Art Watch: The magic of crayons

Randall Graham "imagination" in crayons

Randall Graham "imagination" in crayons

Crayons may not be your first thought as a medium for fine art, but why not? Their bright yellow packaging reminds us of childhood. Their vibrant colors and smooth lines make drawing fun and immediate.

This Friday, The Oxford Arts Alliance will be hosting the reception for ‘The Crayon Show’, a fine arts show utilizing only Crayola crayons and curated by nationally acclaimed artist Anelecia Hannah Brooks. Brooks said that she knows many internationally respected painters who are very skilled in oil painting, but, she thought, "what would happen if these same artists returned to a more playful medium from their childhoods?" Brooks further explains, "The idea behind the show is to return to a sense of play, and also to show some ways in which the limits of simple tools can be stretched.  In this moment where adult coloring books have become so popular, this kind of fine art can be an encouragement to others to color outside the lines…and The Oxford Art Association's community involvement is a great place to begin." ‘The Crayon Show’ runs from February to March 11 and features the work of more than 20 fine artists.

Brook’s own creative piece in the show is aptly entitled "Red", which is an image of a red crayon, drawn with a combination of many versions of reds in a crayon box. The artist recalls, "When I was going in to first grade, the thing I truly wanted was the 64 box of Crayola crayons not just the 12 box, which was on the supply list.”

“When I got it, I dumped it out and carefully rearranged all the colors in rainbow order. I was perplexed by the number of subtly different purplish reds and was always accidentally grabbing ‘violet red’ or ‘strawberry’ when what I really wanted was the full saturation of the true red crayon.

'Red' by Anelecia Brooks

'Red' by Anelecia Brooks

This is a portrait of the Red crayon, using all those reddish crayons but not the Red one." That red shade was famous sculptor Alexander Calder's favorite color too because he said it made him happy. He once said playfully that he would like to paint the world in red!

The opening reception for ‘The Crayon Showis this Friday, February 19, from 5 to 8 p.m., sponsored by Galer Estate Winery, who also will provide the refreshments. There will be a room where visitors are encouraged to play around with this wonderful medium, and remember the delightful sight and smell of that great yellow box of Crayola crayons.

Crayon forest by Lele Galer

'Crayon forest' by Lele Galer

At Wilson Vineyard in Nottingham, The Wilson Vineyard Gallery has a reception this Saturday, February 20 from 2 to 6 p.m., for their new ‘Animal Show.’ Twenty diverse local artists are exhibiting works at very reasonable prices, all with the theme of "animals". A portion of the sales proceeds will to support their local animal shelter. Come to Wilson Saturday for wine, art and to help an animal shelter!

Empty Bowls

Empty Bowls

Another great event that puts arts together with a terrific cause is the ‘Empty Bowls Event’ at the Union Fire Hall in Oxford, PA. The Oxford Arts Alliance has held several community bowl painting get-togethers, which will all culminate in this Saturdays Empty Bowl Event from 11 to2 p.m. at 315 Market Street in Oxford.

Tickets for the event are $20 which can be purchased at the door. You will get a hand-painted bowl filled with delicious soup and a side of bread. Empty Bowls is a fundraiser for Neighborhood Services Center, in partnership with Oxford Arts Alliance, to help fight hunger in the Oxford area.

To round out the week, you might head to West Chester and drop by The Art Trust Gallery at Meridian Bank. They have a stunning show up right now called ‘Contrast’, which runs through March 4th. Artists explore grays, blacks and whites in various mediums to create a very powerful show. Artists include, Rhoda Kahler, Darcie Goldberg, David Eldreth and Margo Allman. Consider  joining their mailing list on their website www.arttrust.org so you can get invited to their openings and previews  by  which are always fun and always packed.

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About Lele Galer

Lele Galer is an artist who has chaired numerous art shows, taught art history and studio art, public art and has chaired, written and taught the Art in Action Art Appreciation series for the UCFD schools for the past 12 years. She worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and wrote for the Associated Press in Rome. She has been dedicated to Art History and art education for most of her adult life. Lele and her husband Brad own Galer Estate Winery in Kennett Square.

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