Harbour Pointe, but done with gouache

Here are two more gouache paintings of sketching the neighborhood. I am done with gouache for now. What I learned is that watercolor works better for what I do. Before I expand on that I will acknowledge that there are folks out there producing amazing work with gouache, and most likely if I worked at it longer I would get it as well, it is just that right now it does not seem worth the effort.

First off for the style of sketching I do gouache is too slow. Most of the sketches I have done in the last few days with gouache took about twice the length of time that it would take with watercolor.

Most of the time I do the ink first then add watercolor washes. Since Gouache is opaque it covers over the lines, so if I am going to use ink it must be added after the paint dries, so I am not able to approach a sketch in my most comfortable way. Also, I don’t know if this is true or not, but it seems dried gouache is pretty rough, so I am concerned about it damaging pens.

Some gouache painters have commented that dried gouache reminds them of the finish of a pastel painting. I think pastels are amazing but it seems the dried gouache is just dull, photos of the sketch do look brighter, but the original does not.

What enticed me to gouache was that it was opaque, and it could be used a bit more like acrylic or oil as far as painting lights over darks, and yes, you can do that to a degree. Yet when I paint white, using Titanium White, it tends to just gray, not stand out as a highlight. I use white gouache with watercolor regularly, it works well with watercolor so I am sure it will continue to have a place in my kit.

I have used black gouache with watercolor to get intense blacks, I can see doing that in the future as well. Traditionalist watercolor painters dismiss white and black as not used by purists. However some of the greats in watercolor history have used both in their paintings, so that is just fine for me. Then there are those who say, “there is not ‘black’ in nature.” Well that may be true, but a lot of what us travel and urban sketchers are faced with do have black, so it is fine by me to use it.

One last thought, I do believe that any artist should try new things as it expands your vision and skills. So try new things, and then don’t feel guilty if you decide it is not for you.

Keep on traveling and sketching, even if you are just traveling around your house or neighborhood.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Ana Stark says:

    Thanks Terry, enjoy reading your posts. I think I’ll stick to watercolors and ink. Have tried gouache in the past but find the finished product very dull, like you’ve said.


    1. I agree. I have gone to websites with folks that do gouache, and some get the bright colors. I will admit that i did these on my Moleskin which has more of buff color, not white, so that might have something to do with it. But Watercolor works better for me i think.


  2. Lori says:

    I have not used gouache yet. When I have looked at pieces with white I wonder if using
    Gouache white first can you wash over it later and it keeps the white?


    1. Do you mean gouache with then over it with watercolor? dont think it would work as if you get gouache wet after it dries it reactivates it, so it would mix with whatever color you put on top. It is possible that in these last few sketches i did not let the first layer dry completely, so it may have been technique.


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