I saved two rose buds to paint when I pruned my roses last week (in case winter ever comes to the San Francisco Bay Area—it’s been ridiculously hot and sunny). By the time I could get back in the studio, one bud had opened and my order of M. Graham and Schmincke gouache arrived. Although I planned to test the new gouache by making color charts first, I knew the roses wouldn’t hold up much longer. Also included in my art supply order was a new Rotring Art Pen.
I tried out the gouache and pen in the sketch above. I also wrote a quickie review of the Rotring Art Pen and offer some technical information about gouache by experts on the subject. If you’d like to know more about gouache or the pen, please click the “Continue reading” link below.
Gouache Tips and Techniques
What a difference! Roz (of Roz Wound Up) recommended I switch to M. Graham and Schmincke gouache from Winsor & Newton and she was so right! The new paints are creamy and rich and brilliant and work well thick or thin, painted transparently or opaquely. None of the chalkiness I was getting from W&N—or at least not until I’d severely overworked an area!.
I still need a lot of practice to get the knack of using gouache well, but what fun it is! It gives you the flexibility and opacity of oil paints and the transparency, flow and easy clean up of watercolor. I’m looking forward to making color mixing charts and doing more experimentation to understand them better. One thing I’ve learned is that like watercolor, gouache dries lighter than it does when it’s wet, which can make color matching difficult.
AlthoughI don’t always follow the “rules,” I like to start off by at least knowing how something is meant to be used, basic techniques, etc. so I did a little research and found the following sites where more information about gouache techniques can be found:
Roz’s info about choosing a gouache palette
Interesting historical, technical and usage info on Handprint.com
History and technical info on Wikipedia
Demonstration of gouache technique on Kathy Robbins’ “The Color Journey”
Gouache painting techniques–a simple list
Rotring Art Pen review
I was also experiementing with a new Rotring Art Pen. I substituted Noodlers Black Ink for the cartridges that came with the pen. This required a little converter that is snapped into the pen. I enjoyed drawing with the pen as the nib is flexible and makes a ,slightly varied line. But even though the Noodlers Ink is supposed to be water proof, I found that it still bleeds just enough to sully colors, especially the light pink wash I put down first, turning it slightly brownish, which was annoying.
The fountain pen converter arrived with no instructions and I couldn’t get it to work. You twist one end and it creates a vacuum and sucks the ink up into the barrel. But I discovered that when you twist it all the way it releases the vacuum and all the ink pours back out. Then I couldn’t get the converter to connect inside the pen. I Googled “rotring art pen converter how to” and found someone who had the same problem and learned you have to push it really hard into the pen body until it snaps which requires a pretty forceful push.
Two other things that bugged me a bit about the Rotring, is that the area you hold is ridged, which is not very comfortable, and the pen cap doesn’t fit on the end of the pen. My cat thought it was fun to play “Gravity” with the cap, knocking it off the table and then chasing it around on he floor. It’s a nice pen, but I’m not sure it can replace my favorite, the Micron Pigma .01.