Progress is gradual. If you compare your work today to your work from a month ago you probably won't see the much difference. But if you look at your work a year ago vs. now you'll see that you have more control over your tools, marks and washes. Progress is not measured in hours, but in months and years. The more you draw and paint, the better you will get.
I’ve never been a big fan of warming-up before exercising - and I certainly don’t want to warm-up before a painting. I just want to dive straight in with no preliminary drawing, lots of colour and I expect great results. No wonder I’m often disappointed.
With this in mind I set out to encourage my weekly classes to start with a warm-up exercise. I produced a plan (of course!) that changes the exercise on a monthly, if not weekly basis, so no one can complain of lack of variety - although they complain about everything else and often try distracting techniques to stop me suggesting an exercise!
1 Blind contour drawings
Using any object, draw a contour line without looking at your paper. Cover your pencil with a paper plate if you can't help but peek at what you're drawing.
The point of the exercise is observation. All too often we spend more time looking at the paper and not enough time looking at the actual subject we are trying to portray. Not looking at your paper when drawing can achieve some surprising results. Try it for yourself using the image below.
Learning to draw or paint effectively is sequential. If painting/drawing is learned sequentially, then concepts build upon one another and make more sense.
I have learnt that warming up before painting in watercolour is essential. It helps to feel familiar with the subject matter, fluidity of the paint and gain some control over this unpredictable medium whilst thinking about a plan for the painting.