Friday, July 16, 2010
Crayons and Pastels
Yesterday I indulged my child within.
It began on Wednesday when I decided to take BART to work. I had my camera with me the two previous days, but today, I did not. I was looking out the window at the familiar surroundings as they passed by, and I saw two trees and something below them, a border of some sort—the image in total was a face looking back and smiling at me. I hadn’t remembered it this way on the countless rides I’ve taken. Even if I had my camera, I wouldn’t have had time to unpack it. I reached for my notebook to jot down the image that I saw. Goodness me, I had changed bags and forgot to put a pen or pencil in the new one. Instead I kept revisualizing the image as I rode along, so that when I arrived at work, I would quickly pencil it on a post-it note page and attach it to my little notebook.
The sketch here was my attempt at capturing what I saw and then it shaped itself into what you see here. I have used the new pastels and new crayons, but mostly it’s done in pastels.
I had also been thinking of Crayola crayons this week. They have a distinct scent—like candle wax that has been dipped in the rainbow—and the sound, the sound of crayons when their home is a plastic or cardboard box, that wonderful sound of fishing through the box, wax pebbles shifting against each other, in search of the right color.
All of this scoops me back to my childhood and an image that I had forgotten appears—my grandparents, and how I would ask them to color in my coloring book. When I looked at the finished product, I was taken aback with how they mixed the colors by putting complementary colors side by side and other colors that I wouldn’t think to put together. They seemed to color three-dimensionally and made the pages come alive.
Back at work and time for a break. I walk the blocks, opening myself to the hot day, glancing at the usual stores and boutiques, and then I see a new store—a toy store! I wait for the cars to pass and run across and enter. Immediately I see that they carry many classic items, such as magic trick kits, Silly Putty, robots made from tin—and of course regular toys, but I’m interested in the little novelty items. My attention is draw to a prism where you can hold it to the sun and see how light bends. I walk to where they have art type supplies. I don’t need supplies, but I can’t help myself. They have a small container of pastels in a plastic holder that snaps shut and a box of erasable crayons. I don’t care that they are erasable, but I like the look of them, they are tall and slender with no paper—exposed; and you can see from the picture on the box, they have a different texture on the paper. I have my Crayola crayons at home, but I still entertain buying this box.
I took my items up to the counter: Small container of 12 oil pastels (that I also don’t need); set of 15 erasable crayons—both by Faber-Castell, which on the package says they’ve been around since 1761—that’s a long time; refracting prism; silly putty; and a small object that you can twist into a ball and then into a circle that looks like a flower. For now, I put this twisty toy on the counter at work to indulge the child within the boss.
At the store counter, they had countless other odds and ends, loads of Japanese erasers, which caught my fancy, but I had to restrain myself. I actually used to love collecting erasers when I was a child. I remember the smell of them too, as I write this. Ahh…memories. Scents and memories.