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Session Seven

Let's Start With Repetition

In this lesson, create your painting with varied incarnations of one shape

A woman creates repetitive shapes on a piece of paper.

What you'll need

A drawing/painting surface of your choice: If you are just starting out, I recommend 90-pound white drawing paper. For those on a budget, butcher paper or heavy craft paper serves as a good substitute.

Drawing tools of your choosing: Workshop participants most often use black acrylic paint and a 1-inch bristle brush, but any drawing tools (crayon, charcoal, pencil, pen, ink and so on) will do. (Some workshop participants make completely satisfying art with computer drawing tools. The choice is yours.)

What you'll do

  • Select a very simple motif to work with. Shape possibilities include the oval, circle, triangle, rectangle and so on. Or you might prefer to work with numerals such as 2, 3, 4, 5, 6/9, 7 and 8, and letters such as b/q/p, c, h, k, s.
  • Grab a drawing tool and introduce several instances of your motif onto the drawing surface. Pause for a moment and take in the whole drawing space. Sense what each shape or symbol is doing and how each feels in relationship to the others.
  • As soon as you have an urge to do something else to the drawing, do so without thinking, worrying, planning or second-guessing. Think of this as a stream of consciousness activity; there is no correct or incorrect approach. Continue for as long as you'd like.
  • At any time, you have the option to undo or cover up part of what you've done. If you're working with pencil or charcoal, an eraser will enable you to do this, or you can cover things by scribbling over them. If you're using paint, you can paint over any area you like.
  • If you happen to overlap shapes or have one run off the edge of the paper, you may notice the appearance of new shapes that are different from the motif. Think of this as a bonus. Embrace it. And if that new shape occurs more than once, it may become a "secondary motif" that makes the drawing even richer.
  • Keep developing the drawing until you like how it feels. Then stop — the drawing is finished!  Don't forget to post it in our online community art gallery. As always, for every drawing you post, please post a response to someone else's.


Note: We have just a few Expressive Drawing books left for the first few artists to post in the community who haven't already gotten the book.

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