Creative Jumpstart: Again Work From Memory

22 x 30 Watercolor

I am a big believer in the creative use of memory in the artistic process and this exercise will again get you reaching into your brain and pulling out familiar images.  This is just the exercise for you, especially when you are searching for new ideas and directions and you’ve misplaced the key to the great idea drawer,

Get out a piece of paper that is good for drawing and holds color.  I am using 140lb arches paper rough surface, not the greatest drawing surface but it takes color well and it is all I have at the moment.  I sure can’t use lack of appropriate paper as my new excuse for not getting anything done.  Using a 6B graphite stick, I draw two figures in a close and pensive pose, over the drawing I draw a grid type pattern obscuring the figures slightly and attaching them to the background.  Once I have a drawing I like, I drop in some warm tones, hansa yellow, new gamboge, and cadmium orange.  I model warm colors where I think the light might be coming from and I try to stay away from too much detail.  It is important when working with figures that you don’t freeze up with the “I have to get it perfect syndrome”, figures are just shapes and should be treated with the same fresh and free approach you use for other types of shapes.

I work some nice cool tones, behind the faces, cobalt blue, sky blue, and alizarin crimson, this creates a nice feeling of push and pull on the faces.  I then redraw some of the line working on creating tension and stress.  After redrawing the lines I use some colors on the grids to push the figures back into the painting.  I spent about 30 minutes on this exercise and found it really fun.  I discovered several new ideas out of it so from my point of view it was extremely successful project.  Give it a go, the only thing you have to lose it some paper and a couple of convenient excuses about not being able to think of anything to paint.

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  • moira StevensonOctober 6, 2011 - 5:07 pm

    Another winner Steve! You’ve no idea how timely your exercises are for me, thank you so much. I’m already starting to loosen up. I am finding, too, that I am making much more interesting images if I don’t wear my glasses!

    I do have a problem understanding push & pull so this will help. 😉ReplyCancel