Gouache painting

Started and finished 10.12.2020

13.2 x 14 cm

I have a tendency to despise an art medium that I try for the first time. Then I stew on it a bit, holding a kind of vendetta against it because its “ridiculously fickle”, to which I inevitably cave and end up try to get good at it. Then I fall in love with it. This has happened with clay, then with watercolour, coloured pencils, and now gouache (oil paint is still obnoxious though).

The trick is to not care. As soon as I stopped trying to over think the medium, the easier it got. This is in part due to having “what if” ideas, and then instead of shooting them down in fear that I’d wreck whatever I was working on, I actually did it.

Night Fae

When I first tried gouache, I had used the old crummy tubes that sat at the back of the art classroom and were sticky to open for some reason (why is it that old paint tubes are always sticky?). It was very unpleasant as the paint had separated, AND it was all straight up liquid (which I only assumed it was supposed to be). I didn’t know what I was doing, and it was in this moment that I decided that gouache was an abomination of a paint and why would anyone want something that was not quite acrylic and not quite watercolour but instead a weird concoction of something in between?

The only thing that kept me from outright disregarding it was the artworks I had seen on social media. There is a distinct texture in gouache that watercolour could never hope to have. I ended up buying a cheap set of gouache at Officeworks, because if I bought it, I would guilt myself into using it because well its right here, there’s no rational reason NOT to use it. I was glad to see that these paints hadn’t separated and were actually a lot thicker than whatever atrocity the classroom set was.

Night Fae is a small piece that took maybe only 30 minutes to do. I have to say I’ve hit the “falling in love” stage with gouache. Before this year, I hadn’t been very good with my colour theory. But forcing myself to paint has helped significantly. To practice, I would usually draw with just the primary colours (yellow, red and blue) to create vibrant sketches. This was so I wouldn’t get too overwhelmed with which colours to use.

I found that choosing the colours BEFORE even starting was the best way to go. To begin, choose simple – 3 colours (a base colour, a light colour and a dark). I had to find out the hard way that more colour doesn’t mean a better artwork.