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Penelope Anstruther’s Mark Mapping: explore a photograph while making a trace monotype


Delve into the freedom of drawing blind and investigate the aspects that pull you towards an image



A glass of water, paper, acrylic paint, paintbrush, a photograph of something you are drawn to, and an implement that you can draw with but that will not make a mark i.e. the back of a paintbrush, your fingernail, a blunt pencil, a chopstick. Collage materials



How to make a trace monotype

  1. Water down your paint! This is an important step because acrylic paint by itself will be extremely sticky and also dries too fast.

  2. Apply a thin layer of paint (any color of your choice) to a piece of paper. You don’t need to go all the way to the edges. 

  3. Turn the paper over painted side down onto the second sheet of paper without applying pressure to the painted areas. 

  4. Begin your drawing on the back of the painted paper you just turned over


When Drawing

Use the photograph you have chosen and focus on what attracted you to it. Does it hold a specific memory? Is there something in the composition that is particularly striking to you? Draw the features that speak to anyone of your senses. You do not need to copy the photograph. The objective is to focus on your immediate reactions to the image. Do not be afraid of your marks overlapping. There’s nothing wrong with drawing the aspects that interest you over and over again. Don’t think too much, enjoy the freedom of exploring the qualities that you are curious about without worrying about making something “pretty” or “realistic”. 


After drawing for about a minute turn the paper over and reveal your drawing. Take in the marks that your hand has naturally made without the constrictions of you watching. Is it done? If it’s not, you can work back into the drawing repeating the same method (step #2) either using the same color or adding a new one. Maybe you want to take some marks away by painting them out or adding elements of collage but don’t be tempted to “tidy up” your spontaneous marks. Stop when it feels complete. Look at your drawing. It is a personal diagram that maps your aesthetic interests, and a reflection of free gesture unrestrained by traditional drawing.


About The Artist:

Born in 1992 Chichester, England. Currently lives in Oakland CA. Penelope Anstruther is a multi-disciplinary artist taking materials and visual cues derived directly from her immediate landscape. Pieces span the range of site-specific installation, printmaking, book arts, ceramics, and experimental video. No matter the medium, strong themes of duality, mental & physical landscape, and non-linear narratives run throughout the work. 

Penelope Anstruther has exhibited throughout the United States and internationally, most notably at the Tate Modern, London, and has had solo shows in Atlanta, Seattle, San Francisco, and Oakland. Recently she completed a month-long residency at Prairie Ronde in Vicksburg, MI where she created a large-scale, permanent, site-specific installation. She is looking forward to being Artist In Residence for two months at Mutual Stores in Oakland, once the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. Anstruther is deeply informed by her collaborative endeavors. In 2018 she formed Just Enough Collective, a ceramics based studio with fellow artist Betsy Kellas. She has also been continuously collaborating and exhibiting with her partner Drew Grasso of Modest Press and Sun Night Editions since 2017. 


Instagram: @kiteflyinginthedark

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