Sunday, August 26, 2012

marks again

I presented an updated version of the mark-making presentation from Wisconsin (see post of August 27, 2011) on the last day of the Telluride workshop. Two days before, Rebecca led us though a drawing-scribbling exercise that set a path in the direction of marks. Six of us at a time stood around a table, drawing implements at its center, with a stack of 4"x6" paper in front of each of us. In response to a rapid sequence of instructions ("Pick any implement and make a single mark." "Pick up any implement and draw what you do."), we each filled about twenty sheets. The pace was so rapid that at some point the left brain just gave up. In addition to loosening us up, in the end we each had a significant record of our individual mark-style.

The exercise provided me with some spontaneous marks that I really liked. Or, more accurately, I liked the fact that they came out of me unimpeded and were visually pleasing. (The image above is of one of my favorites.) As we returned to our painting stations, as it were, and to our now-dry panels from the day before, the emphasis was on drawing, and I practiced further and on a larger scale the types of gestures that I had made on the small pieces.

Rebecca had also brought to the workshop a copy of Expressive Drawing by Steven Aimone. The author approaches drawing as essentially line and mark, without worrying about representation. Short chapters present various aspects of drawing, but what I found most valuable were the exercises, which emphasize loose, gestural, and spontaneous drawing -- exactly my focus right now. I've ordered myself a copy of the book just for the inspiration it will provide for practice.

I'm in San Francisco visiting my sister-in-law, Meg, and today we revisited the alphabet work we did last year (see post of May 6, 2011). This time Meg's suggestion was to write  some text (a letter or a poem, for example) but to turn the letters into a series of gestural expressions that cover the surface without looking like letters. It was a stimulating, freeing, and amazingly difficult exercise, one that I plan to repeat.

So I feel well supplied with a variety of means to further develop the marks that I make, without resorting to representation, and bypassing as much as possible my controlling, analytical left brain.

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