First make sure your canvas is ready and prepared to receive the brush. Depending on what medium you plan to create with, this preparation may take more time on some surfaces than others.
We need a composition, and that composition must have rhythm, harmony and balance. Also we will decide the mood of this composition. Will it be cold and harsh, or hot and temperate, maybe even clammy? Or will it be lighthearted and fun? Maybe heavy and painful, whatever mood you like to play in at this time. This is part of deciding what message we want to convey for our audience. For this example lets say we are painting with oil as a medium, or something similar that flows easily.
After we have an idea of the composition in our mind, we then begin to make sure that the canvas is wet and slippery so the pigment will blend well and there are no obvious signs of interruption from one stage to the other.
We now need to cover the background with a color, and that will be done with a wash of some sort. Licking the whole canvas with whatever you may use to apply the wash. Some parts of the canvas may need a more thorough washing than others. This is the beginning of the attention to detail. It is important to have some idea in your minds eye where you are going at all times.. so you can prepare for the next layer of color seamlessly. This will help you predict what brush you need as well as what technique your piece will command.
Often this will call for using something other than just the tip of the brush, I.E. the ferrule or the shaft or maybe even the butt of the brush. You may even find that other tools are helpful as well. And as you can imagine the mood of the composition as well as the willingness of the canvas to receive the pigment, will determine the power of which the stokes are made. This process will be repeated many times over as we go through the color ranges, and the different subjects in our composition. Remember to take time and pay close attention to all the details. Your goal is to make your audience feel the most that they can feel. Your duty as an artist is to bring out emotion. After a while and through what hopefully is a fun precess, your composition should begin to resemble what you had in mind ...or at least close to it. It is now time to add the highlights. The highlights are the part of the work that make it come to life. Often highlights (the whites) should be painted with absolutely no restraint or restriction. Keep stroking until the highlights have all been exhausted. After the climax of the whole composition... assuming that you felt good about your project... you may feel exhausted. But soon you will be inspired to paint the canvas over or maybe go on to the next canvas depending on what kind of showing you are having.
Thanks for reading...