I first discovered gouache (gwash – rhymes with squash), many years ago while enjoying plein air painting excursions with a friend who lived in California. On our daily outings I would struggle to carry tubes of oil paints, medium, brushes and boards to paint on and then try to carry them home without disturbing the work while still wet. My friend carried a watercolour pad, some water, brushes and a few tubes of gouache. The results were very impressive and hassle free but, for some unknown reason, I stuck by my oils for a while longer. As time moved on I started teaching myself to paint in watercolour. The effects could be beautiful but for one that was used to the control and thicker quality of oil paints I eventually started adding some gouache to enhance, define and correct some of my watercolour paintings. I liked the combined look of the mediums. Then several years ago I was wanting to take some paints on a journey to Italy. I knew oils were out of the question and I wasn’t always happy with the watercolour images I painted while on my travels. I wanted something more opaque, like oils, but manageable and easy to carry so I decided to try gouache. I foolishly thought gouache was something between oils and watercolour and promptly discovered they were, of course, their own medium unlike any other. So it was another, sometimes fun and sometimes challenging, learning process but overall a joyful discovery. Today I frequently use gouache as the medium to create small paintings that may or may not become larger oil paintings. I also use them to go on quick plein air painting journeys both near and far. If I’m feeling lazy or don’t have much time I’ll paint very small …4 x 6 inch or usually smaller. I carry an 11 x 14 inch watercolour pad and will complete a number of separate images on one sheet. In the studio I’ll complete gouache painting on watercolour paper or acid free painting board. I’ve yet to paint anything larger than 9 x 12 inches. I’m uncertain about going to a larger size. There are issues with the finished paintings as they can be damaged by water spills and not easily repaired. If they are varnished it can change the colours slightly so I prefer to leave them natural. Gouache now has a strong place in my collection of painting mediums. While I still find it challenging sometimes and I’m constantly learning (as with all painting and mediums) it has become a favorite and without a doubt my “go to” medium when taking off for a day of image making in the outdoors or travelling afar.