Monday, February 19, 2018

Awash in Gouache

February 19, 2018

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see". - Henry David Thoreau

This past month or so, I have been experimenting with gouache.
For the people not familiar with this particular medium, it is an opaque, chalky paint, traditionally used by Illustrators. However, many Artists use gouache, pronounced, ɡwäSH or ɡo͞oˈäSH.
Gouache can be re-wet, and used with watercolor. It is similar to acrylic or oil paints in that it is normally used in an opaque painting style. Gouache has larger particles in it and a much higher pigment to binder ratio. It will usually have a white filler which gives it its, "chalky" look and feeling, especially when it dries. 

Here is a painting in Gouache by Friedrich Wilhelm Schwinge (1854 - 1913) - Selbstporträt im Garten (self-portrait in garden)

The author died in 1913, and this work is in the public domain.
The work I've been practicing is much more like the type an Illustrator would do. Illustrators use gouache to do storyboards, thumbnails and finished work. If you're interested in seeing what Illustrators can do with gouache, this is a great reference by James Gurney:

Here is a painting I recently completed using gouache:

Gouache painting after Whitemore
I painted this from reference, using the the work of the famous Artist and Illustrator, Colby Whitmore. More on Coby Whitemore here:

I did YouTube video showing the process I used to do this painting and I discussed the various aspects gouache if you want to check it out.

I also posted a video of talking about the Holbein gouache I used, which you may find interesting if you're looking to try out gouache painting:

What I learned about gouache in this, "experimenting", is that I like it very much. It has interesting qualities, such as being compatible with watercolors. You can also thin them with water. The paints I used were acrylic-based, which is relatively new on the market, but others have been made longer and use gum-arabic as a binder.

I enjoyed the oil-paint-like qualities of gouache. It is such a versatile medium and if you don't like having to use turpentine or chemicals used in oil painting, this might be a great alternative for you.

Here are some watercolor paintings I've completed in the last few weeks.

Leave a comment and share your thoughts and experiences about gouache, I'd love to hear from you.
Man thinking - Watercolor
Claddagh Customer - Watercolor
Old Barn - Watercolor

Mountain Study - Watercolor

Winter Barn - Watercolor
Man in corner - Watercolor

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:30 PM

    Hi Marty! I was checking out youtube for different kinds of watercolor pencils and stumbled onto your video. You started talking about how cold it was and then I saw your Twins cap. Oh geez, he's from Minnesota, I said out loud (to myself.) I'm from Minnesota, took a class with Richard Abraham (he was a student not the teacher.) I live in New York now but I still know a Minnesotan when I see one. I love your work and hope to learn all about your work and your technique. Thank you!