Thursday, April 13, 2017


The phone rings.

I answer.

I am struck immediately by the purest voice I have ever heard, a brand new voice using words brand new to him, and honestly I am struck. It's so new and pure. Over the phone this little boy sounds like the voice of an angel and I mean it. It affects me. He said.
Hello Uncle Bo, it's me, Nathaniel.
Thank you for me sending these crayons.
I like them a lot because they are bright.
What? I didn't get mine yet. No fair.

My brother put him up to it. Worked out what to say, dialed the phone. Still, that child's voice is outrageously beautiful. It stops your heart hearing it address you like that.

James picked up the phone. "Look, here's the thing. I'd never think of these things. I'm not an artist. I don't know what's out there but you do. I must reiterate from before that I've never seen Daniel so excited with receiving a gift not even over a bicycle or trampoline did he act like that, never over any video game. I've never seen him jump around so much holding the block ream like a plush toy. Rocking back and forth like an insane kid. I wouldn't think of a ream of card stock. I couldn't think of that."

Glad to hear it. My crayons did come the next day. I have photos of doodles but they're simple examples of some colors being brighter than others.

It's a stupid subject. I realize that.

I need to put down large color fields and I'm trying everything. I need things to go fast. I have the whole room cluttered with oil paints, water color paint kits, acrylic paint kits, two sets of color pencils, two sets of felt tipped pens, extra bold markers of various colors fine and broad, printer. And crayons.

I bought Crayola crayons from the supermarket and used them for a pop-up card. (Wow, it's famous. [joe's tree, pop-up card] directs you right to it.) On the page for the pop-up card I described crayons as a really weird medium because they're impossibly waxy and they flake all over the place. I remember hating them. I recall the mess they made all over and leaving very little color behind, so frustrating. Crayons are not the same as before.

But when I used them again today after a few years the crayons do not do that. They worked fine. They did not leave a huge mess and they do deposit sufficient color. I don't know why the flaking and low-color problem was disqualifying back then. Maybe the crayons changed by aging.

The beeswax crayons are better than the Crayola crayons. But nothing spectacular. After using them on a doodle I realized they felt like and they behaved like and they look like crayons did before they began using so much paraffin in their manufacture. There is a huge gap between my childhood crayons and the ones now and it's clear that a change in crayon manufacturing, some kind of cost cutting measures occurred since then.

One of the reviews on Amazon for these beeswax crayons kits was written by a woman with other concerns. Her review was mostly about crayon ingredients used by various companies. After all her somewhat otherworldly analysis and her odd focus on comparative ingredients it occurred to me she was interested in protecting her children from eating them. Without ever actually saying that. Along the way she said something that I thought was naturally astute. She observed her children. When they are coloring and pulling crayons from a bucket they always go for these larger heavier, less fragile, triangular shaped so they don't roll, beeswax crayons. I thought it was sweet that she listed her children's favorite crayons, and why, and her own favorite crayons, and why, and her reasoning is more focused on crayons as food.

I can report at hand the beeswax crayons feel like crayons and the result is crayon-y. Nowadays you must pay a bit of a premium for regular non-waxy flaking all over the place crayons.

Beeswax crayons ↑. 

Crayola crayons ↓. 

Using these today shot my whole point of view, they're not so bad as I recall. Not so frustrating as I recall although all colors are a bit weak comparatively and some colors are very weak. 

The bummer is there are only 24 colors. 


AllenS said...

I have bees wax. I use it when I want to get a frozen/rusted nut off of a bolt/threaded rod. I use my acetylene torch to heat up the nut, then apply some bees wax to the nut. When you see little bubbles coming out of the threaded area, then it will break loose very easily.

It's an old Apache trick.

Sixty Grit said...

I use beeswax, too. I use it to coat a screw that I am about to drive - no binding, no screwing around, just easy-peasy. It's an old Mississippi trick.

Stories like this make me wish I could see color - there are times I really miss making two dimensional art. Oh well, we all have our burdens to bear.

ricpic said...

Crayon has its own punchy quality, which is just as legitimate as hoighty toighty pastel. Degas thought so and sometimes applied a mix of both or even crayon alone when he wanted trumpets instead of clarinets.

rhhardin said...

No native American faces have been properly colored since Crayola got rid of Indian Red.