Sculpting with Paint – Tiny Gouache Portraits


This week I did some solid painting practice.  I wanted to improve my ability to paint directly with no drawing and to render 3D shapes using the paint.  Since faces are such an odd and challenging shape I thought some portrait practice might be good.  I split up a piece of A4 watercolour paper (Hot Pressed) into 4 and taped each piece down…


Then I gave myself half an hour for each one.

I began by painting the mid tone and then the dark.  Then I added the light tone.  I made three tones for each colour and mixed and blended them on the paper.  I wanted a rougher look so I stuck to my restricted time which forced me to accept a lot of imperfections.  I tried to be very varied in my colour choices.

For the first sketch I used complemetary colours, orange and blue (my favourite combination)…


My second picture was more purple and yellow…


(I had the lady’s coat in purple too originally, but I found that it dissapeared into the background leaving me with a floating head(!) so I changed it to red.)  I find painting very smiley faces quite difficult but this lady looked so lovely and cheery that I couldn’t resist.

In my next picture I used analogous warm colours to give more restful effect as the lady in my reference photo looked like she was meditating…


For my last sketch I allowed myself to paint a Jedi!!!  I went with a more monochrome feel but in blue so the whole thing was quite cool…


I learned quite a bit from this exercise but it’s difficult to put what I learned into words.  It’s the kind of learning that stays in your hands and eyes and doesn’t really need language except if you try to write about it!


2 thoughts on “Sculpting with Paint – Tiny Gouache Portraits

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