Home Painting What Do Watercolor Societies Say About Gouache?

What Do Watercolor Societies Say About Gouache?


Are you able to enter a portray that makes use of gouache into the annual competitions of the assorted watercolor societies? What are their guidelines about combined media?

The American Watercolor Society guidelines enable “water soluble media: watercolor, acrylic, casein, gouache and egg tempera on paper. Watercolor board is just not accepted,” however forbid “collage, pastels, class work, copies, digital photos or prints.”
The bylaws of the Nationwide Watercolor Society do not point out gouache particularly, however they outline watercolor pretty broadly to incorporate “aquamedia, watercolor, acrylic and different watersoluble
media,” particularly excluding work in encaustic or oil. The newest exhibition prospectus places it this manner: “Portray should be watermedia work on pure or
artificial paper Yupo, Aquabord and Clayboard. No stretched
canvas or canvas board. Collage could also be used however aqueous
medium should represent 80% or extra of the work.” They forbid digital media and images, which presumably implies that generative AI is just not acceptable.
I requested Lana Stop, who’s on the board of administrators of the Nationwide Watercolor Society to clarify. “The primary distinction between the societies that you just point out,” she says, “are primarily the media that they permit. In fact, anybody might be a member however to enter the exhibitions you need to use your supplies in a sure approach.”   

Lana says that the NWS “welcomes everybody in any media with all ability ranges. Now we have members that simply began portray lately, and still have members which are extremely educated, awarded and profitable. We do enable artwork similar to collage if the collage is principally water media, however we do not do combined media like oils and acrylics collectively. You might combine something water primarily based. So primarily, you would use watercolor, gouache, watercolor pencils, water soluble pencils (though we enable pencil so long as it is not predominantly pencil), watercolor markers, and fountain pens in the event that they contained water primarily based media…. and nonetheless be thought of water media with the look of combined media. We won’t enable issues like pastel or oil primarily based paints in our exhibitions, however after all, we nonetheless would like to have these kinds of artists be a part of our group. We’re very inclusive and we attempt to be progressive.”

The TWSA goes on to exclude the next: 

• Opaque white paint, of any sort, such at titanium white, Chinese language
white, and many others. 

• Gesso, matte medium, or every other priming materials or exterior
floor remedy 

• Gouache, acrylics, or water-soluble oils
– Inks, metallic, or iridescent paint or merchandise that depart a metallic,
graphite, or reflective sheen. 

• Watercolor crayon, coloured pencil, charcoal, pastel, Conte sticks, or
Conte Crayons 

• Varnish, wax, wax crayon, oil sticks, or oil pastel 

• Collage or floor constructions, impasto, embossing 

• Watercolor resist, similar to Frisket, that isn’t fully eliminated
from the ultimate portray 

• Yupo or related papers. 

• Canvas or canvas paper 

• Use of digital photos or enhancements printed on the paper.

What’s the rationale given by the TWSA for excluding gouache when so many pigments classed as watercolor (similar to cadmium yellow) are extra opaque than different pigments (similar to diazo yellow) that could be in a tube of gouache?

Of their FAQ, the TWSA addresses this level: “Using clear watercolor paint consists of pigments categorised as ‘opaque’ , such because the cadmiums and others that are acceptable so long as they’re utilized largely in a clear method. The deal with the way in which paint is utilized to the paper, ‘in a clear method’, is to permit the white paper to create luminosity fairly than, ‘in an opaque method’, which obscures the mirrored gentle. This shifts the emphasis from a dialogue of pigment to the way in which during which pigment is utilized. In sensible phrases, if the feel of the paper may be seen by means of a darkish space of the portray, or there may be an undulation of worth or shade(s) inside it, then it’s not ‘opaque’.”

Additionally, what’s the purpose for banning opaque media and so many different strategies, particularly given the truth that many conventional masters of watercolor, similar to John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, and William Trost Richards continuously used gouache? 

In a single phrase, the reply could be luminosity. Because the NWSA argues on their web site:

‘The white paper exhibiting by means of a clear wash is the closest approximation to gentle in all of the media, and lightweight is the loveliest factor that exists.’ That is how Edgar Whitney describes and extols the virtues of transparency. Cheng Khee Chee expands on Whitney’s definition by describing the results of clear washes. ‘The circulation of washes possess a robust evocative energy. The interpenetration of colours creates mysterious precipitations and nuances.’ Revered artist and instructor, Frank Webb, describes luminosity as ‘…the portray’s potential to provide off gentle. It usually derives from the sunshine inside and beneath – such because the white of watercolor paper beneath paint.’

I am sympathetic to those causes for utilizing clear pigments, as a result of clear passages can lend themselves to effectively reaching sure sorts of gradients and textures which are laborious to execute with opaque paints. 

However in my expertise, transparency presents neither a assure of luminosity, nor a hedge in opposition to muddiness, since these qualities have extra to do with the disposition of tones inside an image, nevertheless they’re achieved technically. Flat, opaque, or thickly painted passages, if they’re of the precise worth, can generally convey gentle and air to an image.

My very own choice with water media is to start an image transparently and usher in opaques or different combined media wherever they’re known as for, and most frequently my very own work in water media are a mix of opaque and clear passages, simply as they’d be if I had been portray in oil. 


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