Creative Warm-Up: Two Handed Speed Drawings with Music

Expressive Flower Painting shows us how painting with a burst of musical energy can get our creativity moving!  Try this creative warm-up using two handed speed drawings with music.

Flower 1, Expressive Flower PaintingThirty-second drawing

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

Two-handed speed drawing is about freely making marks with energy! Pure instinct. This is “in the moment,” “get out of the way,” “make yourself laugh” stuff. You will be using a timer for fifteen-, thirty-, and sixty-second drawings while looking at flowers. Use both hands and grab the essence of the flower form and put it on paper as fast as you can. Faster! Keep your eyes on the flowers, don’t look down at your paper. How much fun can you have as you translate blooms with a speed response? Total fun and it’s a great way to loosen up. You will use this method later in your layer by layer bold bloom paintings to keep your line and mark lyrical and alive!

Flower arrangements (fresh, silk, or photo reference) with a light source
Mixed media paper or sketchbook, 11 x 14 inches (28 x 36 cm) or larger
Timer (you could use the timer on your smart phone)
Soft pastels in assorted colors
Markers in assorted colors
Music that makes you happy, giggly even!

Flower 2, Expressive Flower PaintingFifteen-second drawing

How it Works
1.Set up your space with several sheets of paper and a few small flower arrangements with a light source. If you are using photos of flowers, choose a few that have a light side and a dark side. Have your timer, music, pastels, and markers ready to go.

2. Set your timer for fifteen seconds, take a pastel in each hand, and, as fast as you can, put down one flower. Super fast! Stop at fifteen seconds and reset the timer and do it again. Repeat the process at least four to six times, and put two or three drawings on a page. This process will probably make you laugh and feel a little out of control, which is perfect. Draw like a child! Have fun! Be loose and free!

Flower 3, Expressive Flower PaintingThirty-second drawing: vase drawn with two hands, showing light and shadow sides.

3. Set your timer for thirty seconds, take a pastel in each hand, and go! You might be surprised how long thirty seconds will feel. Focus on one flower at a time and add details such as a stem, a leaf, or more color. Keep going. Reset the timer for thirty seconds per flower, making four to six or more. Move to the music and make a mess; no one is looking, so fully engage and enjoy!

Flower 4, Expressive Flower PaintingThirty-second drawing

4. Set your timer for sixty seconds. Take a pastel in each hand, look at your blooms, and put them down on paper with energized marks and a lyrical line. A full minute will feel like a crazy, luxurious amount of time after the shorter drawings. Make scribbles, scratches, and smudges. Make yourself laugh knowing that any way you do this exercise is 100 percent perfect. Approach your flower drawings with the curiosity of a child. YES!

Flower 5, Expressive Flower PaintingSixty-second drawing

5. Next, you will start with a fresh piece of paper and draw one playful, slightly larger version of your vase. Place your drawing near the bottom of the page, either slightly to the left or right, not perfectly centered. Set your timer for thirty seconds, and quickly put down a confident version of your vase. Think of one side being the light side and one being in shadow, letting that show in your color choices. Play!

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Expressive Flower PaintingFlowers are one of the most common and beloved subjects for artists. And for new artists, it’s almost always one of the first things someone tries to paint–center, petals, stem, voila! The painting exercises and the process shown in this book have a loose, free, contemporary style–one that is very popular with painters and is widely seen in galleries, in shops, and even on clothing and home design goods. It’s not intimidating, and yet the paintings are colorful, immediate, and joyful and speak to the artist’s desire to play, be loose, and to create freely.

Lynn Whipple paints wildly and in small to large formats with a combination of acrylic paint, charcoal, and colorful soft pastel. She uses fresh, abundant flower arrangements as her muse. Expressive Flower Painting presents a range of creative painting exercises that help readers develop vibrant nature paintings. This exciting book is an in-depth expansion of Lynn’s class called Big Bold Bloom Wild Painting, with additional content. The book will cover mark making, layering techniques, how to do “spin drawings,” color methods, painted backgrounds, working from life, and how to successfully combine a wide variety of media for the maximum effect.