Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Local Pond

Local Pond, 4x4" gouache plein air, Diane Mannion

Gosh, More Gouache!

Spent a few minutes sketching at a nearby pond.  Still pushing the gouache around and finding it a delightful medium for sketchbook work.  This one was done in a gray sketchbook I purchased to do value thumbnail sketches.  Unfortunately, the paper is quite thin and watercolor and gouache tend to buckle the paper.  
 Two tiny thumbnails from the gray sketchbook.
On left, thumbnail sketch in three values (black, white, and gray of paper for mid-tone).  And on right, a quick gouache color study.  A friend sent me a snapshot taken right after a rainstorm, may do a larger painting from these... one of these days.  But notice how the opaque gouache covers the gray paper completely.

  • Use heavy watercolor paper or illustration board.
  • Work small, great for thumbnails and sketchbooks with heavy paper. 
  • Gouache may crack if used too thick.
  • Light colors dry darker and dark colors dry lighter.
  • Can be used thin like watercolor or thick (almost) like oils.
  • Unlike acrylic,  gouache can be rewet and reworked.
  • Can be varnished (but experiment first) or framed under glass.
  • Gouache dried on the palette can be rewet and used again.
  • Gouache can be squeezed from tube onto wet paper towels to keep it wet longer.
  • Handy to have a spray bottle of water to refresh palette if needed.
  • Gouache can be painted over transparent watercolors.
  • Only buy good, artist quality gouache!
  • Lighten colors with white, opposite of watercolor which uses white of paper.
  • Experiment with different types of brushes from soft to bristle.
  • Have lots of patience... takes awhile to get used to this or any new medium.
  • James Gurney has tons of useful gouache information! 
  • Just received beautiful Pentalic sketchbook like Gurney's... will report later.
  • And check out Nathan Fowkes... land sketches in gouache, brilliant!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Figure Study

Figure Study, 4x6.5" wc/gouache, Diane Mannion

Oh, My Gouache!

 Still messing about with gouache (gwash) and learning to love it for sketchbooks and small studies.  Gouache has a long history and great antiquity.  It was used by the Egyptians and has also been traced back 800 years as a medium used to illustrate manuscripts.  

Figure Study is from my painting, Her Beach, oil, 20x20" (Which, by the way I'm still not satisfied with and will put it through the wringer for the fourth time.)
 Her Beach, still unfinished!

*Technical note:  I use Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache.  Don't waste your time with cheap stuff... it's NOT the same.

For my gouache study, I added clothes and re-imagined the scene... happy to discover I can take a favorite figure reference and do what I want with it.  Below is the first layer painted with transparent watercolor.  Experimented with overworking and muddiness, let myself paint bad knowing the gouache would cover anything! 
Overworked and muddy watercolor underpainting in heavy paper wc sketchbook.
Finish again to compare.  Left bits of transparent wc (blouse and orange bits under knees, and here and there) for extra glow.  Happy with the way I could sculpt and make changes, and could still rewet and work again... but will let this one go. 

And don't forget to study the work of my hero, James Gurney... all you need to know about gouache and more.