Testing Acryla Gouache with Figs and Daffodils

Last figs before pruning, gouache in journal
Last figs before pruning, gouache in journal

I tested the Holbein Acryla Gouache Mixing Set with the last figs from my tree before it got pruned for the winter. Working with the Acryla Gouache seems less like gouache and more like a somewhat more opaque, matte acrylic paint. I’ve been told it works well for underpainting under regular gouache or even oil paints. You can also use acryla gouache over regular gouache to correct problems, which I tried in the painting below.

Daffodils in gouache and acrylic gouache, 8.5” x 11.5” on hot press paper
Daffodils in gouache and acrylic gouache, 8.5” x 11.5” on hot press paper

I painted these daffodils in gouache on hot press paper (which I don’t think works well for gouache…not sure yet). Then I added acrylic gouache over the top to try to fix the mess I made because I had been lazy with drawing the ellipses on the glass…got a little over confident and thought I could just whip them out. But I couldn’t, hence massive corrections and then just giving up.

It’s so simple: get the drawing right first!

Gouache Self Portrait and Sktchy Portrait

Gouache selfie sketch in Strathmore Mixed Media journal, 8.5 x 11 inches
Gouache selfie sketch in Strathmore Mixed Media journal, 8.5 x 11 inches

It cracks me up how selfies end up making noses even more prominent than in real life, including the one above of me. I’m still finding my way with gouache but enjoying the immediacy of it and the easy clean up. It doesn’t allow for reworking forever the way oil painting does, which is helping me to focus more on getting it as close to right as I can with each brush stroke and color mixture.

Below is a gouache sketch from a photo in the Sktchy app of Farah W.’s mother.

Gouache painting of Farah W.’s mom from Sktchy in 8.5 x 11 inches
Gouache painting of Farah W.’s mom from Sktchy in 8.5 x 11 inches

Gouache Painting Practice

Apple Still life in gouache on Stonehenge Kraft colored paper, 10 x 12 inches
Apple Still life in gouache on Stonehenge Kraft colored paper, 10 x 12 inches

Gouache is a water-based paint similar to watercolor in some ways, but opaque and more like oil paint in other ways. Like any art form, it takes practice to build knowledge and experience and eventually be able to just paint. I was pretty happy with the painting above, done from life.

The paintings below were earlier experiments.

My New Kitchen, gouache on Arches watercolor paper, 12 x 9 inches
My New Kitchen, gouache on Arches watercolor paper, 12 x 9 inches

I made an attempt to paint my tiny but comfy galley kitchen in response to James Gurney’s “Paint A Kitchen” challenge. My kitchen is so small I had to set up my easel in the pantry and look through a doorway. The colors are really weird, thanks to being completely unfamiliar with gouache.

Onions, garlic and shallot. Gouache sketch in Strathmore Mixed Media journal, 8.5 x 8.5 inches
Onions, garlic and shallot. Gouache in Strathmore Mixed Media journal, 8.5 x 8.5 inches

I thought the onions and shallots were pretty and wanted to try painting them but had lots of problems with getting chalky colors and trying to paint too many layers until the paint got too thick and yucky.

Fruity Still life, Gouache in Strathmore Mixed Media Journal, 8.5 x 11 inches
Fruity Still life, Gouache in Strathmore Mixed Media Journal, 8.5 x 11 inches

More gouache practice, trying to get the hang of the medium. It seems like the Strathmore Mixed Media Journal maybe isn’t the best paper for gouache if it’s going to be layered as it is a little too thin and smooth.

Bunny Girl 3 Ways: Gouache, Pencil and Digital

Painting of Hildur and her bunny from in gouache, 8.5 x 11”.
Painting of Hildur and her bunny from in gouache, 8.5 x 11”.

I drew and painted Hildur from Sktchy App with her bunny three different ways. First I sketched her in pencil on paper then painted her in gouache and then did a digital rendition in Procreate. Which do you like better?

Hildur and her bunny, graphite on paper 8.5 x 11 inches
Hildur and her bunny, graphite on paper 8.5 x 11 inches
Hildur and her bunny, Procreate on iPad
Hildur and her bunny, Procreate on iPad

I was simplifying shapes in Procreate and decided to leave off her facial features.

Hydrangeas with Post-It Note

Hydrangeas with Post-it Note, oil on Gessobord panel, 10x8" Available
Hydrangeas with Post-it Note, oil on Gessobord panel, 10×8″

My hydrangea plant lives just outside my kitchen window and each year I enjoy painting it. This time I was going for a more abstracted feel with soft, soothing beautiful colors and just the tease of a bent post-it note.

I hope all the rain we’ve had this winter will help it continue to produce fabulous blooms! This painting is available in my DPW gallery.

I love the way the petals range from pink to blue to lavender from the soft yellow when they first sprout. Below is a photo of the setup.

Photo of set up

Iris in an Aqua Cup and Bonus Pear Painting

Iris in an Aqua Cup, oil on unstretched canvas, 12x9"

Iris in an Aqua Cup, oil on unstretched canvas, 12×9″

I was thrilled when my irises bloomed again this year after failing to do so last spring. I love the warm light I was able to capture in this painting. It went through a lot of changes before I finally settled on this version. (Available on my DPW gallery here.)

Bonus Pear, oil on Gessobord, 6x6"

Bonus Pear, oil on Gessobord, 6×6″

This was just a little love letter to a pretty pear. (Available on my DPW Gallery here.)

Hanging Lemons: Two paintings and a Candy Jar

Lemon, Candy Dish and a Cosmetic Swab, oil painting on unstretched canvas, 16x12”

Lemon, Candy Dish and a Cosmetic Swab, oil painting on unstretched canvas, 16×12”

I had so much fun painting this hanging lemon and grandma’s candy dish and the previous hanging lemon oil study below. Also scroll down for the fun Procreate color studies and sketches and WIP photos.  I know the candy dish is wonky but I decided I like the wavy distortions.  I’m not sure which I prefer more, the iPad color study or this painting (which is available at my DPW gallery here.)

I’d love to know which you prefer: iPad painting or oil painting? And here is the little hanging lemon painting I did earlier:

Hanging Lemons, oil on Gessobord panel, 7x5"

Hanging Lemons, oil on Gessobord panel, 7×5″

This little painting came first; a fun experiment in composition and hanging things from the wall to paint. The painting is available at my DPW gallery here.

Original color study sketch in Procreate on the iPad. Print is available upon request.

Original color study sketch in Procreate on the iPad. Print is available upon request.

In some ways I prefer this chunky quick study more than the oil painting. I am working towards finding a way to apply what I’ve been doing on the iPad to my oil paintings. Next up on the blog are a series of more of these iPad sketches. Read More

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