Mark Making

January 4, 2013

Filed in: Uncategorized

Why do we, as a species, find it a need to make marks? What part of our existence, or wiring, or connection with one another makes it necessary to make our own marks of being? I ponder these questions, at length, because I believe it is important, especially as an artist, to understand the pattern of need that existed in those, many moons ago, that is so much akin to our own desire and must…to make marks. 

This week was the kick off of our first Mixed Media Challenge in my Google+ community and the technique was “Adding Graphite with Acrylic.” The first of 52, and I thought how perfect to celebrate with mark making as the focus, especially because mark making is at the very core of what artists…and humans…strive for. 

As I reflected back on learning as a child, viewing images of cave paintings and marks made eons ago, I felt a deep connection with how we were created. There must be an innate sense of expression, to reach out and communicate our purpose here, with one another, and as a record of our own existence. This exercise, of combing graphite with acrylic, was one I approached with glee. That was…until I started. 

The minute I started considering what I would create with my pencils and paint I hit a brick wall. The magnitude of making a mark, the birth of an idea onto paper, became daunting and I couldn’t do it. I believe it was the intent that stopped me, the notion of wanting it to be significant. But as I thought about it, something stirred in me that said….”just make the marks, the meaning will come.” With that sentiment, I grabbed my art journal, rather than a canvas, and turned to the page already painted in two of my favorite acrylic colors, blue and hot pink. 

Without direction, I began to embrace the sheer act of mark making…with lines, with squares, with circles, the very basic structures that we use to draw and communicate. It wasn’t about drawing well, it was about the form, the process, the very act of placing graphite in my hand and placing it onto a substrate…and making a mark. 
As this face developed, the colors and the play of contrast filled me with a sense of wonder as to if those who first started out making marks were drawn to color in the same way I am. I thought about the rudimentary tools and minerals they would have used to make marks, and what might have inspired them. It all fascinates me, this connection we have to our predecessors. 

This year, for the next 52 weeks, our community will be trying our hand at various techniques to explore the world of mixed media in art. It will be a time to try something brand new, to think out of the box, and to take risks. I look forward to taking time to consider, ponder, and learn through the process with a group of folks willing to take the journey with me. As a self taught artist, I missed out on the study of art history in college, but the teacher in me, the life long learner that I am, MUST reflect and seek out how it all connects together. 

I will be posting a weekly update as to our groups progress on Google+ in an album and if you are so inclined to join us, we would love to have you. There is no charge for this experience, just a willingness to join, to explore, to share insight, and connection with a community of like minded artists making their mark in this world. You can find us HERE

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  1. Christine says:

    Fabulous post Ardith!!!I love being on this journey with you!!! Happy Creating!!! CARPE' DIEM!!! :d

  2. Deborah Mongato says:

    Love listening to your thoughts Ardith…found myself grabbing my graphite crayon after reading about your first challenge. How do you seal yours?

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