Practicing gouache with found items. The lipstick with purple case I found on the street, the journal at the recycling center’s little “shop” where you leave things you don’t want and take things for free. The pear and jar lid I found in my kitchen so I guess they aren’t officially found items. The cigar box the journal is sitting on was a freebie from the local smoke shop. I love cigar boxes so much! This gouache sketch made me happy…feels like I’m starting to get it.
In trying to learn more about gouache I made a few color charts. I’m using mostly M. Graham gouache which I like much better than the Winsor & Newton and Schmincke I used before. The Graham gouache is creamy and brilliant, rewets well and doesn’t smell (like the W&N). I found that using fresh-squeezed gouache is more fun to work with than rewetting dried paint, but frugality keeps me trying to reuse dried. The best solution is to set up a palette for each session, squeezing out tiny blobs, adding more as needed.
Above is an exploration of the Zorn palette in gouache, a limited palette using only Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red, White, and Black. The black paint, when mixed with white, is meant to serve as blue since it is a cool color that can look blue next to warm colors. Next I want to try using it in an actual painting.
Above is a chart of my gouache colors straight from the tube and mixed with white and each other. Sadly when I removed the masking tape it pulled off some of the paper from the extra large Moleskine watercolor notebook that is my current journal. I don’t recall previous Moleskine WC notebooks having that problem but I’ve switched to low-tack tape now.
Before ordering any new brushes specifically for gouache I wanted to see how the brushes I already had might work so did the test below. I found a few that I liked and ordered a couple of others. I’ll do another post about my gouache palette and brushes I’ve settled on soon.
I sketched Stuart (from the Julia Kay Portrait Party) and painted him in gouache. I’m still struggling with mixing colors to dry light enough. In this sketch I started by painting the light on the side of his face and leaving it alone. That seems to be a good way to proceed since painting light over dark doesn’t work seem to work that well for me. I’m so enjoying painting and drawing people. I got too many layers of paint on his hand and arm so I gave up trying to get it right. I know the hand looks like a slab of mystery meat with no bones in it but oh well. It’s always about getting the drawing right first, which I didn’t do with the hands. I also apparently need to use less pink/red in flesh mixtures to avoid getting this icky pinky-grey color.
I painted Kathleen (from the Julia Kay Portrait Party) side by side with the flower below but decided to post them as separate images. I’m loving gouache but really struggling with the way light colors turn so much darker when it dries. I actually lightened the sketch above in Photoshop so that it wouldn’t look so scary.
I found this flower (I think it’s an azalea) growing along the sidewalk in the neighborhood and picked off a blossom to paint. The flower is too dark because of my lack of experience with gouache, but I had fun painting it. Gouache is so much fun and I’m especially loving M. Graham Gouache. Now to just learn to mix colors about 4 shades lighter than they look! I mastered doing the opposite with watercolor so I’m (almost) sure I can do it with gouache too.
I’m going to post often for the next couple weeks to get caught up on all the things I haven’t posted because of continually choosing painting over posting. I’m also going to try to write less and keep it simple so that I can get the images online quickly and get back in the studio. So here are 4 sketches that got orphaned from last year. Above is the view from a table under the awning outside Tacubaya on 4th Street in Berkeley.
The Pallet Space was a junk shop going out of business in Oakland where we sketched one evening. An amazing collection of junk and trash ripe for sketching.
Someone wrote and asked for a print of a previous sketch of my cow glass that I’d sold so I offered to paint it again but still haven’t gotten it just the way I want it.
I was experimenting with some sample QOR watercolors. I haven’t fully explored their possibilities since I got seduced by gouache and haven’t looked back at the QORs since then.