How to Loosen Up Your Painting
4.4 (150 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
1,303 students enrolled

How to Loosen Up Your Painting

Learn to Paint in a Loose Style with Oils or Acrylics
4.4 (150 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
1,303 students enrolled
Created by Malcolm Dewey
Last updated 3/2019
English [Auto]
Current price: $50.99 Original price: $84.99 Discount: 40% off
14 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
This course includes
  • 7.5 hours on-demand video
  • 4 articles
  • 7 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
Training 5 or more people?

Get your team access to 4,000+ top Udemy courses anytime, anywhere.

Try Udemy for Business
What you'll learn
  • Use brushwork skills to paint in a loose, impressionist style.
  • Assess a subject for suitable composition and potential for a strong painting.
  • Master color mixing.
  • Identify shapes, color and light effects with confidence.
  • Students need basic painting skills.

Tired of Tight and boring paintings? Paintings that do not express how you feel about the subject? Frustrated with doing the same thing over and over?

What is the secret to loose and impressionist style of painting?

You will learn all of this and more. But loose does not mean sloppy. If you want to learn the real secrets of painting? Read on...

The essentials of painting are required to fully take advantage of the loose painting style.
I have created this course to help artists that want to get an overall understanding of the link between painting fundamentals and the loose style. Although this is an advanced course you will still be able to enjoy the course with only the basic painting knowledge. 

This course shows full painting demonstrations of specific subjects. Each demonstration has a number of objectives. Your challenge is then to try out what you have learned before moving onto the next lesson. This way you will learn progressively and build your skills over time.

These are my paintings in the studio or outdoors. It is how I paint and how I produce the paintings for my art business. You are joining me in my daily painting practice.

In this course you will learn:

  1. How to see like an artist
  2. Simplification of shapes
  3. Understanding values by watching real painting demonstrations
  4. Understanding color in action
  5. How to prepare your painting
  6. Understanding edges by seeing how it is done
  7. Composition in practical terms 
  8. Perspective (linear and aerial) the quick and effective way!
  9. Effective brushwork
  10. How to finish in style

By the end of this course you will be able to fully appreciate the steps needed to paint loose and free from bad habits.

Yes I will add more demonstrations that support the lessons learned. Also new subjects that will be of interest to you.

Ready to begin!

Who this course is for:
  • Intermediate artists.
  • Artists looking to take the next step in their painting skills.
Course content
Expand all 57 lectures 07:22:49
+ What is the Loose Painting Style?
3 lectures 10:58

A brief look into what you can expect from this course. 

Preview 01:51
Course Roadmap and Objectives

Landscapes filled with light are highly sought after by collectors. Artists love to paint these landscapes for good reason. Why does the loose style make this objective easier to achieve? Here are some thoughts on this and a preview of what you will learn.

Preview 04:02
+ Brushwork: The Essential Skill
3 lectures 18:29

Please note resource to download with more brushwork tips.

Useful Brushwork Techniques

What does loose brushwork look like? There is not one way to use your brush. But loose brushwork does not look the same as flat layers of transparent pigment either. So let us begin by observing brushwork and figuring out what makes it loose. There is some degree of speed, vigor and placement of of the brush. Also ensuring that the stroke is not smoothed out. 

Preview 06:52
Practical Lesson
+ Choosing the Correct Brush
1 lecture 08:47
How to Choose the Correct Brush for the Job
+ Focus on Shapes and Balance
3 lectures 20:10
Introduction to Painting Demonstration

Now to begin the painting!

The Corner Painting Demonstration
Your Challenge
+ Simplification: Farm Meadow Painting
4 lectures 28:52

In this bright and sunny painting I am continuing to focus on simplification of a scene. There are more topics to look at too. There is the contrast between warm and cool color that plays a major part in this painting. Look out for that in your painting exercise.

Also keep an eye on aerial perspective from the foreground to the hill in the distance.

Another aspect is how to add interest within shapes. You want to avoid flat shapes as they may look a bit boring. So add smaller shapes within the large shape. Slight variations of brushwork, paint thickness and a few darks or lights to add interest. But not too many contrasting elements - we do not want distraction either. Plus keep the values more or less consistent. The hill for example, has interesting marks. But overall its value remains the same more or less - low saturated color and cool compared to the foreground saturated color.

Introduction to the Farm Meadow Painting Demonstration

Let us begin on the basic steps you will already be familiar with. I like to make sure that the start is consistent. This does set you up for a successful painting in most cases.

The Farm Meadow Part 1

In Part 2 I try to bring the painting together by:

- re-establishing dark shapes. 
- Checking edges are soft where necessary
- Adding highlights where necessary
- Adding a few fine brush marks for suggestion

Finally a completed painting. Overall I am happy with the result.
Now it is your turn to have a go. There is the reference to download or you can use your own.
Add your comments and final result in the discussion section.

The Farm Meadow Part 2
Your Challenge
+ Paint in Layers
4 lectures 31:47

Remember the movie Shrek? The part where Shrek explains to Donkey that ogres have layers. Like an onion!

Well impressionist paintings have layers too. That is what makes them rich and interesting to look at. In these lessons we look at using layers confidently.

Layers Add Richness to You Paintings

A painting demonstration where I build up layers of paint. Also note the complimetary colour relationships between yellows and blue/violets. The warm and cool colour temperatures shifts also play a major part in this painting.

The Causeway Painting Part 1

Now we carry on and Develop the Shapes

The Causeway Painting Part 2

Final layers to bring the painting together. The reference photo is attached if you would like to try out the painting. Alternatively use your own reference and experiment with layers. Try three layers in bright sunny areas and one or two thin layers in shaded, cool areas.

The Causeway Part 3
+ Simplify Your Drawing
5 lectures 22:08
Simplify Your Drawing Introduction

In this demo I use the "box method" to draw the shape of the boats. Often the curving lines of a boat can be tricky to get right. This drawing method can be used for any subject. 

Then I do into the blocking in stage with an eye on the following:
Get the darks and shadows in first;
Then the lightest light
Then get the first rough layout of paint covering the entire canvas.

River Boats Part 1

In this stage you want to define your shapes, establish your concept and prepare for the finish. But if you have a change of mind about something - then take a moment to work out the problem and fix it now.

River Boats Part 2

Adding the last touches does add a little magic. Judge for yourself if this painting turned out okay despite my changes mid-way.

River Boats Part 3

Your drawing challenge and article download: 4 Essential Tips for Loose Painting

Your Drawing Challenge
+ Painting Water
5 lectures 24:42

No more fear of painting water. You are going to learn an approach that you can confidently use painting any water surface.


This is a summary of a painting to give you an overview of how this painting was achieved. You will note the process is similar to the other paintings. We will then go into more detail in the next lessons about how this effect is achieved.

The Yachts and Water: Overview

Now let us analyse the painting in steps to give you a structure to follow with your painting.

The Yachts and Water Step by Step

What goes into getting that impressionist look to water? We take a look at Monet's approach in some of his famous paintings.

How to Paint Water Like Monet

An bonus video lesson similar to the others, but with a few more variations and information that may be of interest to you.

Bonus Lesson: Yachts and Water
+ Painting Seawater and Rocks
3 lectures 20:51

Inspired by a beautiful morning at the beach. Waves and sea action around rock pools are always a great subject. Especially when the light is right and colors are at their best. In this demonstration I am looking for movement in the water, a combination of warm and cool color and a sense of depth in the water.

Sea and Rocks Demo

In Part 2 I have to make a few changes to improve the composition. It is important to catch these things early so that you avoid having second thoughts when the painting is finished. Stand back, assess the painting. Let the painting rest overnight and re-asses the next day. Often changes are evident after a bit of time. Then make them quickly to get back on track.

Sea and Rocks Part 2

The final stage is all about the top layers on the water. Getting the illusion of movement and making sure that the painting reads well overall.

Sea and Rocks Part 3
+ Expressive Portraits
1 lecture 11:13

What about portraits or figures even? Here is an approach you can use for loose and expressive portraits. Try it out and don't worry if it looks strange to begin with. With some practice you can achieve exciting results.

Portraits can be intimidating when you are worried about getting the likeness correct. But it could be so much better with a loose expressive approach. Try this approach with your next portrait.

Portrait Sketch in Oils