I am continually challenging myself to leave
my mark on the world in a colorful and
meaningful way.
— Rae Missigman

A R T  M A R K S  /  A  L O V E  A F F A I R


It has been life long, this love affair with the tiniest of details. I have hovered over and around things my entire life, twisting and turning them until they felt right. It never mattered that it didn't need twisting, it only mattered that it made my heart happy. It was a simple relationship between myself and those small facets in my life. They were open to the revolution that made me happy and I in turn gave them companionship in the form of others like them, grouping tiny elements together in odd numbers. 

Somewhere along the way I found comfort in the ritual of creating these same details in art. I discovered beauty in the way small marks could change the entire landscape of an artistic piece. And then there was this calming satisfaction in the repetitiveness of it all. The entire  process took me from a place of uncertainty and chaos to one of clarity and calm. 

The marks that I place in my work have always lived inside of me. How they have chosen to manifest themselves to me, and to the world, along the way has been a slow but productive evolution, allowing me to grow both as a person and as an artist. Art marks are a pivotal part of my story as they define and buoy me as an artist and as an individual. 

A R T  M A R K S  /  A  S E R I E S  O F  C H A L L E N G E S

it was like visual storytelling //

To me, artwork shares its biggest secrets in the details. To look at the whole is wonderful and amazing and even overwhelming in its tale, but a small corner can speak volumes on its own.

When I first began to share my art marks with the world it was just a mark or two at a time. A tiny snippet of a larger image. A peek at what was the whole. I was sharing the secret, the one mark or word that was responsible for weaving the tale within my artwork. Even for myself, it was interesting to see it from another perspective. It was as if I had rolled the artwork up and was peeking through it like a kaleidoscope, all swirling colors and imagery.

I began working small one day, each page just mere inches in size. Leafing through the journal one day I realized that the marks on the pages were telling a story all on their own. A few marks led to more color which led to bigger marks. And there were words too. One or two would spring from the imagery and be bold enough to carry the weight of an entire volume. 

I was asked questions about my marks, and about the words that bound them to the page. With the answer came an idea for sharing the power of mark making. A challenge to encourage ourselves to get out of our boxes and experiment with ideas and concepts that are less than familiar to us as artists. And so a challenge was born. 

SIMPLE WORDS TO inspire US to create //

The challenge was simple. With no rules and a wide berth for exploring, I encouraged others to take a single word and let it be the inspiration for mark making. Free to interpret the term any way, each person would be able to cast their creative net in a direction that was most comfortable to him or her.  

Creating alongside of others is a powerful tool for uplifting and encouraging ourselves and others. I shared my vision in an online community where thousands of others around the globe could experience the joy of exploring something new together. 


As the challenges grew so did I. I learned that there was more to being an artist than just making art. I learned that I had to be a whole person–healthy and happy–before I could share what meant so much to me as a mark-maker. I learned that I had to be in charge of what I was doing, how I was feeling, and what I was creating. And I knew there was this huge community of like minded artists all over the world. All I had to do was reach them.


These month long challenges were hosted live on Instagram, but you can still stretch your creative muscles using the same simple word prompts that I provided with each new Art Marks™ challenge. Each list provides 30 words to get you started. I encourage you to share your new found love of mark making with me on Instagram. Tag me @RAEMISSIGMAN and use the hashtag #artmarks30daychallenge.

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