Attempting Looseness (Part 3)

Why am I painting this? As a continued effort (Part 3) to learn how to relax and paint more “loosely”.  The effort will result in not only my further enjoyment in what I’m painting, but to the viewer as well.

8x10, acrylic on canvas panel "Opposites Attract"

Here, I took a challenge to paint with larger brushes in an effort to broaden my strokes and do away with edges further.  So, I took a single 1 inch, square brush, a palate knife and an 8 x 10″ canvas panel and had some fun.  I set up a simple still life and had some fun making a message of it with the orange wrapping an “arm” around the apple (the differences are the spice of life).  I blocked in the main objects colors first and decided the range of values that seemed right for each (including the background). Then simply applied paint in large brush strokes as in previous attempts.

The apple: here’s a great video to show a process of laying down paint first and then working through to the finish. It’s more detailed, but has great info!

What resulted from this big brush challenge is that the brush size doesn’t matter (at least for me) as much as the ability to see the goal.  I’m still looking for the finished style as I know it.  Somehow, I just learned to use every edge and angle of a 1″ brush to get the same result! Ha. Oh well.

In going back through Alla Prima: Everything I Know about Painting, I can see some different techniques to try.  There will be a Part 4!!  In Part 4, I’m going to create a messy background and possibly foreground with undefined objects with the main focus being on the subject.  See his floral still life paintings for example. Possibly in a plein air landscape?  Who knows.  Just got a portable  easel, so time to test it out!!

Update (4/24/12): Hmm, I guess there’s not a Part 4. I blame on the new portable easel.  I’ve been spending so much time painting outdoors, I’ve forgotten about this series.  I’ll include things I’ve tried to help loosen up in the next posts (after 4/27/12).  I have learned that the point isn’t so much loosening up, but getting the initial concept of a painting before I start.  More on that later. I recommend buying Paul Strisik’s book Capturing Light in Oils.  He explains it in a way I’ll never be able to that seems to make clarity in this muddy subject.  Seriously, it’s worth every penny.


2 thoughts on “Attempting Looseness (Part 3)”

  1. OH MY GOD… I feel in love with his work like 3 months ago.I love this guy (Jos Vas Riswick) i just can’t get enough of him. I keep going back for study. Im so glad your posting Stephen. I will be attempting looseness in the next challenge. I seem to be like you.It’s like it’s so simply to paint tight and just get it to look realistic but… it’s another level to get loose. Ok.. will be checking in to see part 4. Marta

    1. It’s nuts. I could have used a full sized broom and I’m pretty sure I’d still have a tight painting. One thing I noticed about Richard’s Workshop 7 painting is the background looks just like how Richard Schmid does his still life in the Alla Prima book. He smears the brush across for a good dynamic color background and then adds in the subject, often appearing like they emerge out of the dark. Very effective. I think it’ll force a looseness by being loose at step one. That’s the theory anyway. We’ll see! Can’t wait to see what you find out!

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