Should you loosen up your painting style?

It infuriates me when I hear of artists being told ‘you should loosen up your painting style’, like it’s the logical next step after learning to paint realistically. When it’s dished out in that way, I think it’s really bad advice.

But it’s different when that choice comes from within.

As I’ve shared in recent times, something internal has propelled me towards exploring looser approaches to creative expression, in addition to my true love that is realistic watercolour.

Granting myself the permission to work in more than one artistic style has been a boon during this busy period of my life, as it’s enabled me to become a more productive artist. And painting more regularly has most definitely helped my creative juices to flow with a stronger current.

I’m not going to “should” you into trying this too.

Even though it’s working well for me to include looser styles into my artistic practice, and I wholeheartedly encourage you to explore this for yourself if you’d like to, it has to be for the right reasons, and the decision needs to come from within you.

So I’ve made a video to help you give thought to this question and decide for yourself:

Should you loosen up your painting style?

Let’s look at the reasons for and against embarking on that journey:

Are you feeling fired up to give it a try?

Fantastic! I’d love to be part of your journey. If you’re not sure how to begin, I share 10 steps to help you on your way in this video.

Plus I think you’d really enjoy trying this line and wash freesia painting.

Maybe this has affirmed that realism is the style that feels most right to you.

I totally get that decision.

Realism was the only style I wanted to work in for over 15 years, so I’ve been where you are for a long time.

And wherever my brushstrokes take me, I’ll always keep coming back to realism. It’s my artistic ‘mother tongue’. And in my experience, nothing beats the soothing process or feeling of deep reward and satisfaction that comes from spending those special hours with a subject I’ve been studying and observing so closely.

Perhaps one day you’ll wake up and feel drawn to explore looser styles, perhaps you won’t. That’s entirely your prerogative as an artist and there’s no right or wrong answer.

Did this mini class help you?

I really hope this has given you food for thought and helped you to feel confident in your reasons for either trying something new or sticking to your preferred style. I’d love for us to have a conversation in the comments, so please make my day by sharing your thoughts.

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  1. Kelly on March 5, 2024 at 9:16 pm

    This was such a good bit about loosing up or not. I really liked how you went through it step by step. Lots of tips to check out and decide for yourself. Thanks so much.

    • Anna Mason on March 6, 2024 at 1:57 pm

      You’re welcome Kelly – I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Colette on March 7, 2024 at 12:37 am

    Thank you so much, very encouraging and realistic ????

  3. Oreen Almeida on March 9, 2024 at 7:02 pm

    Thank you Anna. Your comments and the pros and cons of each style was so helpful. I enjoy painting in detail and while I can appreciate a looser style, I struggle to adopt it.

  4. Helen W on March 27, 2024 at 10:35 pm

    Signed up for your Free pair course last year and finally got to sit down and do it… I’m ready for more!

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