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Making your mark and then some

February 16, 2016

Color bars and blocks 6I’m thinking about markmaking and how unique each of us is in the way that we do it. Scribbling in itself is a great form of release. Watch children do it and see how much joy they take in making marks of any kind, without aiming for representation.  If you’re stuck, doing several fast “scribbles” on smaller pieces of paper with ink or pencil can be very freeing—it bypasses your critic and need for a purpose and allows your right brain to play.


As for me, I love making marks on canvas, paper, or anywhere else I can introduce an element of spontaneous drawing into a piece. These are not attempts to represent real letters, numbers, words, or objects. It sounds odd, but I look at it as a form of note-taking…as if I am a life scientist observing life and documenting it in a kind of large scale, visual journaling that doesn’t quite tap into known language or recognizable forms. It’s a hint at something just beyond understanding, as if I’m trying to make sense from visual residue rather than wordy content or clear pictures. I think the act of making marks (that dance of ink, graphite, paint on canvas) corresponds to an appreciation of, or a notation of, a moment in time.

Marks from an old (really old) drawing, and details from some current paintings:


Words (another love of mine) that seem to be floating in and around the process of making marks:







That’s where my mind and brush are headed at the moment.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. Mikki Aronoff permalink
    February 16, 2016 2:48 pm

    Wordflex app by Oxford University Press. Free. Get it, one else! Works only on an iPad, not on an iPhone or Apple computer…..And I’ll bring a book tomorrow that your post reminded me of.

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

    • February 16, 2016 9:46 pm

      Hey Mikki–I’m looking forward to the book, and thanks for the mention of Wordflex. I’ll add it to my iPad and have a look.


  2. February 16, 2016 7:26 pm

    Every mark is a unique expression from its creator, so perhaps that’s why they are interesting. I’ve always liked my attempts at blind contour drawing better than anything I “worked” at. Perhaps those marks are more authentic somehow?

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 16, 2016 9:50 pm

      Hi Beth,

      Isn’t that funny? I have always found blind contour drawing to be so fascinating. I think it’s because the lines have so much character (authenticity?). Sometimes I think too much intent gets in the way of letting the process direct us as artists. Thanks for your comment!


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