Sunday, November 10, 2013

Gouache: You are not my friend

The election is over, and all of the non-stop meetings, door-to-dooring, sign-spreading and other hijinks are over (for now,) and I am free to focus on my artwork again. Really free, too, since my running mate and I will not be taking seats on the Greenwich Town Council.

That's OK (for now.) We were really, really underdogs to the point of being sub-underdogs. Submarine dogs. We made a good showing, and may have nudged the political thought in town just a little left-of-rightmost.

So why, for my much anticipated return to drawing and painting, did I choose to try a gouache landscape instead of good old watercolor portraiture? For cryin' out loud, GOUACHE DRIES ON THE BRUSH ON THE WAY TO THE PAPER. And it doesn't seem to dry the same color as it starts out. 

done with Cheap-O Reeves gouache. I think the whole 24 tube set cost less than $10.
Yuck! The photo I used for reference was of a section of the Au Sable River in Keene Valley, New York, where Ron was working on some river bank remediation. (The sides of this painted sketch are cut off, else you would see the teeny yellow excavator.) So while the back ground, right up to the middle ground trees was really there, the foreground was, in actuality, piles of dirt, rock and root wads. 

Lesson learned: Find a second photo reference instead of making up crazy looking foregrounds.

I'm going to pull up a photo of a face and get back to Comfortland.


  1. Hey Suzy - I think this is a pretty good landscape. There's a good sense of depth between the treeline in the mid-ground and the mountains in the background. Don't give up on gouache as long as you still have paint in the tube. Also, nothing says you cant use both watercolor and gouache on the same painting. Maybe try using watercolor for your darks and thin layers of gouache for you lights?

  2. I agree with Brian and he should know since he uses it so successfully. Gouache is an interesting medium but can actually be a wonderful segue to oil. I would use his suggestions and combine with watercolor if you are too frustrated. Also, check out E.Tiemens does dome wonderful landscapes using both mediums.

  3. Well you did better than I with gouache! I only use the white a little from time to time and then I like qouache resist with ink, but that's different. I have seen lovely gouache and watercolor paintings and have tried, many times. Good job. This looks better than any of mine did!

  4. If you haven't completely ditched gouache, take a look at this guy's approach to gouache painting:

    I still think this medium has great value.

  5. Brian, Ralph Parker is amazing and his work is inspiring! The reason I originally wanted to learn how to use gouache is because of Robert Moylan's landscapes, which I've seen at a lot of local venues. You'll have to scroll down to find him.