Sunday, January 27, 2008

Even More on Gouache

Well, here's the finished gouache, although I'm still not particularly happy with the player's left hand.

Gouache, it turns out, is versatile, provides high chroma and true reproduction, and isn't very complicated for a beginner if you have some knowledge of water media. But it's also clear that there's a world of possibilities that I haven't come near to tapping. There's a website at Virtual Gouache Land that shows you much more of what can be done with this paint. A friend of mine, a professional illustrator, says that anything you can do with oil paint you can do with gouache, and many times do it better. Lovely soft edges, subltly graded tones, etc., can all be done with gouache. And the best part is it can be reworked. But be warned--reworking makes muddy color, just as it does in oil techniques. Luckily, if you're painting on a smooth surface like bristol or hot-press watercolor paper, you can mist the paint, soften it, and wipe much of it off. That's pretty much what I did with the player's left hand, muddied it up badly, dampened the paint, wiped it off, and tried again. But you lose the freshness and brightness of the color if you've got a muddy surface underneath, as you can see.

Nevertheless, I'm going to do more gouache. No reason not to. People may look down their nose at gouache, saying it's not permanent, etc. Well heck, it's not much different than watercolor, and you can always choose permanent pigments for your painting. Bottom line: gouache is fascinating, fairly simple to begin doing, and has real possibilities.
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