I've been laying pretty low this week with a bad cold, and just poking my head into the studio to push paint around for an hour or two each day. Works In Progress are great for this: I can just do one or two things to a few pieces with no pressure to finish them, but just to move them along somewhere.
Yesterday I did a little Mark-Making exercise: on a stack of cut-offs from my paper cutter, which are all about 5"x8", I used limited tools to make lines and patterns, paying attention to creating variety and leaving some breathing room. Here are some of the results:
I think this kind of working-in-a-group, WITHOUT trying to make anything specific, often reveals some of our default marks, suggests new combinations, and generally greases the wheels for visual exploration. To me it is important that these "studies" have no pressure on them to BE anything other than the result of a process. If they went directly into the wood stove now, it would be fine; their purpose has been served. I've made them, and I've looked at them.