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Portrait painters: use more paint!

Portrait painters: use more paint!


Paint with paint; without paint you can´t paint! 

When I worked this week on a quick sketch of this portrait, again it came to mind how often I see students paint almost without any paint on the canvas. Far too thin and almost transparent.

I understand why. Fear or caution is the main cause. (Rarely is it because of an artistic interpretation.)

  • Afraid of losing the underpainting.
  • Afraid to mix the wrong colour.
  • Afraid to end up in an accumulation of paint flow, thereby drowning in a big muddy mess.


It is important to realize that you can´t make a good painting without a certain amount of paint. Nothing is richer and stronger in colour and value than the full stroke of oil paint.

A few solutions:

  • Mix a number of basic colours for various flesh tones in advance.
  • Mix enough paint every time you think you need a different shade. Load your brush and put it on the right spot. Any correction afterwards is easily achievable.
  • Don´t blend large areas.

Of course, the foregoing has to do with the most important thing: good drawing skills. The better this is, the more secure you feel when you start in colour.

So my eternal recommendation is:  Study as much as possible from a life model.


See Related blog post 

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Comment Section

One thought on “Portrait painters: use more paint!

By Mazin -Montreal Canada on 14 November 2016

Always great to follow your painting tips!
Thanks a lot!

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