Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Gouache Revisited

American Kestrel sketch in gouache  
Things have been sort of hectic lately with family visiting, preparing for a new puppy and getting my vegetable and flower gardens planted. There hasn't been a whole lot of time for painting with all this going on. After a while I start to miss the creative outlet and need to paint something, anything, as long as it feeds the need.

Having just a short window of opportunity last night and a great need to paint I pondered what I could do quickly and feed my addiction. My sketchbook and paints were still laying there from the last time I painted and I thought about how much fun I had playing with gouache again. I then recalled a painting I had seen recently of a bird painted in gouache (opaque watercolor pronounced "gwash" on a toned paper called "Mi-Teintes" (pronounced "me taunts" and is French for "mid tones"). I really liked the illustrative look of this painting and thought I'd give it a try using my current favorite subject, a kestrel! can see the result above. I really liked the way this looks and I'm thinking I need to revisit gouache again. Not only does it have a nice matte finish, but it blends easily, covers well and you can get some incredible detail with it. I used to paint almost all of my pet portraits with it like this one of my friends Schnauzers.
I guess I stopped using it because I was looking for a medium that I could paint with that didn't need to be framed under glass so I moved on to acrylics. But recently there's been a renewed interest in this medium because a product by Ampersand, called Aquabord, has come out that allows you to paint water media on a coated hardboard surface that, once sealed properly, does not need to be framed under glass. Of course, I didn't paint my little sketch on that, but the point is that this is a wonderful medium that deserves my attention again. So maybe in the days ahead, as my schedule becomes less hectic, I can find some time to play with gouache again and maybe that funny sounding paper, too!