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MONDAY MONTAGE: WARM-UPS. With any project we endeavor, we can benefit greatly from making an effort to get off to a good start. I’m finding that an appropriate kick-start seems to help me generate better work.

No matter what kind of painting project I’m starting, I like to paint a piece of fresh fruit first. Like a musician or an athlete, artists also do warm-up exercises.

Sketching and/or painting seasonal fruits offers me endless variations on a theme. Painting a single pear, for example, before I move over to my easel, is a great way to experiment with elements of design and color techniques. Later it can be recycled as a thank-you card—IF it turned out good! Otherwise I’ll turn it over and try another piece of fruit on the back!

This week it’s Southern Peaches. I can smell them sitting in the blue pottery bowl in front of me. Small rectangles of 140 lb. paper torn and ready. Paint box open, jam jar filled with water, and brushes in hand. Golden yellows and rosy pigments combine to create a peachy keen glow.

In the process of painting a peach or an apple, I usually get inspiration for my current project. Just by experimenting with a new color triad, or practicing contour drawing, my creative juices start flowing. The enthusiasm generated by this initial process seems to energize me for tackling the larger project at hand.

And once the mental wheels are turning, I’m able to concentrate on the more complicated elements of a larger painting. What helps you think and work more creatively? What resources do you draw on to get a fresh point of view . . . ? What kind of warm-up exercises help you get going . . . ?

Author: Bonnie Porter

Bonnie Porter is an artist who lived in Europe and now resides in Atlanta. A part-time art teacher who paints and creates with a love of color, line and composition, drawing on inspiration from everywhere.

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