I’ve been working in Gouache, mostly for quick colour sketches or small plein air painting, for some years now. It’s such a fascinating medium that when I move away from it to work in oils I am quickly drawn back. Sometimes for its soft buttery texture but also because I feel like I haven’t even touched the surface of what is possible painting with Gouache. I still tend to use it as I would oil paint or sometimes watercolour. Every now and again some kind of magic happens and I realize the incredibly versatility of gouache. I’m still looking for more. To find its strength and ability in creating stronger more abstracted images. More contrast. A looser quality. Or what, I’m still not sure. I’m wanting to experiment and see where I can go with it.
There are still technical challenges such as what surfaces are the best and are the safest. I’ve been using watercolour paper for smaller pieces which works well and is easy to transport for plein air painting or travelling but does require framing with glass if I wanted to show the paintings. I recently bought a water book and now, generally, do the paintings in that but it’s still on paper and mostly for my own viewing. In the past I did some paintings on archival mat board and loved the way the surface absorbed the paint. The way it flowed on the surface so I am turning to that again to see what happens. And then there is fragility when completed. If even a small bit of water lands on a finished painting it disturbs the paint and will leave an unintended mark. I have spray varnished some pieces. It changes the colour slightly but if wanting to frame and hang them it is either varnish or glass. Those seem to be the only options.
In June I’m taking two weeks to go into the country alone, away from any distractions, and spend every waking minute painting …both gouache and oils. I’m hoping for some interesting discoveries or maybe just some peaceful practice. A chance to connect completely with the world visually.