During the month of March, I had a lot of fun experimenting with mark making in the studio, using cold wax and oils on paper. Although I usually use silicone tools which have a flat edge when I'm working in this medium, it's also fun to see what kind of marks you can make with brushes (even though they are harder to clean!). Freeform, automatic drawing and painting like this serves as a great warm up and start for the day, gets the blood flowing and can be quite effortless and fun. Some may call this "scribbling", but it's invigorating to just get started with arm movements, body movements, paint, and paper. Here are some starts using a brush on Arches Oil Paper - a favorite surface of mine!


Using thick and thin brushes, as well as various kinds of dry media (graphite, charcoal pencils, etc - even erasers!) - I've drawn or painted lots of marks on large sheets of paper (22x30in).


Once the cold wax/oil paint is dry (just a couple of days), I sometimes will work with the drawings by cutting them up and rearranging them - this can be a fun design exercise as well as creating a new underlying surface on which to continue painting.


I carefully choose which sections of the previous painting starts that I like, and cut them out. In this case, I cut out squares or other geometric shapes to contrast with the curvilinear marks. I looked for large, thick opaque black areas, as well as thin and drybrush textures to create the "new" recombinant drawing. After the pieces were marked and cut out, I placed them on a new sheet of Arches oil paper, marked where I wanted them, cut out the matching sized holes, and on the backside spread Elmer's glue with a silicone tool. I attached this new sheet to a cradled wooden panel (Baltic Birch). Each piece was carefully glued down into its appropriate place. Above right, I like to clean my oil brushes in citrus oil - and there's nothing like an upside down cat food can in a jar to to allow the bristles to come clean in relatively clear liquid; the sediment settles on the bottom.


Once the glue is dry, I can continue to work on this new "recombinant" surface! I find this a fun way to start a new painting and other times, this recombinant process can lead to a finished work without any additional painting!