Home Painting Portray with Gouache, 6 Ideas for Success

Portray with Gouache, 6 Ideas for Success


Oh, My Gouache!

Be taught from a watercolor artist’s firsthand expertise and discover out her high tricks to get began portray with gouache. Right here is all the things you have to know to grasp the artwork of gouache!

Simply one of many useful articles you’ll discover within the Summer season 2023 concern of Watercolor Artist, which you’ll find right here.

In maturity, most of our studying experiences happen exterior of a faculty or classroom. Nowadays, a lot of the brand new data we soak up is picked up on-line, in podcasts or on social media. In my expertise, nonetheless, nothing can take the place of hands-on studying and experimentation. Particularly in terms of a brand new curiosity or passion, we are able to usually fast-track the method by studying from the trials and tribulations of our friends.

I’m predominantly a watercolor painter and teacher, however just lately discovered myself interested in gouache. Its delicate but opaque colours, and the seeming abandon within the brushstroke utility with out concern about transparency, piqued my curiosity. I’m excited to share a few of what I discovered from my firsthand observations, which can hopefully ease the educational curve do you have to be contemplating a foray into the world of opaque watercolor.

Gouache is a superb medium for plein air painters and concrete sketchers. It’s thicker than watercolor, requires much less water and doesn’t drip as a lot.

Gouache Observations

Remark No. 1

Being the systematic practitioner I’m, I elected to start my gouache journey by portray easy coloration swatches. The medium’s creamy consistency requires extra color-mixing effort than watercolor. I shortly labored my approach across the coloration wheel, gaining a way of blending and brush utility strategies. The joy of this experimentation crammed me with childlike pleasure.

I used to be keen to maneuver ahead instantly and put the colour combos to work for a full-fledged portray. As an alternative, I pressured myself to proceed these exploratory workout routines by creating a number of 2×2-inch thumbnails in a sketchbook—an thought I borrowed from animation artist Nathan Fowkes. This gave me the chance to familiarize myself with the varied mixes, concentrate on the general course of and observe the medium’s drying time.

By means of my experimentation, I discovered that including white gouache to the bottom pigments produces enticing pastel colours. It additionally turns the brush-cleaning water milky, nonetheless, and milky water used to combine different colours makes all the portray chalky. This taught me the significance of wiping the paint off the comb on a paper towel earlier than rinsing the comb in water.

Gouache 1
It’s necessary to get a really feel for gouache’s opacity and thickness via color-mixing workout routines.
Gouache 2
I painted 24 2-inch sq. landscapes to change into aware of the medium’s distinctive properties shortly.

Remark No. 2

After experimenting with the 2-inch squares, I used to be prepared to extend the format measurement—and discover the right substrate for doing so. Gouache is surprisingly versatile in terms of the portray floor. I began my gouache journey in a sketchbook and have since experimented on mixed-media boards, canvas paper and even desk coasters.

Every measurement and substrate has its advantages. The 8×10-inch mixed-media artboards I used are stiff and don’t require backing, making them excellent for portray on the go. Plus, the boards match completely in glass-free floater frames for a 3D impact. This reduces the burden and the price of the overall portray manufacturing (though the gouache will possible require a number of varnished layers for gross sales functions).

Canvas paper and stretched canvas, in the meantime, are made for acrylics and oils, making them appropriate surfaces for gouache. The canvas provides a horny oil painting-like texture that’s splendid for the thicker pigment dabs of gouache initially wanted to seize the tooth. I discovered that if the paint didn’t adhere uniformly to the canvas, pre-painting the floor with diluted paint helped.

As for compactness, I decided that slicing sheets of canvas paper into smaller sizes meant that within the area required for one mixed-media board, I might carry 5 canvas paper sheets.

Gouache 3
Gouache 4

Canvas paper and stretched canvas are splendid substrates for gouache.

Remark No. 3

The following eureka second occurred after I realized that I might use cheap brushes for my gouache work. I grabbed the essential stiff passion brushes from my kids’s portray units and have used them ever since. This protects cash—and reduces nervousness when touring.

Since I take advantage of a paper towel to wipe my brushes, the water reservoir I carry is as small because the clip-on buckets for oil portray. A sketchbook, an hermetic palette, two stiff brushes (stiffer than conventional watercolor brushes) and a clip-on water reservoir make the package extraordinarily transportable and parenting-friendly.

I additionally journey with a particularly versatile and handy watercolor portray package, however the benefi t of gouache over watercolor is that it’s much less “drippy.” I’m capable of work on extra portray surfaces with out the fear of dirtying them.

Goucahe 5
A resort ironing board turns into a makeshift studio area when touring.

Remark No. 4

Portray a collection permits me to experiment. I wished to learn to management the saturation of colours, so I repeated the scene with full-strength colours and slowly moved them towards grey. I wished my eyes to get used to seeing the various grays in my gouache palette and construct my potential to intuit how they’d look within the closing portray.

I created the identical pastoral scene a number of instances, working from full-strength coloration towards shades of grey, to change into aware of gouache coloration saturation.

Remark No. 5

Inadvertently, I discovered that as a result of I can paint a lighter gouache pigment over a darker one, I can work from bigger shapes to smaller ones. The time gained by that is misplaced, although, within the mixing of the paint. As a watercolor painter, I really feel the time distinction acutely, as shifting from the palette to paper, when portray in watercolor, is a fast occasion, whereas gouache requires extra time. Getting used to this delay was annoying initially, but it surely’s simply a part of the method.

Identical to including whites makes enticing opaque colours, including grays of various values
produces enticing darks which can be usually tough to regulate in conventional watercolors.

Remark No. 6

Utilizing poor-quality masking tape can mar all the portray when lifted, so working with high quality tape is important. I like to recommend Nichiban artist’s tape.

Inferior masking tape causes post-painting heartache.

Artist’s Toolkit

Your Flip

I recommend you put together a number of substrates of the identical measurement and tape them on high of each other so you’ll be able to shortly peel every one off as you full a portray. You’ll get used to gouache’s tackiness, learn to wield brush management and navigate the disappearance of your preliminary sketch as a result of paint’s opacity extra shortly if you make a number of fast work in succession.

I’ve arrange a number of sheets of paper so I can shortly transfer from one portray to a different.

Gouache, Darn It

Utilizing an opaque medium received’t refine your clear watercolor expertise, however it may well make it easier to develop and strengthen your portray “muscle reminiscence.” A lot of my watercolor college students wrestle to make thick watercolor mixes on their palettes. I attempt to encourage the muscle reminiscence of blending thick paint and experiencing the required subsequent tackiness.

Gouache, owing to its chemical properties, ensures that artists begin with pigments at most viscosity, which may then be diluted with substantial quantities of water. This course of builds muscle reminiscence within the portray hand—and is one thing that may’t be taught by phrases alone.

Simply one of many useful articles you’ll discover within the Summer season 2023 concern of Watercolor Artist, which you’ll find right here.

Meet the Artist

Uma Kelkar, from San Jose, Calif., who has a background in engineering, refers to herself as an “artist-engineer combo.” The artist and workshop teacher is a Signature Member of the Nationwide Watercolor Society, the California Watercolor Affiliation and the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Color. She has received a number of artistic awards, and her work could be discovered at umakelkar.com, @umapaints on Instagram and @UmaKelkar on YouTube.

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