What makes letting go of accuracy so difficult for so many of us? It often seems to be about needing a measure we can use to see if our paintings are any good. We know how to compare a painting to the photo or scene before us; it either looks the same or it doesn't. Take away the means of comparison, though, and we are lost.
Here is an exercise that invites you to take a break from "getting it right". In fact, let's say we're not painting at all. Instead, we're following a set of guidelines, making marks according to a narrative of form.
For example, select a red, a yellow and a blue. Then wet your paper thoroughly. Using one of your chosen primaries, make a pale, simple shape, or two.
Now, stand back and ask if the page in progress feels well balanced. If not, add another shape. Follow this same compositional development for all three primaries.
Where your shapes overlap you'll find secondary colors. You may also notice that the overlapping shapes are darker than the first layer. Stand back again. Decide which of your shapes you'll choose to leave as they are and which you'll change. What happens when you let the secondary shapes overlap or mingle?
Do you have any white paper left? Leave it alone, for now.
Soon your paper will begin to dry. When hard edges start to appear, remember that you can still make soft edges, if you prefer. Let the paper dry thoroughly, and then rewet it wherever you want soft edges.
Mix all three primaries to make a profound dark. Work with care not to make too many dark strokes. Stop and stand back after each dark. Ask yourself "Is that enough?"
Now that the paper is dry you may want to glaze portions to combine shapes that need something in common. If you saved some white areas, now is the time to get out the big brush.
Were you able to make any decisions about what worked and what didn't?