Above all, stay approximate. Begin with general statements. In the early stages of your paintings it is not necessary for the viewer to know what they're looking at. Put off the moment when you specify what the shapes represent. It comes later than you might think, and sometimes it never comes.
Here are a few photos that rely on the late stage work, that is, the darks and the hard edges, to give meaning to the earlier statements. Look them over, asking where and when the shapes get their definition. This may not be obvious at first. It could take some practice before you can see which passages pull things into place. Have faith! Or just take my word for it.
To push past the habit of defining the shapes prematurely, wet the paper completely first. That will assure that your early stage work is approximate. Even working wet into wet you can get your blocking in to be a little more distinct by staying out of the water bucket. Use thicker paint and a fairly dry brush. The wet paper is your water supply. As it dries, the marks you make will be increasingly distinct.
Many of the shapes in this Jersey City scene are surrounded by dark lines. That fence, for example, involves dark strokes that make even the most casual first stage specific. By the time you get to the darkest darks in the image you will essentially be making outlines. Don't overdo it.
The lightest lights can also provide definition, like those vertical lines sticking up through the roofs. Could they be black?
What role do the darks play in this image?
A version of this scene with only the darkest darks painted onto white paper would quickly provide an answer to that question.
Maestro Chamberlain was content to make a very rough version of a riverside scene. How do you feel about it? If this were your work, would you want to add a few hard edges or strong darks? Would they be welcome?
Have some fun with these