How to loosen up your painting style

20 Tips to loosen up your painting style
20 Tips to loosen up your painting style

Spray paint station

Sometimes pushing the boundaries of what you’re used to painting can feel like writing with your left hand. Awkward, not fun, and definitely not pretty. But learning new techniques, taking risks and making mistakes are a great way to advance your style!

This weekend I had a fabulous time teaching some very creative women my favorite mixed media techniques. Several of them were very experienced artists, and wanted to work on loosening up their style.

We went through several exercises to play with spray paint, free flow painting, dripping, un-painting, and techniques that might not always be comfortable, but are great to try out when you’re in the mood to play.

Here are a few ideas for relaxing your style and stretching your art to new heights. So grab a piece of nice thick watercolor paper, or a cheap canvas, and enjoy letting your painting have a life of it’s own today. If nothing else, this may be the next great background for your future stellar painting!

20 Tips to loosen up your painting style

  1. Stand up and stretch your body beforehand. Take big breaths to open yourself to freely paint. Listen to music that makes your hips move!
  2. Have drop clothes, apron, etc. so you feel FREE to make a mess
  3. Be OK with not knowing where this is going. Trust the process.
  4. Don’t plan to finish, just plan to play a bit
  5. Splatter – load your brush with wet paint and splatter your canvas
  6. Experiment with different viscosities of paint. Golden Acrylics has beautiful pourable paints in both “Fluid” and “High Flow” varieties that can go from brush to marker to airbrush and more.
  7. Spray & Drip – spray your paint with water and let the drips flow.
  8. Turn your canvas – work from different directions. This helps you see things from a new perspective and not get caught trying to perfect one area.
  9. Work on more than one painting at a time – Have several paintings set up in your area, so you can rotate from one to another. It’s important not to tunnel too far into one painting because you lose your perspective.
  10. Focus on form, not detail – What is the character of the object? Paint largely and just capture the form of the object at first. You can do the detail later.
  11. Use large brushes – You can work on detail at the end. Your painting is 95% form, and 5% detail.
  12. Hold your brush loosely, from the end of the handle.
  13. Go outside the lines
  14. Take Risks – Try something zany like adding big polka dots. Sometimes when you are stuck in your painting, you have to sacrifice an area that is good to make it great. Try new things.
  15. Listen to your intuition, not your head – See if you can paint the entire paintings by just listening to your intuition, one step at a time. From color choice, to what to work on.
  16. Paint larger than normal – Give yourself room to be free and play.
  17. Be playful – Get loose and giggly. Do a handstand first if you can, or just lay on the ground and let Mother Earth hold you. Look at the ceiling. Wiggle your toes. Better yet, lay in the grass.
  18. Zoom in/Zoom out – Don’t get caught up in one small area of your painting and get tight. Remember to step back and look at the whole. Alternate stepping back to look at the whole, with moving in closer to work on certain areas.
  19. Leave and come back – If you’re getting tight, go get a drink of water, call a friend, or even come back tomorrow.
  20. Remember you can perfect things later – this is just one layer for now

Contact me here if you’d like to schedule a workshop or a private art class with your friends.

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