This summer we’re doing a lot of workshops at Art Village. This last week we did a project called crayon etching. This may sound like a simple elementary school project, but I’ve seen some amazing pieces of art using this technique.
To make our crayon etchings, we first colored an entire piece of paper solid with different colored crayons. Some people chose every color they can get their hands on. Some decided to choose a color family like pinks and purples. Some just colored randomly. Others drew shapes to color like triangles and rectangles. The coloring part of the project was long and rigorous. You have to make sure that the paper is nice and waxy. They all did a great job coloring their papers.
Next, came the dramatic part. We painted over the entire crayon drawing with black tempera paint. This was actually a little scary for our participants. They asked me “Are you sure this is going to work?” They had just spent a good 45 minutes coloring this paper and now we were covering the whole thing with black. It felt like we were ruining it.
But then came the fun part. Once the papers dried, we began scraping away the black and scratching designs into the black painted surface. Now the colors that were underneath, began to come through. The pictures were luminous. It was such colorful contrast to the black paint. “This is so cool!” they said. And it was.
I think life is kind of like a crayon etching. Sometimes we spend a whole lot of time and energy trying to achieve something. We are coloring our papers. We choose just the right colors. We make sure we’ve covered it well. We put our heart and soul into a dream or a goal. Then, something happens and it looks like all that work is ruined. Some circumstance covers our colorful life with black paint. The color is gone.
If we stop here, we can think, “I’ve done all this work and all I have out of life is a depressing piece of black paper.” But if we realize that this is not the end, we can take this black surface and begin to scrape away a new and exciting piece of art. Something wonderful starts to appear out of what seems like a hopeless black circumstance.
I want to encourage you to look at life not as a static spot in time, but rather a fluid process. There is an ebb and flow to life and there’s always a way to move forward towards something good. I believe that every obstacle and struggle is just the beginning of a great opportunity. We just need to be willing to keep looking for the possibilities. Everything can be turned into something good. Enjoy the journey and see the beauty.
Art Saves Lives!