the embodied mark: movement for visual artists

Below is a description of a workshop I taught this week with Tracy Taylor Grubbs, a painter with whom I’ve had an ongoing improvisational practice for over a year.  We taught undergraduate painting students of Professor Liam Everett at the San Francisco Art Institute. The workshop was facilitated and made possible through ODC’s Dance Odyssey program.

Brief Description
This workshop will explore how mark-making and movement can be intuitive responses to the physical environment (both internal and external).  Students will explore mark-making as a physical practice and, conversely, movement as mark-making.  We will work with the tools of drawing, touch, movement, influence, and observation. We will practice improvisational duet scores where we act as unpredictable environments for each other.  We will travel back and forth between form and feeling and between intuitive and intentional composition.  We will travel between open eyes and closed eyes.

Core Questions
How can artmaking be a training in responsiveness?
How do we stay in the open, rested, quiet mind without pulling form out of the rational mind?
How does bodily sensation translate into the mark on the page? 
How can mark-making render the internal landscape of the body visible?
How does physical environment impact markmaking?

Arriving in the space (Sitting or Laying Down, Eyes closed)
Tuning breath, somatic awareness, connection with sensation, getting comfortable with movement.

 Group practice: Space and Seeing
Standing, Place yourself in the space
See the whole space and place yourself in it
Relate to the space through your placement in it, through your movement in it
How are you seeing? Direct looking, peripheral, soft focus, eyes closed, looking in between things
What if your movement comes from the way you see?
As a group, Compose the space

Markmaking from Blind Touch: Face
Touching your face, draw with your dominant hand
Same thing, draw with your nondominant hand 

Awakening Sensation: Touch with Partner
Light touch duets
Light touch as the basis for movement
One partner (eyes closed) gives light touch (brushing long strokes with fingertips to the skin)
the other partner moves in response to the touch.
Switch roles.
Same thing, eyes open.
Same thing, solo (imagining the touch)

Markmaking in Response to Touch  (Paper available on floor and the wall)
In duets
Partner offers sensation to nondominant hand, markmaker draws with dominant hand (Switch
Partner offers sensation to dominant hand, markmaker draws with nondominant hand (Switch roles)
Develop, offering touch to other surfaces of the body
Play with ways of seeing (eyes closed, etc)
Play with moving across the space, markmaking with the foot instead of the hands

Open Field, Composed Field
Moving and drawing in duet, shifting back and forth, picking up influence, free exchange of touch and markmaking
As a group, compose the space