As I was paging through art catalogs a few years ago, I noticed descriptions of watercolor crayons and realized that I’d owned a small set of 10 Caran d’Ache watercolor crayons for the past 30 years without ever trying them. A friend had given them to me, and I’d set them aside, thinking they were for children. At that time, I was happily working with transparent watercolor in a purist manner and had no use for other materials. In the intervening years, my attitude, as well as my work, changed completely. I was ready to try a new medium. I then rummaged through a box of rejected materials and there they were?10 watercolor crayons, protected by a tightly closed tin box, pristine as the day they were given to me. Since I didn’t really know what to expect from these crayons, I began with small sketches. Fresh with abandon and charged with a sense of adventure, I felt free to pull out all the stops?trying anything and everything that came to mind. What a delightful surprise it was when many of these studies turned out to be little gems, vibrating with sumptuous, complex color nuances and exhibiting textural appeal. Some were fresh and light, while others had the richness of oil paintings. They all had the energy that comes from working freely?with a sense of abandon and without self-conscious concern for the finished work.
To the right and below are several of my recent works executed with watersoluable drawing tools.
Study, Never-Summer Ranch #1 (watercolor crayon on paper)
Mary Todd Beam splits her time between her studios in Cambridge, Ohio, and Cosby, Tennessee.