Journal Friday #66: Contemplative Mark Making


It's been a busy couple of weeks, so I've been focusing on slowing down and finding time to work in the journal. In order to slow down, I've been concentrating a lot of my efforts on contemplative mark making over the past couple of weeks allowing myself to get more present with the art materials and techniques. It seems that as life gets busy, the art making is hurried and rushed happening in fits and starts, bits and parts. So, I've turned to tried and true materials and techniques to help me be more deliberate and contemplative.

For me contemplative mark making is all about repetitive actions that don't require a lot of thought and concentration. This allows the hand to move while the mind focuses on the physical act of making the mark. I like to turn to slow and deliberate techniques such as shading with graphite or colored pencil, drawing short repeating lines and shapes, or creating radiating or web-like designs.

I get caught up in the motion of my hand, and my mind has a tendency to wander a bit as thoughts about all kinds of things come up. In a way, it's like mowing the yard. The activity requires a bit of awareness as not to be boring, but it is just monotonous enough to allow the mind the freedom to churn and turn. I try to be mindful and to stay present with the physical act focusing my full attention on the shading or the drawing, but it's easy for my mind to chase the random thoughts that come up. In the end, I let the thought go and come back to the pen or the pencil point and the line or mark that it's making.

Here's to slowing down, and being deliberate with our marks!