Idea number 4 is controlling your pixel size. You can grab that big brush and make your picture out of larger pixels! I could call them brushmarks or sense units, they are bricks you are using to construct your lay in. If you are laying in your canvas with a large brush it is possible to make only large generalized marks representing nature. If those marks are all .......say, the same size as a walnut, you would be working in walnut sized chunks.
If you were working like Willard Metcalf, that is in small rice-like strokes, you would have thousands of strokes on your over-the-sofa sized oil. If you are making a brushstroke the size of a walnut, that number might drop to a couple hundred or so. That sounds like a lot of pixels still, but it is a manageable amount of decisions over a fairly short period of time. Little tiny marks make for a slower lay in. It slows you way down when you have to corral ten thousand little marks instead of a few hundred.
This is plein air, the clock is running, and it is nice to make a painting in one shot if you can. When I lay in a canvas I try to make no marks smaller than a walnut. I make bigger marks than that, maybe, but not smaller. I would do this over a simple line drawing in very thin, transparent paint, roughing out the largest elements of the picture and having a rhythmic flow. I, personally, do not want to be arrhythmic. Once I looked at whole show of my paintings and realized "Oh NO! they are arrhythmic!" I have since tried to make sure my paintings had some rhythm or flow to them.. I see a lot of arrhythmic pictures out there. Looks "square".
Imagine these pixels or marks, as tiles, ordinary tile like you put on a wall. You mix those
up on your palette, out of paint, and then lay them onto that over-the-sofa sized oil. It would also be handy to mix up a pile or two of colors which recur frequently in that rank of two hundred walnut sized pixels.
If I lay tile onto my canvas in big pieces, often I am doing this in transparent or monotone. I like to keep lay ins thin, I often have to push a painting around a bit at first to get it to work. As I said last night, white is a problem if you plan on making any errors.
I should add that if you are painting five by sevens, this doesn't really apply to you. I guess I am speaking of working much larger, as I do as a matter of course.You can use a larger brush and apply the same technology, but my experience has been that that this works better on a larger canvas.
The beauty of this "big chunk" lay in is that it keeps your picture "big". You are painting "broadly". It is hard to get hung up in any detail when you are using a number 10 flat and making chunks the size of calling cards. Can you cover an over-the-sofa sized oil with only a hundred strokes? You could work in hamburger sized chunks! You might cover the whole canvas with forty of them. Forty good decisions and there is your painting, on the canvas, wanting only for refinement, with a smaller brush here and there.
When you have completed this big stroke version of the painting you can always drop detail onto the big lay in you have made. Or you could select some characteristic details and distribute them as accents on your painting. Usually it is good to subordinate the details to the larger shapes upon which they ride. I guess that's another post though.