Wednesday, July 1, 2015

240: Painting with Gouache

I HAVE never experimented much with gouache–probably from bad experiences using the chalkier, less versatile version known as designers gouache back in art school. I was therefore surprised and intrigued with James Gurney's new video Gouache in the Wild.

This new offering is a perfect companion to Watercolor in the Wild which I thoroughly enjoyed for its innovative approach to painting in the field (read my review here). 

This new video further explores Gurney's approach to plein air painting using professional grade gouache. Most painters would profit from watching the watercolor video first as I felt it covers in more detail Gurney's kit–although there is ample detail in the gouache video to make it enjoyable in its own right.

The video records six painting sessions. A favorite was the Liquor Sign session. Watching Gurney layer on the gouache and gradually building up detail using both transparent and opaque pigments was an eye-opener. For those who have already watched the video note the early haphazard overlapping of color that belies the later impression of exactitude.

Another favorite was the Convenience Mart painting where Gurney uses a quick value/color thumbnail to lock down color and value relationships before starting to paint. It's a brilliant idea I hope to try soon (I suspect the underlying black bars were painted in acryli-gouache, a water insoluble variation of gouache).

The painting of a still life of antique toys was intriguing as Gurney used a venerable yet arcane technique using a transparent grid (borrowed from Durer) to transfer the image. In typical fashion Gurney expands on the technique with an ingenious plastic sheet transfer method making the session invaluable for that tip alone.

Gouache in the Wild simultaneously respects traditional techniques while infusing them with a spirit of invention. I've already ordered a handful of gouache pigments to add to my watercolor kit and will soon try the innovations Gurney suggests. If you need new ideas to expand your techniques and a reminder of how fun painting in the field should be don't miss this video.

Brad Teare –July 2015


1 comment:

  1. Many thanks, Mayumi! I'm glad you have found the site interesting. I appreciate your kind words.


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