Falling into a rut with your work may be because you are not bringing enough variety to your approach. Here are a couple of different ways and mind-sets to start paintings, keeping the process fresh:
10a. Toned Canvas:
Toning the canvas one color or another is a very common practice, and is an excellent way to handle difficult drawing problems quickly. Determine the color of the light value family. Tone the canvas with this color, leaned down, and wipe away until mostly dry. This may be blue or a blue-gray if a lot of the canvas is distant or in preparation for a nocturnal painting. On this toned canvas, block-in all the shadow family shapes according to the linear perspective established in the scene choice. Take the finish to your liking.
10b. Full Color Block-in:
Right out of the gate, you’re going to lay that paint down, and don’t lean the paint with thinner. Mix enough for coverage and slather it on. Embrace the opacity of oils. Work further to closer, and overshoot background shapes laid down initially, so that closer shapes will have natural and final overlapping strokes. This saves a lot of time in fixing these crucial areas later.
I love the opportunity to paint with this approach, which is best used in situations of many similar values and colors in a scene. Start by applying a lean, but not thinned, layer of paint on the canvas in the general color of the subject and surroundings. On this, make subtle adjustments to the color temperature, chroma and value in approximately the right areas. The idea is to achieve variety, broken color, and texture, in a paint application that is only partially planned. The brushwork is not calculated, and goes in directions that are uncommon and unpredictable. Go in with darker values to carve out the recesses, and lighter to accentuate high points, thus emerging the subject from the background. Once a commitment to the form has been established the only thing else necessary, is a few highlights, and you get sort of automatic lost and found edges, with unpredictable paint quality.