Exercise 1 – Experimenting with expressive links and marks
I used chalk and oil sticks to try out this exercise and folded the paper into the smaller a3 forms. I let myself sit with a thought that gave me the sense of that emotion and then went with it. The calm felt that the flow of the marks needed to be rhythmic and gentle. A light touch with the chalk was used and a sense of keeping the flow at an angle felt right. The smaller feathered bits were put on as they added a texture of softness to the outer edges of the curve. A repetitive motion echoed in three curves and the impression of a direction off the page feels gentle and ‘flowing’.
The anger form was vigorous and quite targeted. The oil stick I had stuck to the paper quite aggressively at times and so the page tore a little, but I kept it as it added to the feeling of destruction caused by anger. Sharper lines and then concentrated circles and scribbles were my expression of the word. Funnily enough, the focus went to the centre of the page as opposed to reaching the outer edges. It was very much poured into the middle of the page and even the sharp quick angled lines didn’t really extend all the way across.
Joy was a little more challenging but I found myself going with a soft and deliberate stroke upwards with the chalk and the circles felt like bubbles of joy. A sense of movement was more of a ‘whoosh’ which is what I get with joy. It was an interesting thing to express and I didn’t feel like drawing anything angled or squared, just soft, circular and whoosh.
My fourth word was pressure. It was done with chalk and I felt that the marks at the top had to show weight for the pressure. The small amount of white left was to show the closing in of things and the lines were deliberately pushed to show sharpness. A repeat scribble pushed the top of the page to feel like the weight was there and I had to go over it a lot to bring up a sense of that weight. A darker colour would have probably helped more, I had to use what I had which was dark grey. When scanned in though I adjusted the saturation so that I could see what a darker colour looked like. It definitely had more of an impact.
- What did I do?
I created 4 images using oil sticks and chalks and used lines to express the words instead of objects or people.
- How did I feel or think about it?
It was strange to try and express some of the words in a shape or line and mark, as opposed to a direct object, person or action demonstrating it. However, when I put a line or a mark down, it was a matter of feeling whether the mark made was true to the word. It felt intuitive and that felt good.
- How well did it go?
Calm and Pressure were good expressions of the word and it felt that the words expressed were to the expression of them. Anger felt interesting and joy was apt but I’m not sure if the expressions are clear and fully there. Anger and joy might be a little held back or maybe the sticks didn’t quite work for my expression of it. I felt the lines and marks were good for the words, but the texture of the chalk for ‘joy’ didn’t feel quite right. Maybe a cleaner line would feel truer. I’m not sure.
- What did I learn?
Doing the exercise as enjoyable and I got a sense of how to convey a feeling through a texture, line or mark on the page. It doesn’t have to be obvious from the person. The mood of a piece could be
conveyed through the marks made on the canvas or page so having a clear intention and then following through with that intended expression can have a strong impact.
- How can this help me in future exercises?
I adjusted some of the images on my pc and I would definitely use them as a background for an image. I’d like to experiment a bit more using ink and paint though, as I think the lines and marks made with the conte and chalk were heavy and had a lot of tooth even though the paper was smooth.
If an image was created then it could be used for a variety of things if I’m creating an illustration digitally. The idea of putting the energy onto the page and then merging it digitally really appeals to me. I want to create images that have that energy and noise captured in it even though I might have started on paper but finished digitally.
Aside from the above though, it has given me food for thought on how I approach an image. I often don’t let the background tell the mood with lines and marks. The character or objects are often left to do that job, but I’m happy to experiment and see how to avoid that and put the background and textures of an image to wor