Saturday, October 17, 2015


This whole experiment on mark making with items from nature has been extremely interesting.  I live out in the country with woods and prairie as part of my habitat. I had access to a wide section of vegetation. That said, I was surprised at what I discovered.

Number one point of interest was the things I "thought" would make the most interesting marks, flopped. 

Point number two - This quickly became an exercise in  Mindfulness. Once I stopped trying to force the object to conform to the movement of my hand and let it move in the direction that it wanted I got some very interesting results.

"What?" you mutter. 

Big Blue Stem grass started with a direct heavy motion from me, you can see the dark ink movement at the top of the page. When I stopped trying to control the thin wispy reed and allowed it to just float on the page I got these lovely flowing looping marks.

A milk weed pod produced the most interesting movement on the paper.  The little seed pods soaked up the ink and deposited them as dots but as I kept moving the pod lines streaked out from the dots. There is no continuous line, no looping, swirling or almost letter looking shapes.  These were short sharp little lines darting out from the blob.

I was sure when I found this chunk of a tree that had long ago fallen, in the woods, that it would make a great mark. I looked at the bottom edge and saw in my mind many lines, uneven in size and width moving across the paper.

Didn't happen.  Some parts of the bark absorbed the ink and released in in a line, others just crumbled with the slight pressure to the paper.  Some points of bark simply made a dot and that was that. Not even a little drag line from the dot. The absorption rate must have been high too because it didn't take very long for there to no mark making.

I had rather unexpected results from this dried wild flower seed pod. Looking at the star shaped pod I expected to see something like that appear on the paper
instead I got these beautiful swirls and circular movement.
It was hard to stop moving this seed pod, it just wanted to swirl and dance across the paper.

I think at last count I have a record of at least 25 different items. All of them different and many of them a real surprise.

What will I do with these?  What would you do with them?  How could you use these as studies?  Make a list.  These will be used in the upcoming months with different projects that I will be suggesting to the 3150 Studio Artists. Come along and play. 

Get your white, cheap, banner paper and acrylic black ink and a basket of different kinds of items from nature that you find in your environment.  Make your own marks with the items, record your own reaction to what you thought and what your results were. Be mindful and play.


1 comment:

  1. These are really fascinating as is the process. I keep wondering if and how the original "tools" will influence the final compositions. Thanks for sharing this.