Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Gouache as Inspiration

Recently, I've been hearing the word gouache a lot. I remember the name from art school (more than 50 years ago) but I didn't really remember anything about the media. So when one of my private session students applied gouache as a foundation for her pastel pastel, it peaked my interest and I ordered a very limited set of M. Graham gouache colors to try.

Here we go...trying gouache.
In every medium I seem to end up using the subtractive approach at some point. In colored pencil I lifted color away with resuseable adhesive and it became a trade mark technique for me. In watercolor I loved the look of lifting color. With pastel I went further and simply wiped off (or hosed off) entire paintings. Foundation work in oil often includes wiping away lights with a cotton cloth. It is a practice that works for me; in fact, it may be necessary to my creative process.

This is a detail shot of the gouache painting. LOVE the soft look it gives.
With gouache I began the painting by glazing layers of thinned color and then wiping some away back to the bare Gessobord. I love the fragile, dusty look when gouache dries but I Googled gouache and learned that the beautiful dusty look is not good. It means I have added so much water that the medium is no longer stable. The other thing I learned is that paintings in this medium need to be protected by glass. When I read that, I thought I was at a dead-end because I'm trying to get away from framing with glass. It wasn't until the next day that it occurred to me that I could glaze oil paint over the gouache foundation and perhaps retain the delicate look of the gouache.

And so, I began. First I glazed with transparent oils and a linseed/alkyd mix but then I got carried away and used whatever oil paint it took to get the look I was after. In the end, the primary role of the gouache was the inspiration it provided me.

Rose, Take Two, oil, 7x5 inches
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