By George Allen Durkee


Painting loosely is painting with confidence. The more you understand the process of painting - how to begin, what to do next and so on - the more confidently you can paint.

The essence of loose painting is in the way you render edges.  An edge is the boundary between one shape and another in your painting. If you begin your work with a line drawing, the lines will at some point disappear beneath subsequent layers of pigment. Nevertheless, a transition will remain where the line was. It may be abrupt (a hard edge) or gradual (a soft edge). Transitions, or edges, can also be ragged or even intentionally careless. Dare I say, loose? If you have difficulty painting loosely, it may be that you try to hold too firmly to your initial line drawing. You've probably heard it said that there are no outlines in nature. Drawing outlines is a convention we use in our attempt to contain  the shapes of things. Perfectly rigid containment of shapes, however, is the antithesis of loose painting. Rather than simply painting up to the boundaries of objects in order to keep from losing your drawing, paint the forms  of objects and let their boundaries occur organically.

Your beginning lines, if you use them at all, are simply guidelines for shape and placement. Don't fill in between outlines, coloring book style. Paint forms. The boundaries of forms will take care of themselves. That's the key to painting loosely.

George Allen Durkee

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