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30 Days of Morning Mark-Making

Updated: Mar 23

Last month I set myself a challenge. I needed to get reconnected to my playful creative self to move forward with some ideas. I received a moleskin landscape watercolour sketchbook for christmas that was perfect for my project. One month ago I started on my 30 days journey of morning mark-making.

I had no idea how it was going to pan out, (which was the idea really) as I needed to find my way through a brain full of old and new ways of expressing myself through colour, marks and medium.

So I embarked on this journey with slight anxiety - would I keep it up? would it be interesting? would it be "good" enough to keep or share on social media? I had to keep reminding myself I was doing this for ME not to show off! I also had to let go of any expectations. The results would be whatever came about, and any bad outcomes would be included in the sketchbook. I also reminded myself that every result would have something in it I liked. So I committed to turning up at the sketchbook every day.

I've just finished the 30 days and I had some expected and unexpected results - all of them good!

I've selected four images from each week to show you, plus some details on how I tackled them.

Week 1

I limited myself to Japanese watercolour, Caran D'ache neocolour sticks, pencil, ink pen and Winsor & Newton white gouache.

The results were mainly colour and shape experiments made with a brush and colour sticks. Looking back I can tell that even though I thought I was making intuitive marks, they are still quite tight and considered.

Week 2

This week was more fun. I used Liquitex acrylic paint, Liquitex and FW acrylic inks, Sennelier oil pastels and different painting knives and tools. The results are more intuitive , but mostly marks and tools I have used before and in retrospect I can see I was relying on what I already knew.

Week 3

So cool! I turned a creative corner. I made a bunch of mark-making tools from dried twigs, seedheads and leaves from the garden. I used Ph Martin's hydrus watercolours, Winsor and Wewton inks, and Jacksons black indian ink and various pastel and graphite pencils. The homemade mark-makng tools really liberated me from making thought out marks. The intuitive approach is more evident and I can see a pattern developing as I begin to find my voice.

Week 4

This week was truly the icing on the cake! I received a set of PhMartin's bombay india inks for my birthday and I went to town with them!! They are so vibrant! I limited myself to using my left hand only so that the marks would be more unpredictable. I also used Winsor and Newton white ink and charcoal pencil and the Caran D'ache neocolour sticks. The results are gorgeous, much looser and definitely moving towards something I can expand on.

At the end of an enjoyable 30 days I can honestly say that this challenge has really fired up my creativity. The results have surprised me and I have learned so much. It has also totally filled my sketchbook. I haven't had to scrap any of the pages, and as an exercise it has definitely been worth it. Best of all - I didn't miss a day and I enjoyed every minute of it!

What comes next?

I have a few ideas - watch this space!

Back soon!


PS you can see 4 short videos of the results of each week on Instagram

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