This year I started off I decided to ring in 2019 by participating in an online course by artist Jane Davies. I I admire Jane’s work very much and has a great teaching reputation both through in person workshops and online. I’ve always been attracted to drawing and making marks so when I discovered her “Mark Making” class I was all in.

Here’s a peek into the first week along with some of my results. The goal of all of these exercises is not to create finished work, but instead to explore and observe.

First exercise was with graphite, using different weights and thicknesses. We we instructed to create as much variety as possible using line and pattern. A default tendency is for us to make an all over design or pattern. In this exercise the objective was to do the opposite and NOT make an all over designs and to purposely leave white space.

Here are my graphite experiments

Janet Jaffke - Graphite line exploration

Janet Jaffke - Graphite line exploration

Janet Jaffke - Graphite line exploration

I like the neutrality of of working all in graphite.  I had some trouble leaving  white space. I started out with good intentions but kept trying to make different kinds of marks and ended up filling the pages a bit. These are all 9″ x 12″.  When I look at them together I can see I take a similar approach to where I am putting the marks. It would be interesting to try again and consciously keep the marks to one side or another, or at the top or the bottom, or even in the center. I kept this in mind moving forward with the next pieces

Janet Jaffke - crayon line exercise

Here’s the same exercise using water soluble crayon.

It was more difficult to create variety with just the crayon, Again the page got pretty filled up. I was trying to start from the center and stay in the center…unsuccessfully. I was uncomfortable using many different colors so I stayed mono-chromatic. The lighted lines in the back was an attempt to create pattern. I found I did not have much patience using crayon.

Exploration with oil pastel

Exploration with oil pastel

Same exercise using two different types of oil pastels

I tried both Sennelier and Pentel brands of oil pastels. I just love the creaminess of the Sennelier – the Pentel brand is harder and doesn’t smudge as much. Getting a bit better on open space in these. I think I loved the smeariness because it was an easy way to alter the the quality of the line. I was a bit more successful in keeping some white space in these two.

Results of mark making exercise

Last exercise was to use 3-5 distinct lines, scribbles, and patterns – not shapes. Leave breathing room and keep an unfinished quality.

These are approximately 6″ x 8″. I love the idea of trying to work with so few elements. I varied my approach, one time starting with pattern, one time starting with line, I tried to think of changing the scale of some of the elements in relationship to each other. I think this would be an interesting idea to push. A very \ thought provoking exercise even though it was simple in nature. I may continue on with these from time to time, it was a great exercise.

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Janet Jaffke  -  Jaffke Studio

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