Mark-making and where it led

Back in February, I took a Zoom workshop on mark-making. One topic that came up was neurographic art.

Our instructor, Lorrie Grainger Abdo, explained it as an art therapy that follows a specific set of instructions that the individual can use to reduce stress, work out problems, etc. In our session, she focused on explaining the actual mark-making that is used to accomplish it in showing us the technique.

Basically, you make a scribbly or swirling line on your paper, with crossings and intersections. Your paper can be plain or have colors or designs already on it.

Where those crossings occur, you fill them in to round them off. You extend any dangling lines to the edge of the paper. Then you do whatever you want with the result – fill in with color, with marks, add or subtract items, whatever you like.

This technique intrigued me as another example of providing artistic freedom within boundaries to guide me. Often, I want to paint, to let out feelings, but I need a place to start. For me, this idea really was exciting. I tried it out right away.

I had a masonite board 14″ x 11″ that I had painted with some colors. I drew in my lines and went from there. Here is the result.

I called it “Woman” because that was what first ocurred to me when I stopped working and looked at it as a whole.

I really enjoyed this process of working and it’s perfect for opening a door to an abstract painting, I think. I will be doing it again.

15 thoughts on “Mark-making and where it led

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. It’s another one of those situations with a few rules that guide you just enough to set you free. I enjoy doing these, and it works for all sizes, even postcards.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      I looked at some examples of how other people did it and it didn’t inspire me much, but trying it out myself, that was another story. I did find it freeing to work within the restrictions but to amend them to my own way of doing things. I have done some more paintings with this technique and I will be showing them, and I think in each case I amended further, depending on how I felt on the day I was working.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I like this technique not necessarily for the results but for the process. It really is a focusing kind of thing to be doing and allows for lots of experiments.

  1. Pingback: More mark-making | Claudia McGill and Her Art World

  2. marissthequilter

    Thank you for explaining the process of mark-making. The term keeps cropping up and I have been puzzling over it.
    Woman seems to me the perfect title for this beautifully rounded piece

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I enjoyed the workshop as it pulled together a lot of things I’ve been doing over the years and reminded me of some techniques I have not used for a while. This Neurographics thing was new to me, though, and I like it. You know, I’ve been “markmaking” all my life, I think, and I did not know it had a name until recently. Or maybe the name is recent? Anyway, your Kantha stitching to me is markmaking, in thread.

      1. marissthequilter

        It is in stitching and mixed media with stitching circles that I recently came across the concept. I guess it is partly a new word for an old technique.
        Thank you for seeing my kantha stitching as mark making

        1. Claudia McGill Post author

          I agree, it seems to me it’s a term that’s more recent, for something that I guess I thought didn’t need a name, it seems so ordinary, maybe? Anyway, I’ve looked at your stitching and imagined drawing it.

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