Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Day 18-- Warm Ups and Play

I've been experimenting with centering and warming up before embarking on whatever art project I've chosen for the day, and am wondering what other artists are finding useful.  Please share with us the kinds of things that put you in the mood and get you into the flow.

If I have plenty of time, I like to start my morning with centering and reflection.  It can be meditation (either with a prompt or just following the breath), inspirational reading, journaling, a few yoga stretches, or a combination.  Even if a person only has a short time to draw, it's nice to spend a couple of minutes disengaging from busy-ness, clearing the mind, and inviting the inner critic to go away for awhile.  For me, soothing music or looking into a candle can help.

Today's warm up and sketch:
Pepper from the Garden
Blind contour sketch
Line drawing and beginning of first wash

Charging color into the first wash
Adding the shadows to the sketch and notes to the page

I've been to a few workshops and demos lately, and all the artists have talked about warm ups, play, or setting the stage.  Here are a few of their ideas:

1) blind contour sketches:  take some simple, everyday object, and put it in front of you.  Take a couple of minutes to just look at it and notice its angles and shapes.  Decide on a starting point along the outside somewhere, take your pencil or pen and draw the object without looking at the paper.  Try and imagine that you are feeling the object as you sketch.  Draw interior spaces by moving the drawing tip into the space and back to the outside edge again without lifting the drawing tip and still without looking.  Continue until you have drawn all the way around the object.  You may decide to draw it again as a "real" sketch where you can look at the paper.  You can then decide whether it will remain as a line drawing or whether you'll give it shading or color.

2) splashing paint or ink:  take 3 pieces of paper or pages in your sketchbook and splash paint and/or ink on them.  You can experiment to see how the media flow together, how the colors blend, and what happens when you use more or less water.  You can fold the paper (or use a double spread of your sketchbook) to make a "rorschach" design.  Don't worry if you get something muddy or "ugly".  You might want to add pastel or colored pencil or to see what happens if you apply plastic wrap or splatter paint, ink, water, alcohol, or salt (probably not all on the same paper) on the still damp paint.  I like to write the date and the colors/materials that I used on the back of the paper.  These papers might become the background of a future collage or painting. 

3) cutting:  take a few minutes to just relax and cut out pictures from magazines, calendars, and advertisements for your picture file.  These might be for inspiration or might be something you'll use in a collage.

4) miniatures: on 4x6 paper, create a miniature exploring color, shape, and value.  Don't spend too much time on's just for play.  Later, you might develop it into something.