patining technique painting looser plumWhen talking to other artists and students I often hear that they want to paint looser but do not know the painting technique. I know the feeling; I started out painting realistically and strove to become more loose and impressionistic.

There is a trove of information one has to learn and grasp to round out your ability to paint more impressionisticly. However, if there isn’t an understanding of where to start then it makes it even more difficult.

A simple painting technique to start you on the path is to simply paint or should I say paint simply. Choose a simple object, I chose a plum, and force yourself to use as few brushstrokes as you can. Don’t be stingy with the strokes and think you have to do a painting in under 20 strokes, that is not the objective.

The objective is to provide a controlled exercise where you observe the object, mix the paint (hue, value, temp) and place that mix down one stroke at a time. Do not fiddling or have your brush ‘lick’ the canvas over and over; place the stroke down once. If the area is larger, reapply paint with deliberate strokes. Be conscious of your strokes, be conscious of painting.

Hopefully, while concentrating you can count your strokes to see just how many it took to complete the small study. Over time you will find that you will need less strokes and your art becomes more painterly and has a looser look.

It is easier to demonstrate the painting technique in the video below rather than write about it. I encourage you to not only watch the video but to practice the exercise as well. Additionally, you may want to watch more of my videos on my YouTube Channel.