Using Crayon with Watercolor

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Lately I’ve been experimenting with using plain old crayola crayons with watercolor. The crayon sort of gets a bad rap- they’re childish, cheap, and used to be racist. But, I always thought, and continue to think, that a box of crayons is one of the more beautiful things one can own.  Seeing them all lined up in the box, the tips sharpened to that vaguely conical point, certainly feels warmly nostalgic to me (they were also my favorite “how it’s made” segment of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.) But, of course, I now find myself working with them in a more “serious” manner:

Crayon Pics 1 and 2

Crayon Painting 4 Megan Koth

All paintings by Megan Koth, 2013.

Using crayons with watercolor like this is a great way to do a quick resist, and/or to add interesting linear effects. The crayon marks “blend in” pretty well with the watercolor- I was afraid it may look too garish. I’m even starting to enjoy doing sketches in my sketchbook with them. There’s something very relaxing about using crayons for me, and I’m sure the same is true for a lot of people. They make me want to work more freely and directly- probably because that’s how we all worked with them as children. As artists, sometimes our biggest challenge is trying to grasp that sense of confidence and spontaneity again. After all, as Picasso famously said, “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”

Coming Into Focus

Lately, I’ve gotten back into the groove of working more abstractly. I tend to move in waves- I eventually get a bit bored of doing abstraction so I move to more representational work, then the cycle starts again. I’m starting to use less of the liquid acrylics and more paint of tube consistency, keeping my brushstrokes more distinct.

Lake by Megan Koth. Acrylic on Canvas

I’m also becoming even more conscious of color in my abstractions. I can even see a bit of a continuation of my desserts series in my new favor for “yummy” looking colors here.

Pink by Megan Koth. Acrylic on Canvas

I still haven’t completely abandoned my love for working with liquid acrylic and getting those kinds of effects, but I can see my starting to apply paint more thickly as a sign that I’m getting more confident in my mark making. Slowly (very slowly) building up form and color using watered-down acrylic can sometimes be a kind of crutch for avoiding bold, distinct marks. Now, I feel like I’m starting to blend the two techniques together, and am starting to get really excited about working non-objectively again!