Saturday warm up washes
When the weekend arrives I like to try to add something new to my usual painting routine. As everyone knows I always paint three warm up washes daily before I start painting more seriously. This gets me into my quiet, peaceful, painting zone where only I exist on my wonderful, calm planet. Helped greatly by the exercises in my latest book " Paint Yourself Calm"..
Now I wake and paint first. Everything else in my life can wait until I have spent one hour putting colour on paper. Just one hour. Or even thirty minutes if I have no more time on the weekend to spare.
Today I decided to paint three loose washes of subjects I could see from my studio window. Golden Gallardia flowers are dancing outside the window. Moving in the strong breeze so they were ideal. Next I looked in the opposite direction and saw a white lupin. I haven't painted a lupin this year so this plant intrigued me and was perfect for my second choice. Which left me with one more decision. I decided on the ripe berries of a plant behind the lupin.
Below you can see my three first washes on my easel. These washes are intended to give hints of the subjects minus any full detail. Creating theses can train my eye for observation and improve my skill for choosing colour combinations. I can also look at the value of a good composition in each warm up painting.
Warm up washes of golden flowers, berries and a white lupin.
First stages of a painting, times three.
Next I added detail to each wash to bring the chosen subjects to life, making them slightly more recognisable.
Detail added by adding brush strokes that tell more of the story in each piece.
Next, I choose which wash appeals to me most and surprisingly today it is the white lupin. The subject I least wanted to paint. As it is Autumn, I really thought I would get into painting the golden flowers or berries more, but this white flower was more of a fascinating challenge. I loved the light in the painting I created , seen below. And I like the composition too. Which is very simple.
Lupin with more detail added to the first wash, gradually bringing the flower to life.
Below you can see the dry result of my lupin painting so far. It needs very little to complete it and I now feel like starting a new painting of the same subject using the same colour option.
Lupin in watercolour
No time experimenting or working with warm up washes is ever wasted, You learn with each colour placement and each brushstroke. Today I had a ball. And now I have a choice of new ideas of ways to paint what I see from my studio window!
Optional Artists Challenge.
1) Take three things that you can see. Don't choose all easy things to paint!
2) Paint these three subjects in a loose first wash telling some of the story of what you are seeing.
3) Add a little detail to each first wash then leave.
4) Take your favourite painting and finish it but don't add to much detail or you will lose the spontaneity of your first wash "energy".