Mark Making To Make Art

Mark Making To Make Art

Mark making is one of the simple pleasures an abstract artist has and is quite a hot topic. Literally any type of mark onto the canvas/paper/board - whatever you are creating on - counts and any one can try, which makes creating abstract art so much more accessible. Like with most things that look easy, there are a number of techniques that have to be honed for the end result to turn out well, but don't let that inhibit you from starting out. Artists are inclined to develop their style and learn new techniques throughout their careers, so there are hits and misses along the way, it's all part of the creative journey, which we can all participate in. It is why art, specifically painting, is such a wonderful and mindful creative outlet (well I would say that wouldn't I?).

When we are little, we paint with our fingers, sponges, even cut potatoes! We progress to more traditional tools, like brushes and palette knives, but the basic principles remain.  The joy of all of these instruments is in their ability to create different patterns and how we weald them with our own unique style and competencies will affect the marks that we make. Combining our marks allows for infinite possibilities and for an artist to truly develop their own personal style and form of expression.  I am already feeling myself getting ridiculously excited about this topic just talking about it!

For some people, the thought of simple mark making feels like it isn't sophisticated enough to count as art (think of the Old Masters). I couldn't disagree more. Discovering ways to use anything and everything at our disposal, in such a way as to evoke a look or a feel to a piece of work, takes hours of trial and error, resilience and honed skills.  I often find that some of my favourite parts of a painting are when there is an almost invisible fleck of paint that lies outwith the main  colour palette of the piece.  But this fleck may be all that is needed to lift the surrounding colours to give the artwork added depth and interest. Colour draws in the eye and how you use and place that colour (and texture too) will impact how the entire piece is perceived.

For new artists, who may be a little wary of mark making, I simply say "Go for it!". Let yourself loose. If your instinct is to go subtlle, then turn it on its head and go bold instead. Surprise yourself and see where it takes you. Let the art guide you on a liberating journey.

For me, abstract art allows me to see and imagine so much more than  what is actually in front of me. Mark making helps me to focus on the very essence of what I am trying to convey and to only put in what I feel is absoluely necessary. For example, real-life flower forms are often very intricate, but in a piece bursting with blooms, I want each element to have their moment in the spotlight as well as collectively - too much detail can be ... well, too much. Sometimes the simpler representation focusses on the raw character, which, in turn, gives the viewer freedom to place their own interpretation and emotion on what they are seeing. That for me is truly valuable.

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