Friday, April 26, 2019

30-Minute Mark Making

30-Minute Mark-Making is an exercise I do when I'm not feeling particularly focused, or if I need a jumpstart in the studio. It's pretty simple, but not easy. Basically, you just paint/collage/draw for thirty minutes, in a continuous manner.
  1. Choose your format, i.e. size and material of substrate. In the videos I am working on three 19"x24" sheets of Bristol, which are pinned to the wall.
  2. Get out your materials. I'm using a paint, a bit of collage (and matte medium for adhesive), graphite, and Caran d'Ache NeoColor II crayons.
  3. Start the timer and get to work. Stop (optional) when the thirty minutes are up.
The point is to practice NOT hesitating, judging, trying to plan the next steps. So as soon as you DO hesitate (which is inevitable), catch yourself and make a mark. You'll see this in the second video, I do hesitate and then notice that and keep going.

The first video is the first round of the 30-minute exercise in time-lapse. The second video shows actual time and I chat a bit about what's going on in my head.

This is where the first 30-minutes ended up.

This is where the second video ends up. These are all still works in progress, but they are looser and more surprising, or at least different, than if I had not imposed the 30-Minute rule.

The hardest thing about this exercise is to remember that CONTINUOUS work for 30-minutes is the ONLY rule. You don't have to cover the page or the multiple substrates, you certainly don't have to finish anything; you don't have to make anything you like; you don't have to work fast.

I would love to hear of your experience if you try this. You can change the time frame if you like - twenty minutes, or an hour, or five minutes - as long as you stick to the continuous rule. Let me know how it goes!


  1. This looks very useful. I wonder if, while you're working on 3 pieces simultaneously, you begin to see them as a whole. If so, it seems like it would be tricky to have a good overall composition and also good compositions in each of the 3 pieces.

    1. Not thinking about it, and not worried about it. This process results in some "starts". It is nowhere NEAR time to start looking at major compositional issues.

  2. I could watch you paint all day!!! Beautiful so far can't wait to see the finished pieces!!

  3. Nice video, and thanks for pointing out you painted in primary colors. Not a color combo I'm comfortable working in.

  4. thanks for those two videos. inspirational -- I forget "uncommitted" is good too. learned to be free-er from you. :)

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