My Painting Warm-Up: Expression & Eyes

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I've gotten into the habit of doing a warm-up before I start painting. It's a chance for me to get a little bit of extra practice in, decide what colours I want to use, and be a little bit playful before starting on the real piece.

One of my favourite warm-up subjects is eyes. They are the most expressive part of the face, and I think that when you can show emotion and expressive using just the eyes, that's a real skill. I always try to capture as much as I can in the eyes, whether it's what I'm feeling or what I want the viewer to feel. This idea is explained beautifully in Juan Antonio Bayona's 2016 film A Monster Calls (watch the clip below). 

In this piece I was really working to bring in some of the bright blues and yellow tones that I have been using recently. My use of colour is really inspired by a lot of the Impressionists. There's something about their work that I find so emotive, and recently I've been particularly drawn to some of Van Gogh's bolder pieces like A Wheat Field with Cypresses (1889), which I recently had the pleasure of seeing in the person at the National Gallery in London. 

 Van Gogh, A Wheat Field with Cypresses, 1889, National Gallery, public domain. 

Van Gogh, A Wheat Field with Cypresses, 1889, National Gallery, public domain. 

I also took this as a chance to try out my new Windsor & Newton 5ml tubes* from the Professional Water Colour range. If you would like to know more about these paints, you can read my review here. 


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Do you have something in particular you love to paint, or a warmup practice? Let me know in the comments!