By the time I pull myself out of bed or away from my day job and into my studio, I just want to get painting. Big P Painting. Warm ups somehow fall into small p painting. I considered them something you just have to get through to get to the bigger, more important work. Because of this mindset, I often have just skipped them. Sound familiar?
Then I watched Robert Burridge’s Loosen Up with Acrylics! and Burridge has me totally rethinking that mindset. His DVD workshop focuses on warm ups that you can do (and he does them every single day) to loosen up. Burridge works through a series of small paintings (three in each set). He approaches these pieces with fun and abandon but is also making sure that while he’s having fun, he’s using an approach that will render him the strongest paintings.
What I realize watching Burridge’s approach is that warm ups serve another purpose. No one expects a masterpiece during warm up. They become a space where you can work on cementing important concepts in a no-pressure zone. In Burridge’s workshop, he shows you how to focus on value patterns and basic color theory. He shows you how to take that really important concept and use it across a sphere, a pear and a bouquet, and by doing so, make it a permanent fixture in how you see your subjects.
Do you use warm ups as part of your process? Why or why not? Tell us below!
Kelly Anne Powers is an artist living in Portland, OR. She can be found working on big P and little p art at her blog.