Drawing and Mark Making

MY CREATIVE PROCESS

I often begin a painting by drawing with charcoal or pencil on the stretched canvas. These are random marks made all over the canvas to get the "creative juices" flowing. I then select my palette of acrylic paint colors and begin creating a variety of shapes. Still no intention other than covering the canvas with paint and marks. Most of these early layers will be covered with new layers of paint and collage material but this process results in interesting textures unachievable in any other way! As the painting progresses, there's often tension between the shapes (geometric vs. organic), color choices (warm vs. cool) and values (lights vs. darks) which add drama and interest. I want my paintings to have a spontaneous and painterly characteristic with a spirited sense of color!

 
Adding Collage Materials
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My Dialog with the Painting

As my collage elements dry, I continue to paint intuitively--applying one color and then reacting to the next color applied to the canvas as if I were having a dialog with the painting. Is this the right color? Is it too dark or too light? Should it be a warm or cool color? Is there too much or too little of this color being used? Are my shapes varied? Do I have enough variety in lines--thick/thin, dark/light, geometric/organic? There are hundreds of questions that must be answered as I continue to paint. As I progress in the painting, I add distinct shapes and marks using graphite, watercolor pencils, markers, pastels, charcoal, or wax crayons. I continue to add, wipe out, or change colors and shapes until I am pleased with the composition and the overall design and feel of the painting. Painting for me is a process of experimentation. Each time I walk back into my studio to continue working on a piece, I must take the time to study how my work is evolving. Is the work harmonious? Is it balanced? Does your eye go to the center of interest? Does it then move around the painting to explore other interesting areas? Does it evoke the feelings I'm trying to express? Is there enough variety in values to give the painting dimension and life? Is it pleasing to the eye? And, when my response to the question "Is there anything else this painting needs?" is No, I consider the painting finished and needs to be signed. It's at this point that it gets a title!

 

For me, adding collage to my paintings make them more interesting than just paint. It gives the painting an additional layer of history--human history! The collage materials I use most often are items such as old letters, maps, postcards, stamps, new or old magazine pages, dress patterns, paperback book covers and pages, photographs, illustrations, and painted papers. These are added throughout my painting process. This is a totally intuitive process because I do not start with a plan only a vague idea or concept. I search through my collage materials and select the pieces I think will work with this painting!

 

CONTEMPORARY MIXED-MEDIA ARTIST