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Experiments with Gouache

I love watercolor, and still haven't fallen in love with acrylic paint.  So I decided to slowly buy some Winsor-Newton gouache in one cool primary triad, and to play with them before buying a warm triad.  I bought Lemon Yellow, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, and Ultramarine.  It will take me awhile to decide whether I want to invest in more tubes - until then I will play.

Here are color samples of the 3 primaries, the mixed secondary colors, and one quick mix of complementary colors.  I will explore the full range of complementary colors that are possible, but just wanted to see how close I could get to mixing shades of gold and brown.

 I also did a quick opacity test and was surprised that the Crimson wasn't more opaque.


Jane Davies posted a tutorial on the Sketchbook Challenge blog last week, using acrylics and pens to create abstract paintings, and I watched it right after I bought my paints.  It seemed like a great way to test my 3 primaries and the range of colors I could mix - as well as assessing the ability to glaze in layers and cover some of the background paint.




that's a fine work you made. I agree with you to use from time to time also some more opaque medium like gouaches.
Try also acrylics they are stunning with their sparkly colors!

I like what you did, Shirley, and yes, like you I was surprised they weren't more opaque. I've used many brands of gouache over the years...tricky but fun!

Have fun with Gouache, I found mixing a bit tedious, but if you enjoy it add Primary Red, and Primary blue paints to your collection, also a huge tube of white. It looks to me that you may be adding a bit too much water to your paints, Gouache is supposed to be opaque, and Winsor Newton is a good brand so you have plenty of pigment in the paint. Paint should flow off the brush but not run, mix your paint with water using a spatula on a pallet similar to how you would for oil or acrylics(without the water ), only add a few drops of water. If you are using a wet brush, you are probably adding too much water. You can mix almost all the colors in the color wheel with just the red, blue, yellow and white, though I found tubes of a good purple and medium green helped. When I was doing a color wheel I also found that a huge tube of yellow would have been handy, as I used 2 times as much yellow as anything else, except white. (I had a class where we used Gouache, and had to do lots of color studies)

VERY nice page. You certainly did end the summer with fun. I'm at a stalled point at there was a leak and there is mold (not a lot) being cleaned and we are going to get a new floor. Then the computer died. I'm coming out of my funk, but have been doing a lot of "popcorn" reading. Using my husband's computer holds me back from daily checking my mail.

Nice 3 colors. I have yet to get the hang of gouache myself. I do find M Graham and Maries Chinese gouache about the best.

I really like your abstract piece and I look forward to seeing more of your experiments with gouache. I've always been curious about it :-)

Beautiful subtle painting of pattern, Shirley. I love gouache. I was going to suggest you may be using too much water but I see Kathleen has beaten me to it. That doesn't mean you shouldn't enjoy lovely translucent watery washes with gouache but you get the best accents and impact when you keep the colour thick and opaque.
If you do decide to try acrylic sometime, I recommend the little bottles of golden Fluid Acrylics. They are very easy to work with and more appealing to watercolourists.

Love seeing the layers and depth. Adds a completely different dimension to water-based paint.

Fun and nice work you did.

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