Trying Something New

orange flowers (11)

This summer I created a lesson plan for my kids art camp which featured wax resist.  Here’s a reminder of the project we did:


--art camp 2018 b

We applied very heavy crayon, folding and creasing of  paper and acrylic paint to fill in the creases.  I was truly in love with the finished product.  It has stuck with me for the past couple months.  For the camp, we used cheap Crayola crayons and construction paper, but what if I could find a high-quality light-fast product to replace the school crayons?  What if I could use a high quality paper?  Could I make artwork using this technique that could be considered legit?

I have had a couple failed attempts.  There is a product called Carandache Neo Color II wax crayons.  They apply like a classic crayon, but guess what?  They are water soluble. So, when I applied a wash of acrylic paint, instead of resisting the paint, it absorbed and turned my image into a massive mud pool.

I obviously needed to think about this concept a little more….

Here are some of the products I eventually came up with:crayons

These Stockmar crayons are from Germany and are pure beeswax.

crayons FC

Faber Castell also has a high-quality beeswax crayon.

Neo 1

and thirdly, I found Carandache NeoColor 1 crayons.  Above, I mentioned  the Neocolor II crayons being a personal disaster for this project (they are like runny watercolor sticks). But, the Neocolor 1 are full wax resist crayons. So the NeoColor 1 is going to give me the water resistance I am looking for.

orange flowers (4)

This is what my image looked like when it was only crayon.

orange flowers (11)

This is what it looked like after I folded, creased and distressed the paper.  Plus I added a wash of acrylic paint to get into all those creases.

I love how it looks weathered.  It also tones down the brightness of the colors. Up close it is soft like a piece of antique waxed furniture.  The only down-side is working with the crayons.  They are so clumsy and do not have a fine point.  Do any of you artists out there have any recommendations for a high quality wax resist product with a finer tip?  Oil pastels are no good because they smudge.  Whatever I use, needs to stay in place and repel water.  If you think of anything, that would make my day!

So, this was my first sample/experiment with the technique.  I have made a few more artworks as well.  They are in a sort of naive folk style.  I am not sure if they come off like folk art or simple child’s play.  They are challenging and anything but, but I still have to make sure they look sophisticated enough to be taken seriously.  I will add a few to show you and I would welcome your critique on what improvements I could make.

 Yep. pretty much, I am right back at it. Wondering what the hell I’m doing? thinking… I need to just hunker down….  Paint some traditional landscapes… maybe some happy little still lives…  But instead I am going off the rails again into weird-town.  As usual I am not making a good living because I am constantly experimenting and not focusing, I’m not honing my skills into a  specialty.  When do I cut myself off and tell myself to get a “real” job???

I know, I know….. but I just have to try it out …. just one more thing… one more idea… one more concept… 

  ….just one more!  I promise… Then. Then , after that I will try to grow up and be a little more dependable and predictable…

Here’s to another year of art making :)




  1. Your paintings always look to me like their own thing, with an illustrative and brilliant quality that is very appealing…not naive or childlike at all! I know whereof you speak: can’t focus and want to keep trying new techniques…but that’s just the symptom of a creative mind and what you’re learning will be useful in future. Why not frame what you consider experiments and consign them to people you know who have galleries or other outlets that generate sales? I’m sure they will appeal to certain people and you’ll have income that way.

    Keep on making really lovely pieces and have confidence in their value!

  2. Erika thanks for reaching out. You haven’t seen my new paintings yet, so reserve your judgement!!! ha.

    I have to say, the art establishments that surround me are quite traditional. I have work in a gallery now. I submitted my still lives and landscapes. And while it is a wonderful ego boost, people look and don’t buy. I have been thinking kind of along the lines of what you are saying though. Maybe I should load a ton of stuff on ETSY at rock bottom prices. This way I could attempt to make a penny and empty my basement of all of these “experiments”. I’m still toying with this idea…
    Now, on the other hand, my pottery sells the second I get it out of the kiln. I can’t make it fast enough. And although I truly love pottery, there is still something inside of me that really wants to paint.
    I’m just a little bit of a baby. Ok. I’m a lot of a baby! I’m scared of what people might think of my less conventional stuff. It’s scary being in public naked! and yet I persevere obviously, because I’m still trying…. I just want to share with the world that it’s really scary to put stuff out there. Especially stuff people may not understand or like. I truly thank you for contacting me. It’s always nice to have a non-family member tell you to push through ;)

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