When you plan your color and values carefully you can employ them to great effect with what I call weaving. Just like weaving a cloth, ¬the color and values are woven into the painting with intent creating a strong abstract composition. This is not the same thing as toning your canvas and allowing color to peak through the brush work in a haphazard way. Weaving uses the intelligence and creativity of the painter in service of an idea to introduce structure irrespective of subject. It is a powerful and effective design tool. This is why thumbnails and color comps created before the details and subject are overlaid onto the design are important. You cannot rely on motif and subject only to carry your painting. A good painting must have a good plan for all of the elements.
Below are some examples; I’ve varied the subject matter to show that any type of painting can incorporate the idea of weaving.
John Singer Sargent