As I’m about to start Part One: Line, I thought now would be a good time to write a bit about my experience of the warm-up exercises: mark making.
Different materials lend themselves to creating marks of varying texture, shape, opacity and form. The prompt words, ‘soft’, ‘sharp’, ‘heavy’, ‘flowing’, ‘delicate’, ‘bold’, ‘fast’, ‘slow’, ‘agitated’, ‘steady’, ‘fluid’, ‘dry’ and ‘multiple’ inspire different mark qualities when using different media. Graphite, charcoal and – to an extent – wax crayon, can easily be used to create soft and delicate marks. Fine liner pen, permanent marker and undiluted drawing ink can be used to create bold, strong and striking marks.
The use of unconventional tools for mark making allow a certain freedom; by using inexpensive tools, the mark making process becomes less precious, resulting in marks that have a confidence about them. I enjoyed the unpredictable nature of mark making using unconventional tools, in particular an elastic band loosely tied around the end of a twig was highly effective in creating irregular, feathery and delicate marks.
Masking fluid creates negative marks that simultaneously have a boldness and subtlety about them; when used boldly masking fluid creates strong silhouettes. It can also be used to highlight finer details, such as the tailing off of a paintbrush. I found the experience of using white ink on a black background almost sculptural – as if revealing the secrets of the page underneath. Negative mark making for me was the most enjoyable method; I liked the element of surprise and felt less concerned about the outcome, and more involved in the actual process.
The above image on the left is A2 in size. I was overly enthusiastic with using black ink and the overall feel was too dark and heavy. I decided to try and recompose it by ripping the sheet into different sizes of rectangle and rearranging the marks made. It doesn’t necessarily highlight the marks to their best, but I do like the disjointed appearance of the marks that have been cut mid-flow.
The above image on the right is also A2 in size. I used a variety of tools and media, but ended up applying far too much water to the paper so that it started to peel. I glued it back together, and found that the torn and ripped edges of the paper are another form of mark making, resembling cracks. The layering of different mark making techniques creates an ephemeral quality. It reminds me of old billboards with layers of torn and weathered adverts – layers of history. A story.
Moving forward to Part One: Line, I am curious to see how these warm-up exercises will affect my work.
(To see all of the pieces from the mark making exercise, please click here and scroll down)