Exploring! … Crayons



"Everyone is born creative:

everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten.


when you hit puberty

they take the crayons away

and replace them with dry, uninspiring books

on algebra, history, etc.

Being suddenly hit years later with the'creative bug'

is just a wee voice telling you,

'I'd like my crayons back, please.'"

-Hugh McLeod


I feel very fortunate.  Creativity has always been part of my life.  My high school had a rich art program, my parents gifted me with art supplies and opportunities, and my extended family includes many self supporting artists who are role models and guides.


With my own children I made time to take them to the art museum for open studio sessions, which I enjoyed as much as they did.  And at home I encouraged them to create and explore.  The reality though was that personal focused creative exploratory moments, outside the usual one or two forms of expression I usually pursued, were rare for me during those busy years.  I am branching out now!






I smiled when I first read the quote above.  Receiving my first "adult" box of crayons almost three years ago was so memorable that I recall the exact when and where.  There is no denying the pull of crayons!  They have that distinct smell that floods the air when you open the box. That aroma immediately takes me back to the time I spent as a child at my grandparents cottage.  I would colour so much, that long before summer had ended the crayons were a mere jumble of colourful stubs in the box. Along the way to that state they produced not only piles of carefully peeled crayon paper, but hours of pure colour delight.  The 64 pack with sharpener was heaven!  These cylinders of colour could easily be considered a gateway drug to increased creativity!


I recently went on an creative exploration outing with my friend Mitzi to The Toronto Artists Project.  I was struck by the work of one particular young artist, Leanne Lang.  With my passion for circles it is easy to see why!  The series of canvases she had hanging looked deceptively simple enough that one might think one could replicate something in the spirit of that style on one's own.   Yet the simplicity of each white background canvas painted with a collection of brushless circles, in pure paint and colour, belied the artist's intense process of consciously editing ... her restraint ... her intentional light hand ... her knowing when to stop.  I think it is all too easy for our creative freedom to be crowded out by intellectualization and analyzing. It's easy to lose touch with instinctual creation. Cerebral noise defeats creative process.


Some crayons in hand, this is a sample of what I played at as an exercise to loosen up!  Simple circles ... lol.   Unlearning muscle memory ... more lol.  Lines overlapping and straying. Assessment. Mental chatter.  Making marks.









This little bit of crayon box play already has me seeing ways I want to explore this further.


Oh, and this fellow, by Julia McNeely, in all of his 6" x 6" sweetness just had to come home with me!  He is ruling the roost on my wall of red artwork!



Julia McNeely Rooster



How do you like to explore creativity?


Happy Stitching!




  1. Amberlea says...

    “Cerebral noise defeats creative process.” So true! And how often after coming out of a deep creative session do I realize that I wasn’t really thinking, just doing. But it’s so hard getting into that state when your mind wants to analyze everything! Great post! Those circles look like fun, and that rooster is amazing!

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