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Mark making with paint

This simple activity uses eggs, or other round objects, and paint for mark making. It can be an activity in itself – an opportunity to play with colour, and produce satisfying, surprising artworks. It can also be used as the starting point for a longer creative process.

Many artists use experimental mark making as their source material: using various methods to generate lines and shapes or collecting accidental marks, and then developing them into artworks by, for example, working on top of them, tracing or copying them, manipulating them, or collaging them together. Below are examples of paintings by artists who incorporate mark making in their process in this way – click the artwork image to find out more.

Materials

Each student or group of students will need:

  • round or elliptical objects that you don't mind getting messy. For example: hard-boiled eggs, plastic balls, foil-wrapped chocolate eggs, marbles, small pebbles
  • paper
  • a cardboard box, such as a cereal packet, but the bigger the box, the better
  • paint or ink
  • masking tape

Method

The first thing to do is to create a cardboard box that is open on one of the largest sides. For example, you could remove the top flaps from a delivery box, or cut the front side off a cereal box. You may need to tape the sides of the box to strengthen it. Once you've done this, tape a sheet of paper inside of the box.

Now it's time to get messy! Drop a little paint onto the paper and then drop in two or three of your eggs (or alternative round objects). Have fun tilting, shaking and rolling them around in the box to create different multi-coloured lines and marks.

The pupils are wowed by their creation

Use larger boxes for collaborative artworks

Once you're happy with your painting, take off the tape, take the objects out of the box and leave them somewhere to dry. Repeat the process as many times as you like and try to create something a little different each time.


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