When I was about nine or ten years old, my mother started me with some private art lessons from Athena Hall, who was a, well known, art teacher in Long Beach, California, where we lived. I had a strong desire to paint with oils because I admired the work of many artists, especially cowboy artist, Charles M. Russell.
Eventually, I did paint with oils, but Athena insisted that for two years we would practice with only pencil and crayon. She said, “You can make crayons look like oil paint if you work at it.”…and I am still working at it.
Years later, in parallel to career at Southern California Edison, photography developed into what I believed would be a life-long passion. I was privileged to get first hand instruction from some greats like Alan Ross, Ruth Bernhard, King Dexter, Marie Cosindas, Ernst Haas and Ansel Adams. I certainly benefited from those years learning composition and the range of light.
While I loved photography, in the back of my mind I had never forgotten the joy, satisfaction, and even the smell of crayon wax on paper. I was just waiting for the right time to try it again.
Then one day, while hunkered down in our trailer in a snowstorm, waiting for our house to be built; I picked up a small box of crayons and heard the teacher’s challenge in my memory. “You can make crayons look like oil paint if you work at it.”
That challenge still resonates with me…and these are the same Crayola Crayons we all used in elementary school.
Crayons…what an unexpected medium.