mark making

Today and yesterday I have been experimenting with pencils, paints and ink... it has seemed difficult to find the time to do this recently and it has been a delight. However I haven't found it easy to slip back into this way of working... it requires a lot of concentration and the ability to ignore distractions in a way that sewing or embroidery, a slower, ploddier process, does not. To keep the rhythm of ideas going is something I'm no longer used to, it doesn't come easily, but I'm determined to persist and break through whatever barrier it is that prevents the flow.

I've set myself a project of experimental mark-making... just seeing what I can do with a limited range of media and a restrained palette of colour. I'm using only pencil, rubber, ink and gouache in white, black and blue-grey and whatever paper comes to hand. I'm deliberately restricting myself to dealing with line and shape only - circles and simple forms - and seeing what happens, with no particular goal other than the eventual production of a sort of toolkit with which to be more productive and directional in the future. Each 'drawing' is quite brief and direct and this approach has allowed me to amass a big pile of ideas about the quality of line, form and texture.

One thing I had to start training myself to overcome almost immediately was a real, physical panic that welled up as I began to pencil in areas I had drawn... it was a sort of fear of time passing by, of the need to rush, to produce, to achieve quickly... everything seemed to be so slow... it has been really good to keep reminding myself that quality work takes time, that it's ok, just breathe, just keep going...

I feel very positive about this change of direction... I am excited about the possibility of at last producing some paper work that I am pleased with, and with developing my skills both technical and psychological to enable me to move on with this. I hope to be able to post more of my experiments and doodles over the next weeks... come back and see.

12 comments:

Chrissie said...

I'm excited for you ... and this looks like an intruiging beginning of something!

janet clare said...

they look great so far! I like the fact that you've found the time to experiment with marks for their own sake.

Frances said...

Sue, what you have begun to explore is very intriguing. Yes, the circle is a perfect eternal form that can be the start of many creative excursions.

Your "limited" colorway is very rich, and also a wise method to keep the creative pathway clear.

The photos that you've posted definitely have your signature. The signature might be done in a different way, and from a different starting point, but I could see your hand and eye and mind in each of them. Also can see textile affinity. All this this is wonderful!

What you wrote about the pace also got my attention. I am currently unable to even open a sketchbook ...fearing that time will run out before I get something down on that page that I would want to see again.

My new year's alternative has been to continue the knitting and crocheting that towards the end of last year produced many Christmas gifts. I got the gear box in gear for those yarn explorations, and have continued this playing. I keep the notion in the back of my mind that some of these stitches might eventually translate into a drawing or painting.

Good to find a pace that keeps us going. xo

Hollace said...

Good for you!

acornmoon said...

You have produced some very interesting work, the last one reminds me of a Ben Nicholson painting maybe it is the colour?

I hope you carry on with this, I know how hard it is to keep focussed on something experimental. It was much easier back at art college!

Gilly said...

Sounds exciting - and those two "doodles" have your name written all over them! The colour, the thoughts are so "you".

And those two circles remind me so much of the beautiful Iron Age torques that have been found recently.

Things Hand Made said...

I find it hard to leave circles alone. I dont use them in my work but alwasy drawn to them on playdays

Andrea & Co said...

It reminds me of the 'Common Core' element of my City and Guilds course..we spent days just experimenting with marks on paper using just about anything to make the mark and to mark on...very liberating. I think it is so good to get back to basics now and again..
Andrea x

kate said...

A friend directed me to your site to read all about 'leaving comments' love how you write and how your mind works! Now I've taken a quick look at some posts too and will definitely be back. I hope I don't come up as no reply - I've done all the right things. Kate x

JP said...

they look really interesting - I like the idea

elizabethm said...

Very simple, very beautiful.

ljw said...

What an intriguing site. I came across it while browsing Google for some details on Tunnicliffe's sketches and paintings of birds and found myself caught up in its gentle musings of life. I shall revisit and revisit. I love your post on mark making.