“Dreams of Spring” tiny gouache painting process

At the beginning of the year, I had my heart set on starting a daily small painting project. I felt that if I could produce quick paintings I would level up immensely and become a speedy, efficient painter able to whip out art projects left and right. If time managment could be personified into a person, they would be laughing at me right now.

“Oh you silly girl, go ahead and try!”

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I did try… and failed to make this a daily occurance. I think it’s easy to set my sights high and become easily discouraged. A small painting amongst other projects took me weeks to get around to finishing it to a decent standard. How do artists do this? I’m always amazed at artists that can work daily on pieces big and small and still retain focus and quality in their studio. Maybe I can attain that skill, but I have to be realistic that it won’t happen overnight.

I do still want to make more small paintings, but my goals are more attainable now. I will just try for maybe one each month and not get dissapointed if work or other projects get in the way.

Anyway, onward with the process!

Dreams of Spring gouache painting by megan frauenhoffer sketches

The sketch phase

I initially used sketches that I made months earlier to be the base of my project. My goal was to practice stylizing the form in small ways and work with the challenges of small artworks and being able to fit a lot into that composition. Another challenge I gave myself was prompts that I drew from three different jars. I believe the prompts for this were mythological character, feather, and dream. With those words I set out to create some type of spring goddess communicating with birds and wearing feather-like clothing.Dreams of Spring gouache painting by megan frauenhoffer gouache and watercolor washes

Layering washes of color

Gouache is a pain in the arse. I find watercolors and gouache truly challenging because of their reactivation qualities. It’s why I will always love acrylic inks, paint, and acryla gouache more. Their ability to layer endlessly when dried makes me so happy. However, I really wanted to master this beast of a medium. I have so many gouache tubes gifted to me or mistakenly bought when I was more optimistic about my skills. I really want to use it more often. Dreams of Spring gouache painting by megan frauenhoffer base colors

Painting the Face

The skin was the most challenging part. I wanted it to be well rendered, but layering in gouache is a bit of foolish process. I know better ways for future paintings, but I kept making the same mistake over and over again, reprinting the entire face to make the paint consistent.

Dreams of Spring gouache painting by megan frauenhoffer work in progressHair and Dress

Once she got the hang of the skin, layering became easier and I went nuts with it on the hair and dress. I decided to add more to the background and that helped the sense of space in the tiny painting, giving it more depth instead of a flat color ground.

Dreams of Spring gouache painting by megan frauenhoffer to scale picture

Finished Painting

Here is the final painting. I photographed it next to my tools so you can see the scale, 6″ x 6″. It was a wee painting, which I enjoyed because it brought several challenges to the composition and being able to have detail and clarity.

Dreams of Spring gouache painting by megan frauenhoffer online store and society6

The artwork is available in the main store as well as Society6. It’s a fun, dreamy image that looks great on several different products. I hope to make more soon! Subscribe to the blog for future news on the latest artworks.

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