I got this question from a student. It’s one I get in one form or another quite a lot. So I hope my answer inspires you to dare to paint badly:
“Thanks for the class today. I am struggling with my paint strokes. Not sure if it is because of my brushes or just me. Probably both. You said to paint the shapes and then keep moving. Am I supposed to blend the shapes or just work at putting them down? Thanks for your help!”
It’s definitely not you. And it certainly isn’t your brush. It’s always our ego that stops us. It’s normal and understandable. Instead of stopping you, direct your ego into giving you permission to be bold. Dare to paint badly. You have the choice. It’s just paint, colored mud. No one will get hurt if you lay it down where you choose to put it. Put it down and pick up the pieces later. If you don’t like the marks you make, no big deal. Keep putting more paint, each stroke closer to the way you want it. And if all else fails, just scrape it off and start again fresh. Or wait for it to dry and paint over it, layer upon layer of false starts, until something emerges that will do nicely. It will never be perfect so just keep putting the paint down until it becomes as close to what you intend it to be as you dare.
When you satisfy those six elements of the master stroke (reviews these in my book), you will know it. Build on these master strokes and you will be amazed how little blending you’ll actually need to do. It’s called precise abstraction. And when/if you choose to blend, do it surgically. Don’t undo what you know is correct with a broad stroke of the dreaded fan brush. Just a tickle here and there. Move always forward. Build an impasto. Construct forms. Create logical expressive passages. Never get into painting things, only forms. And don’t be afraid! Maybe the painting senses your fear, so you must not second guess your best instincts. Connect what you are doing to what you’ve already done. Be sure. Do you wanna Build a painting? If so, be bold about it. Fail. Fail again! Then figure out what you need to do differently. Then do that. It’s really just that simple.