About making marks

2010-11-21 16:21:40

Art: natural markings

Art is one of our founding urges… children start making marks, exploring and crafting as soon as they learn eye to hand coordination.

They learn experientially, kinetically and with the whole sensory mind, body, emotion and spirit.

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This is interesting because as children we have auric visibility.  We literally see the glow of life and crucially love.  Can you remember the first childhood glow of summer and the taste of chocolate?

They see and experience life in pure colour.

Find me a child’s painting that is dominated by greys and blacks and you will find tragedy there.



The potentially symbolic language of markmaking has ensured our children’s survival, learning in general and our unique paths of diversified human evolution.

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Above: Australian Aboriginal art and makers

Our ancestry includes the gift of painting.  It gives voice and identity: modes and catharsis – reconciliation and protest – romance, humour and political reach. Hope, survival, independence, money and joy.  There is nothing it cannot express.

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Art builds cultures.  It defines, delineates and explains our identities: whether it flags us as an individual or as a family, clan, group or nation.

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I believe we all should make marks because it feeds us.

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Making our mark for our Children

We can pick up the creativity we lost, or forgot… it would be a tragedy for you to come here and never move pencil to paper for fun, privacy or otherwise.

As Picasso said

All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up…

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Rather like learning a new language we are confronted by conventions when we return to art practice… and these do not always serve us well because these are judgements.

There is no place for judgement in the early stages of (or returning to) art practice

Art invites you to be unconventional and cast off confinement or fear.  Fear of making mistakes. Language students find this the main barrier to overcome in order to communicate with active language.

It is necessary to understand that it takes several attempts to make anything strong and good. Make mistakes aplenty and fine tune them.  Mistakes are like fresh snow.

if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original.

Sir Ken Robinson

Young pre-school children learn quickly because they have no concept of fear and do not therefore fear making mistakes.

Action is the master of mark making but behind that lies the thought, the idea.  The input necessary to exclaim, talk, whisper or encode.

Art is a universal, timeless poetry.  You can choose to have rules or discard them.

“Those who want to see must close their eyes.” – Paul Gauguin

We perceive our surroundings with our senses: for the sakes of markmaking lets say mainly visually. Light enters the eye, is transformed into electric current, passes the nervous system and is processed in the brain – a result of millions of years of evolution.

The process of markmaking changes as we age.

“Painting isn’t so difficult when you don’t know (how) … But when you do … it’s quite a different matter!”

Edgar Degas

Making art is a tough process.  How do graduate courses help us or frustrate our natural markmaking skills?

How do we teach our children and young adults to flourish in the mode of originality?

Video Sir Ken Robinson: talks about creativity


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