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.

  

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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!