making a mark …

Taking a break from the canvases this week and trying to develop my mark making skills. I decided to take the pressure off and experiment on smallish pieces of watercolour paper (approx A4in size), using a base texture of pasted tissue, with acrylics and inks, and using a few of the marks I’d been playing with, with the aim of achieving freedom with a degree of constraint (if that makes sense!).

Although experimental, hopefully the resulting works may yield a couple worth framing.

Below are a couple of the works in progress plus a few sheets of marks. The feathers are a bit too obvious for my work but look beautiful printed like this.


Untitled. Mixed media on watercolour paper. Mari French 2014.

Untitled. Mixed media on watercolour paper. Mari French 2014.

Untitled. Mixed media on watercolour paper. Mari French 2014.

Untitled. Mixed media on watercolour paper. Mari French 2014.

Mark making exercise. Mari French 2014

Mark making exercise. Mari French 2014


the earth bleeds …

Regular followers of this blog may remember my previous posts describing visits to the tin mining area of Penwith, near Lands End in Cornwall and the almost alien industrial archaeology there. If not, you can check them out here, here and here.

Below are the two most recent mixed media artworks I’ve produced on this theme. Again I’m exploring my response to the red iron oxide covered ground, the bright turquoise verdigris leaching from the copper adits where they emerge from the sea cliffs below the mines, the stark finger-like stacks pointing skywards.


Acrylic paint, tissue, acrylic ink and inktense blocks have all been used. The support was Daler watercolour board, which will take quite a lot of wet media if adequately taped down.

It’s an absolute joy to be an abstract artist and come across such rich source material…

I have to go back …


Venice sketchbook …

funny how a rough sketch or study can send you hurtling back to the precise moment of creation …

… sitting in the hot Venice sunshine on marble steps by a bridge, or a church, usually in the quieter, humbler ‘sestieres’ of Cannaregio or Castello.


I remember this while sketching … an old woman shaking a rug out of her window on the third floor stopped to smile and wave to me. In a city inundated with tourists (267 to every Venetian), I appreciated that friendly gesture.


I took ink-stained tissue paper and pva glue with me this time as part of my sketching kit. It seems to capture the intense colour and light of the city … a bit fiddly but lovely to sketch over, and in the heat it dried quickly.




The long narrow sketch pad you can see in some of the photos is the ‘Extreme’ watercolour pad produced by RE+new Gallery in Woodbridge, Suffolk. It’s very useful for panoramas (or tall buildings) and great for pen or pencil and wash; but I tend to work in a fairly wet style and I find the paper a bit thin for that, unfortunately. The other sketchbook is a good old small, square Seawhite sketchbook, which seems to take well to wet-in-wet, collating etc.

Okay, end of technical details …