A Plan for Painting Looser

As I plan for a painting, I often look at other’s works that I admire and see how they approach a particular subject. I’ll search on Pinterest or on Instagram and grab some ideas. For example, a couple of summers ago, I visited a local farm and they had numerous fields of sunflowers. I took lots of pictures because I wanted to paint them. To help me understand how to capture these gorgeous fields of color, I looked on Pinterest and pinned some painted landscapes I liked. I made notes on how the artist showed distance, how they overlapped the flowers, how they used color and composition and so on. I took three of them and made a folder so I could reference them as I was painting my own. I never copied their paintings but used certain aspects from each to help me become looser as I was painting. I still do this frequently because it helps grow my technical skills faster and is a great motivator to just get started.

Here are a couple of things I learned from the referenced artist’s paintings for this piece.

  • Add more yellow than what’s in the photo for the flowers. By exaggerating the color and size, it emphasizes the mood and spirit of the sunflowers.
  • You don’t have to paint every leaf exactly. Add dashes of leaf shapes in different greens and have the one in the foreground the brightest. 
  • Don’t show every stalk, and not the whole stalk from ground to flower head. 
  • For the far background, stay loose and only suggest the trees. To create the light behind the trees, I allowed a lot of the underpainting to show through and then gradually added more Sap Green as I painted towards the edges of the canvas.
  • Just use dashes of color for the ground. Do not over blend and let the strokes stay chunky like.

I hope this gives you more insight how I stay loose with my style and how I get motivated to paint. There are so many wonderful artist's with so many different styles and it's so great to learn and be inspired by them. Thanks for being here! If you would like to learn more, check out my YouTube channel and please subscribe.

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