25 August 2010

Battling the Inner Critic

I sit on the couch hunched over the coffee table.  It is a cool evening with a swift breeze from the north coming through the windows.   In front of me is my sketch pad, a pencil and a brand new box of crayons.  That's right, crayons.  I pick up the pad and begin to loosely sketch out some ideas that had been lurking amidst the little gray cells.

"Are those crayons?"

I ignore the question.  Obviously they are.  Anyone can see that.  I continue to sketch.

"What are you doing with crayons?  Have you reverted to your childhood or something?"  The voice grates, my teeth clench.

"I'm experimenting, looking for a easier way to sketch quickly."

"Hmmph!  One would think that you'd have grown up by now.  Look at all that equipment you have in the studio, even in your car. Crayons are for kids.  Didn't you eat some crayons once when you were a child?"

Probably.  Like many kids, I felt the urge to consume the colors, become one with the color, be the color.  Or, then again, maybe I was just hungry.  I remember they had no taste at all.  Very disappointing.  I think at some point I even tried doggie biscuits (hence, the great dental checkups).

Silence follows as I continue to ignore the last remark.  I look over the 64 colors ranged like soldiers in their  4 cardboard sections, a whiff of new wax tickles my nose.  I reach for . . .

"What do you hope to achieve with crayons anyway?  They're not "real" artist's tools.  Why not pastels or oil pastels?  Why not oil sticks?"

"Pastels leave dust everywhere," I reply.

"Oh, yes, I remember that time you wore white shorts. Ha!  Not very bright, I must say."

"Shut up."  I select one of my all-time favorite colors, periwinkle blue, the color of cornflowers, of summer mornings and warm breezes.

"Well, what about oil pastels?"

"They melt in the summer; freeze in the winter and snap."  A loud hoot fills the air.

"Yes, yes!  Remember that one, too -- melted oil pastels dripping all over your car, oozing onto the papers and your feet!"  A snort of laughter follows.

"Go away.  I'm busy here.  Besides, crayons are fun.  They're familiar, there's no preparation, they are easy to use and they blend so well.  That's all I'm looking for -- ease of use and a time-saver since I work full-time.  Now, go away." 

Another favorite, violet, comes out of the box.  A wide spray of violet covers part of the paper, mixing with the periwinkle -- yum!

"You have reverted.  You're acting like a kid again, not a true artist.  Well, if you continue to insist on this ludicrous behavior, I'll just have to leave you to your playtime."  The sound of stomping echoes through my mind.

Good.  My Inner Critic has finally left the building.

I think another pool of blue should go here.  And then maybe some light green over there.  Night rolls on . . .

* * *

The next morning I come downstairs, grab my first cup of coffee and sit on the couch, staring at the sketch pad I had left the night before, along with the pencil and crayons.  All happy little soldiers lined up . . . hey, wait a minute . . . something's wrong.

One of the crayons is missing,  Where's my periwinkle blue? 

Ummmm.  Could it be that maybe I've convinced my Inner Critic to put aside logic and have some fun? 

* * * * *

Have you tried something "silly" or just plain fun to break out of the doldrums or to find an easier way to do something?  Come and share!


Leslie Avon Miller said...

I love periwinkle! Didn't we iron crayons - layer them on, sandwich two pieces of paper and iron? Or how about putting down all that yummy color and then covering it with black and scratching out an image, revealing all that color; like an archeological dig of the artistic kind.

Cathy said...

I have no problems using crayons in my art projects. In fact I brought the 120 box this year. The more the merry, except when I drop the box on my foot.


Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Oh that beautiful box of color...my favorites were the salmon and the turquoise...what am I saying I loved them all! Your critical voice is clear and your retorts strong...enjoy your crayons!

Caterina Giglio said...

great post! love the dialogue! sounds so familiar!! and the idea of changing it up and really playing around with childlike abandon!
thanks for this!!

layers said...

I never care what an artist uses-- what materials or the process-- just the journey and the destination and the end which leads to another beginning.

Kelly M. said...

So glad I seem to have struck a familiar note for us all! I guess "back-to-school" time evoked this fun entry?

Maybe I'll post my "refrigerator artwork" someday -- :-)

Anonymous said...

I feel we have to 'play' sometimes in order to please our 'inner child' then something wonderful happens!

Kelly M. said...

:-) absolutely, Carolann! Good to hear from you!

Kim Hambric said...

So glad to hear that you are enjoying your crayons. Sorry your inner critic was so mouthy.

My latest silliness - my new motto is "stick it". Where I "used to" sew, I now glue. I've collected paper bags, graph paper, magazines, fabric scraps and any other bits I have around the house and I'm just gluing and sticking and having a fantastic time. My inner critic is on vacation this week, but I'm sure she'll be back quite soon.

Kelly M. said...

Kim -- good for you! I love "sticking it," too -- especially all those bits of leftover quilting pieces, batiks especially.

Cathy -- I envy your box of 120!!! wow.

Laura J. Wellner (author pseudonym Laura J. W. Ryan) said...

Oooooo, periwinkle blue, the color of a late August evening sky and a field of golden rod (I do believe there was a crayon in the box of 64 called golden rod!) I love the smell of new crayons... I couldn't start my first day of school without one, (I would have to hide them from the dog, she would eat them if I left them lying about on the floor, and she'd have interesting colored poop the next day!) I have a box of 64 in the cupboard ready at a moments notice should I decide I need to indulge (and I do!) There's nothing like sketching out the color schemes for potential paintings, layering and blending... oh the joy! Loved your post!!

Kelly M. said...

Laura -- glad you stopped by and liked the entry! Yes, a late August evening sky sounds perfect for periwinkle! :-)

Anonymous said...

Oh, I sure needed this, Kelly! Great post. I've been fantasizing about filling a whole canvas up with bits of magazine pages, phone books, want ads, etc., then partially painting over the whole thing. Wow. Just typing this makes me want to actually do it!

Kelly M. said...

Hi, Martha! Great that this connected with you! :-)

nancy neva gagliano said...

fantastic piece of writing!! you've CAPTURED THE CRITIC so well, and then....i see in your next piece, above, you've had some successful fun with wax and attack and non-attachment...congratulations!
i'll now go read what some of the comments are here, other's critics raising havoc.

Kelly M. said...

Hi, Neva -- LOL! So glad you enjoyed this one! What's a bit of frivolity now and then, eh? :-)