13 years: Art and Garden Tours
15 years: Art Galleries
18 years: The homework projects.
19: the summer with endless opportunities to paint.)

I can remember mixing yellow and black together at a very young age.
You know, the whole mix every color together and make the brown rainbow thing?

Just by chance. 
(We all know better than "chance" though.)

I can remember, I was 7 years old, 
my grandma took the picture I was drawing, turned it upside down, 
took my sketchbook, turned it upside down
 and told me to "now, draw." I thought it was 
just to be silly, funny, or fancy.

I can remember watching the episode of Barney
 and learning "the primary colors are red, yellow and blue!"
(I wasn't 7 then, I was years younger, but Bj the yellow dino was my fav) 

"To make purple, mix red and blue!"

Still, I mix my oil colors, red and blue, to make purple! 
(Thank you, Barney)

When I am having difficulties painting, whether it's getting perspective, 
shape, value, hue, composition, alignment, gesture, proportion, shape, 
shape, shape (those are important) I turn my image and canvas upside down. 
My problems are solved. I can see from a different perspective. Try it! 
(Thank you, Gg! [Gorgeous Grandma!]) 

Did you know, yellow and black make green?
(Thank you, Crayola, for making those watercolors for kids. [Cheap in quality, expensive in result.]
Did you know, cadnium yellow and ivory black oil colors make a perfect sap green?

It all comes together in time. 

If anything of value is learned, chances are it's not by chance. 
I have been blessed with the opportunities.
I have been blessed with wonderful parents and great, encouraging
people around me.
I've been blessed with the slow forthcoming 
"artistic knowledge" others have shared with me.
I'm so grateful for these things, and the talents I've been given to share.

I didn't learn to paint or draw in a day.
I've drawn the stick figure. Many times.
Yesterday, in fact.  
I didn't paint a face well for years. 
But I have loved and worked hard to "get the eyes."
I am still loving and working hard to "get the eyes." 
I don't think I will ever feel  that I have mastered what I want to do.
This isn't a negative for me. The positive is that there is always room for improvement. 
Because of the years I've learned. 

Now, with a closet full of paintings and drawings.
A cabinet full of sketchbooks.
A pallet full of paint 
and a painting wet as can be.
Here are the questions: 
"Where did I begin?" "How long did it take me to create this work?"
I started with Crayons. It took me 19 years. 

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