Welcome to MissouriBendStudio!

This is an online journal of my artistic investigations and a way to communicate about my work, ideas, quandries and queries! I welcome comments and conversation and do hope you enjoy these musings. My artwork is available in my shop MissouriBendStudio on Etsy.com or on my website.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Inner Language: The Individual Mark

Hello again! I've been meaning to do a post about something that I hope will touch a chord...a glimmer of recognition, and that is...the power of the individual mark. That's a rather ambiguous term, I realize, but it's a way of talking about how each one of us, whether or not we consider ourselves artists, has a way of making marks that is unique. And that is a very powerful thing, it seems to me. I have spent years drawing, making my marks, and I've come to understand how impossible it is to deny that we have a personality that expresses itself in the marks we make.

I believe it still holds true that our fingerprints belong to us alone and I think we all agree that each person has a unique handwriting. So, if we are free from fear, from the inner critic, along with all the "shoulds" and "musts" that follow us through our day....and if we let go of thinking to let our hand wander, I believe that our inner language flows through the ink tracing its path across the page. 

I spend a few moments in this activity every day, in a kind of ritual that I call the daily drawing. I don't try, I don't think, I let my hand go and watch the dance unfold. Day after day I watch this process, as if looking over my own shoulder, and the same thoughts occur. The marks I make are absolutely consistent....across time, across media...my body expresses itself in an effortless dance
in this daily ritual.

Below are a couple of pieces I started a month or so ago...just as drawing on handmade paper with a layer of acrylic. These drawings will be heavily layered with alternating and intertwining paint and drawing that both reveals and conceals. It seems quite obvious that I can't quite get away from myself, as the marks on these upper drawings absolutely resonate with what comes through my hands in the daily drawings seen below. I've just posted a couple from the last few days, along with one that reveals bits and piece from the November pile....now ready for their long-awaited dip in the beeswax!

All this is not to tout these drawings in any way, but to express the notion that each one of us has the capacity to express ourselves in unique ways. Rather than follow all the latest trends out there that have you following the lead of others, why not experiment with a simple practice that allows you to find your own voice and your own mark. 

Try this. Take seven small sheets of paper and a favorite pen (or other mark-making tool). Find a quiet space and a quiet time each day...even 5 minutes is enough. Close the door and leave that inner critic outside. Without thinking, let your hand move the pen around the page, stopping when something inside says stop now. Tomorrow do the same thing...and again for the rest of the week. I have a sense that what you will find is that, if you have really let go and not tried to make a "Drawing", then you will begin to see yourself in a new way. You will find that the way you put pen to page will be gaining consistency and that you can discover and recognize yourself in the marks you make. These drawing don't have to be "good" in the eyes of anyone else....there is nothing better than you being you. It's a dance and you are free....don't think, just be in the moment. I think the discovery of your own creative self is a very powerful thing.

I'd love to hear from you if you want to share what you've found! Hope the rest of your week is full of hope and moments of inspiration! 


  1. Thanks for this reminder, Patti. I need to do this. I believe a person's marks are as easy to recognize as one's handwriting. But the marks need to be made, and often.

  2. Absolutely, Martha. If we think of it as our voice, we can make the marks as often as we like. Always enjoy seeing your marks! Cheers!

  3. such a wonderful practice
    i am sure it is interesting at times
    thank you for the idea, i will give it a try

    1. Hi there....hope you will find some surprise and delight in trying a daily practice. I think the secret is not to "edit" or make a "drawing" but step away from yourself and just watch what happens from a distance. Thanks for you comment! Cheers!


I'm happy to hear from you...comments and questions are welcome!