What’s in a Mark?

Mystele Kirkeeng


Shhh!!! I have a creative, little secret. I am enamored with the creative process!! Smitten. Bewitched. Transfixed. Painting after painting, I am mesmerized by the artistic excursions that begin with the simple, elemental building blocks we call “marks”. The simple act of making a mark, whether with line, color, or collage, helps shine a light on what captivates our hearts and minds, giving voice to our stories. I just can’t get enough!!

In three days together, we’ll discover how to flesh out our own “markology” (creative symbology), study and explore it with mixed media, and learn ways to refine our explorations into compelling, finished works of art that are pregnant with personal meaning. And the whole shebang will begin with one unassuming mark. Woohooo!!! I can’t wait to travel along with you into the magical world of mark making. My hope is that you will leave as enchanted with the creative process and the beautiful simplicity of making a mark as I am!

Supply List

Color Media (Please bring your favorite colors!)

  • Paint: I use mainly Golden heavy body acrylics. Other paint I love- Liquitex (soft body and Basics), Dina Wakley Media Paint, and I also have some favorite DecoArt Americana hobby paint colors. For faces, I’ll use Golden Titan Buff, Raw Sienna, Paynes Gray, and Titanium White.
  • Gesso: Liquitex Clear Gesso and/or a white gesso
  • Acrylic inks (any kind): I use Liquitex and Daler Rowney. I also love using India Ink via Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pens (either big or regular size with brush tip), especially for adding easy color, warmth and depth to images.
  • Pastels and Pencils: Caran D’ache Neo color II watersoluble wax pastels, Rembrandt soft chalk pastels, PrismaCOLOR Colored Pencils, Kimberly 9xxb graphite by General Pencil Co., Cretacolor Jumbo Charcoal

Collage Goodies (These are suggestions–bring what appeals to you!)

  • patterned paper, vintage ephemera (book pages, receipts, sewing pattern paper, sheet music, etc.), painted or gelli plate printed paper, pieces of your old paintings, fabric scraps, etc… I love using painted deli paper, the waste paper from my painting table, and recycled bits of paintings that didn’t work out.
  • scissors, gel medium (I prefer Liquitex gel medium) or a liquid adhesive of your choice, burnishing tool (old credit card, catalyst wedge, etc.). I use a brush to apply my gel medium, but a palette knife will also do.
  • iPad (if you have one) to access your Pinterest boards and other online inspiration, or some clear hard copies of art that inspires you. This will be especially helpful when we discuss how to build our markology.

Everything Else

  • Color Spreaders and Mark Makers: brushes* in a variety of sizes and fingers (preferably your own!) plus an assortment of palette knives, putty knives, brayer, old plastic cards, chopstick, stylus, bottle caps/lids, stencils, household items- anything that can help you manipulate color and make a mark!

*(My favorite brushes at the moment are Princeton Catalyst Rounds, Flats and Filberts, Princeton Select Angle Shaders (or Simply Simmons), and Dina Wakley Media Flats. I also think Deerfoot and Fan brushes are loads of fun. If you like working in small details, you’ll want to bring along a detail brush as well.)

  • Substrates: Art journal or loose mixed media quality paper for warm-ups and notes. Also bring three (3) 16 x 20 inch substrates for our focused explorations (your choice and combination of the following): 300 lb. (not 300 gsm = 140 lb.) watercolor paper, canvas wrapped panel, MDF or hardboard panels, or cradled wood panels. A really sturdy, thicker cardboard panel would be great, too. (If you’re flying in, remember that you have to get your art back home!)
  • Miscellany: paint palette (store bought hard palette or paper palette, or pieces of freezer paper stapled/taped to thick card, non stick craft sheet/ teflon sheet, etc…), heat tool or hair dryer, water container, spray bottle of water, baby wipes, rags, paper towel, painting clothes or apron, EZ Air Invisible Care Barrier Cream or latex gloves

**Please don’t feel you need to bring absolutely everything on this list as we always have very nice folks who are willing to share!