Tiger Tiger!

Red, Yellow, Black and White acrylic paint. I can make amazing pictures with these four colours, my recent self portrait, for example.

Natalie Knowles | Natalie Knowles Art © 2018

Now enter the enticing colour palette of Crayola with their triple-titled wax crayons. Wow, let me draw in albaricoque, amarillo, scarlet, brun and noir! The oh-so familiar smell of childhood rainy afternoons and suade-soft feel of the paper wrapper are immediately enticing to a thirty-something who just wants to play with art for a couple of hours.

With a cast of nine crayons vs. four acrylic paints and an assortment of wooden lollipop sticks, pins and skewers I crank up the music. I am excited to see how my style of mark-making differs in paint vs. crayon.

Firstly, the painting: two hours, a lot of broken cocktail sticks and one blood blister later, I give you: Tiger.

Tiger | Natalie Knowles Art © 2018And now, with a great deal of excitement I put wax crayon to canvas.

I spent my lunch browsing lots of arty blogs after a Google search for ‘wax crayon techniques‘. It is amazing the variety of processes you can put wax crayons through to create different textures and effects. I will be utilising my hairdryer in future art projects! For now though I was curious to see if I could get any degree of intensity and build-up of tone from crayons.

My hands were hot and this made the crayons easier to apply and to get colours to blend. I was really pleasantly surprised that I was able to capture tonal variation and a whole range of interesting, energetic marks.

Wax Tiger | Natalie Knowles Art © 2018

Both pictures took less than two hours. The crayons were a lot less messier! Once I had sponged black paint off my walls and carpet, I was able to stand back and appreciate both pictures side-by-side.

Can you believe that the same artist did these two representations of a tiger on the same day? It’s the medium that makes the resulting image so incredibly different.

I put the question out to my followers on Instagram, in the form of a poll on my Story: ‘Can a tiger change it’s stripes and still look good?

Tiger Tiger | Natalie Knowles Art © 2018The response was 100% unanimous ‘YES!’.

In conclusion, I am galvanised to try coloured pencils, glass paints, collage, felt tip pens, anything to see how my style translates through different mediums.

Experiment! That was a lesson that I learnt last year when I returned to painting after a ten year hiatus. I discovered that my kind of painting (throw kitchen objects at the canvas!) was so incredibly liberating from my day-to-day controlled work as an illustrator. So every now and again, when the energy feels right, I buy myself a canvas and allow myself to indulge – it’s wonderful! And today, my world of possibilities just got larger.

Natalie Knowles