How To Develop Loose Brushwork | Managing Colors

How to develop loose brushwork by managing colors

How To Develop Loose Brushwork | Managing Colors

This lesson will teach you one of the many techniques on how to develop loose artwork. The focus will be managing colors. Once you understand this fabulous technique it will become one of the many tricks that will help you create expressive & dynamic paintings.

What Does Managing Colors Mean?

The basic concept means to use color combined with layers to create expressive brushwork. So, if you have a desired color that you would like to include in your finished painting you want to avoid adding it until the last layer. Also, you can use the first layer(s) to enhance the desired finished color. Most artists start with what they want to end with and the painting becomes flat, or boring. Now that you have an idea of managing colors let's have a look at how to apply the technique.

What You Need To Know

To illustrate the point of managing colors I will include two examples of creating a simple still life. One example is 'getting there too soon', while example two is 'managing colors by being patient'. With both examples there are three target colors that need to be included in the final painting. One each for the subject, background & foreground. You will see the three swatches in the demo image(s).

Getting There Too Fast

  • Basically in this version the artist get's there too fast simply by applying the target color(s) on the first layer.
  • This will decrease the chances of creating loose art because it's nearly impossible to showcase any brushwork.
  • The best way to display expressive brushwork is to have the strokes applied over a contrasting, or complimentary color.

Not managing colors demo - getting there too soon

Managing Colors By Being Patient

In this example I start the beginning layers with more arbitrary colors that will contrast with the desired colors. Note that I went extreme with contrast and color selection because I really wanted to show how this technique works.

  • Understand I am working in layers so it's important to allow each layer to dry before going to the next one.
  • If you become impatient you will risk blending the layers which will further decrease your expressive opportunities.
  • Note how starting a painting is so important and really plays a key role in painting loose.
  • You can beef up the expressive layers by practicing 'managing colors'. This is an easy technique for anyone to apply and create a sense of looseness to your artwork.
  • Brushwork is just one tool for the expressive artist. There are many and I hope now you understand how to enhance your looseness by managing colors. Hope you enjoyed this series of lessons.

Loose brushwork demo image - managing colors & layers

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