Importance of an Art Warm-up

I was sitting at my table yesterday and I pulled out some scraps of paper from some work I’d done months earlier.  I was going to use them to experiment in techniques for my new series.  The thing is, the minute I ripped a piece I decided to glue it down.  And then I just kept going in quick succession.  Rip and glue.  Rip and glue.  Eventually I had a rough collage on the page.  I mixed some red, black and white acrylic into matte medium and applied a wash of color over it and called it done.  I have to tell you, it was exhilarating!  It was this wonderful escape from thinking so hard about the “right” way to approach the series I am starting.  It was freeing and fun.  I wasn’t worried about the outcome, the point was just to – DO IT.  It felt so good that I did another.  I took the leftover paint and slathered it over an empty tracing paper roll.  I rolled that over a third page.  It felt great.

Okay, so I’ve heard about doing a warm-up exercise before you start working.  I used to consider the postcards that I put together as my warm-up.  But I never really grasped the concept.  I’ve been having trouble getting started on my new series.  I’m frozen with too many ideas.  But I’ve found that art is like writing.  The hardest thing to do, sometimes, is start.  The warm-up got me moving.  It got me working where I hadn’t been for days.  I realize that I just have to do something to get started and once I’m started the work will flow.  I’ve posted the pieces below.  Yes, they aren’t amazing.  They don’t need to be, they were a means to a start.


Spring Has Sprung

It is a gorgeous spring day here in New England.  We are having unseasonably warm temperatures and everyone is enjoying this gift.  I thought I would look back and see if I had created any “spring-like” postcards in the past that I could repost today.  I found this one called Spring Jewel.   I have put the original description of how I created it below.  It includes glass bead medium, which caught the light when I took the photograph , and added a nice effect.  Enjoy and happy spring!

The colors of spring continue to influence my art this week.  I started this piece by pressing some green paint and gloss medium between some wax paper and then pressing it onto my card.  To this I added glass bead medium.  Once that had dried I went around the edges in black watercolor and added a red-orange accent to the middle.  I left the piece for a few hours and came back to complete it.  It needed more so I added yellow to the black around the edges trying to remove more of the remaining white.  That improved it, but as usual I still wasn’t satisfied.  The finishing touch was returning to the magenta that I used yesterday.  I took a nice and watery full brush of color and applied it to the center area.  It bled and ran just a bit and to me looked wonderful.  I added some more accents around the edges and declared it done.

Emerging Cosmos – Complete

I thought I would post one final picture of Emerging Cosmos now that it is completed.  I had not been able to get a picture of it with accurate color.  This past weekend I took it outside on the deck to photograph it.  It was a cloudy but bright day which I have heard is great for photographing art.  I did get the best picture of it outside.  Of course, it was a bit chilly!  It was before the warm spell that we had for the last few days.  Now it is time to get back to Winter Trees and this weeks postcard for the postcard challenge.  We will be visiting the Netherlands tomorrow.  Stop by and tune in to the on-going saga between Evie and Brian.

Emerging Cosmos Has Emerged

I spent a great deal of time on this piece today adding fine details to areas that seemed a bit amorphous.  I think that it is finally complete.  I will have to live with it a few days to be sure, but at this point I feel there will be little if anything to be done.  It feels good to have finished it.  It is 36″x40″ and is the largest piece I have ever undertaken.  Woohoo!

Emerging Cosmos…


I am continuing to fine tune this piece.  I thought a side by side comparison would be helpful to see the differences, but they are subtle at this size.  At this point I’m not making major changes but rather fine-tuning parts that need more detail or making slight corrections of one sort or another.  I’m getting close and hope to finish letting the cosmos emerge this week. 🙂

Winter Trees

I know I should be working on my canvas, and I plan to tomorrow.  Really!  However, today I worked on this piece that has been sitting on my easel for an awfully long time.  It started out as a work on aluminum foil that didn’t work.  Then I painted over it with black and called it Midnight Bloom.  Still, it didn’t seem right.  Eventually I applied white gesso over the surface.  Right around that time I also took pictures of the snow-covered trees outside my window.  I realized that the pictures rather resembled my piece.  So, after a full year (I told you it had been sitting for quite a while!) I sketched on trees in roughly the pattern that they appeared in my picture.  Then I put a wash of acrylic onto them.  It’s just a start but I am happy with the results already.  Now I have two pieces to work on which I think is better.  When one is drying I can move to the other.

Next Move – Emerging Cosmos

Okay, so I just had some fun!  I am trying to decide my next move on Emerging Cosmos, but I don’t want to mess it up at this point – I like it!  I felt as if the black that rises up from the bottom to between the two big planets needed to be more grounded.  So I opened the last photo I took of the canvas in Paint.  I got a shade of black that was reasonably close to the one in the photo and tried testing out what I wanted to do.  I like what I came up with and will try execution tomorrow.  Yes, I know the effect is rather rough in Paint, because I am no expert with it.  But it gave me confidence that I was headed in the right direction.  Tune in to see if my execution works.  I hope so!

At play in the studio

I worked on this post card a few days, though, admittedly it is very simple.  I really like the texture I achieved.  I had pressed the postcard onto another sheet that had glass bead medium so there was a light skim of that on the surface.  I squeezed some white and black gesso onto the surface and spread it at angles with my palette knife.  I let that layer dry.  I came back to it and added a bt of yellow acrylic.  I didn’t like the effect so I hit it with a bunch of water and removed most of it.  I let it sit for another day or so.  Then I decided to apply some tissue paper to the surface.  I grabbed the yellow and put down a strip, followed by the green.  Then I finished with the small piece of yellow that actually looks like it is showing through but is on top.  The tissue paper is so thin that it was easy to get it to adhere to the glass beads easily.  I just used matte medium and a brush to work it into the surface.  It’s a bit dark but I’m happy.  I guess it’s another way to avoid my canvas – Emerging Cosmos – since I don’t know what to do next.  Tomorrow I will just dive in again!

More Mapping the Cosmos of BWR

I was able to spend time on my large canvas today.  I created a second map over the orb in the upper right hand corner.  I love how these “planets” look and I kind of feel like this piece is about some sort of flux in the cosmos.  Anyway, I don’t have a lot of time to blog right now, but I wanted to put up the latest update.  Take care…

Mapping BWR


I have had a great day painting.  I do not consider myself a painter, per se, but I was today.  I decided to turn my orbs into round maps and I started with the lower one.  I have a calendar of antique maps and I took a round one as inspiration when I sketched out the shapes on my piece.  Since the map I was using was of the Artic (a rendering from the 1500’s) I guess you could say this is a statement about global warming!  I digress.  I have not done any detail work but I am thrilled with the was my map is progressing.  I will probably do the top orb before I get to the details.  I took a picture of the entire piece and then a detail so you can see my evolving map up close.  I have to stop for today but I can’t wait to continue tomorrow.