Making Marks

Whistler Evening, 18x24, acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

There's no doubt that some paintings are more fun to make than others. Some are way, way, more fun than others. As I finished a fun one, I thought that it would be worth taking a minute to write down what it was that made it so enjoyable.

For me, its all about variety. If I had to follow the same process for every painting I made, I wouldn't have lasted long as a painter. Luckily, we are our own bosses in the studio, and we shall do as we please, right? 

This time I decided to play with making marks. I usually use brushes, but paint can be applied with all kinds of interesting tools. I was recently inspired to use palette knives and I've been playing with them ever since.

In this painting I used:

  • edge of the palette knife to establish the overall patterns in the under-painting
  • curved strokes smeared with a large palette knife to create the mountains
  • broken strokes with a smaller palette knife to create patterns of rocks and trees
  • fan brushed scumble to add texture to the rocks
  • large flat brush for the foreground snow and the flaming sky
  • edge of a small flat brush to add sunlit details in trees and rocks

    Each tool makes different marks, which are most interesting when they are left fresh and distinct. The bigger variety of marks, the painting is more interesting to look at. 

    Here is a beginning of another painting. where I experimented with mark making. This is really fun! 

    In case you are wondering about the theme of these paintings, I am on a roll with painting scenes from the Whistler area for the Crystal Lodge Art Gallery.  I will spend an afternoon painting in this beautiful space in the heart of the Whistler Village. Please come visit if you can. I will bring a bunch of brand new paintings with me. I wrote more bout that in my monthly newsletter, and I will make sure to post pics on social media.

    Whistler Mountain, acrylic sketch by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

    I never remember my New Year's resolutions, but I'll try to remember this one:

    Increase the joy of painting by using a variety of mark-making tools. 

    After all, isn't our job as artists to make a mark?

    Happy New Year my artsy friends!