Sunday, 4 May 2014

Experiments with Gouache

Bluebells in Oversley Wood
Acrylic Ink and Gouache on Paper
10cm x 10cm (4" x 4")

Ann Blockley's recently published book - Experimental Landscapes in Watercolour contains a subsection called  "the versatility of gouache".

Gouache contains the same basic ingredients as watercolour paint, but the recipe is changed to make it opaque. In some brands this opacity may be achieved by adding chalk, but Winsor and Newton say
It is widely misunderstood that Gouache is opaque as a result of adding chalk or other such materials. The opaque colours within the Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache range are opaque due to the exceptionally high levels of pigmentation in the formulation.
This opacity allows you to paint light colours on top of dark - which is not possible with transparent watercolours.

I've used gouache before - in the painting of  Smeaton's Pier (see Making Corrections with Gouache) I included some gouache in the background wash to create a slightly misty effect and then used gouache to obscure and alter parts of the picture.

In Bluebells in Oversley Wood, I've used gouache to add details to the acrylic ink wash I posted last weekend (see Experiments with Acrylic Ink).

Rangali Sunset
Watercolour and Gouache on Paper
12cm x 17cm (4.75" x 6.75")

In Rangali Sunset, the majority of the sea and sky is watercolour. The reflection of the setting sun is a strip of pink gouache added to the wash. The sun is a circle of pink gouache added once the sky and sea had dried. The trees are dark watercolours painted over the lighter sky. The beach and huts are gouache painted over the trees.

I could paint a similar painting in pure watercolour, but it would require more careful planning. I would either have to paint the dark trees around the lighter beach and huts or paint the trees and then lift off some of the colour.

The experiments on this post are the only drawing and painting I've done this week because I've been trying to rest my hands and arms. The severity of the RSI (repetitive strain injury) symptoms has reduced and I am planning to start drawing again on Tuesday. The improvement seems primarily due to physiotherapy, but rest and anti-inflammatory medicines are playing their part.

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