Gushing over Gouache

Today I had the chance to take a class in gouache. For those thinking it is a Hungarian recipe or kind of squash, let me describe it to you.

Gouache is a water soluble paint that has the depth of color and opaque coverage you can get with oil or acrylic, but you can also lift it off the page and dilute it to transparent levels with water. I find it to be far more forgiving than watercolor, but it delivers the color punch of acrylics and oils.

Like I said, I am pretty new to this medium and am more or less a beginner with water scenes, and until now I had studiously avoided them. Our instructor, Tom Rutledge is a master of the medium, having been an illustrator for many years. (Gouache is favored for illustrations.) He is also a great instructor, able to break down the subject into a series of manageable steps. Tom explained the science of wave motion in a way that artist can understand. By dividing the various types of water into separate spaces, having us look for the underlying colors in each area, and then focus on the movement and direction of current, each student was successful in his or her own paintings.

My first attempt was of a fresh water stream, very much like the one that ran behind my house as a kid.  The background still needs some work but the focus was on the water and I am happy with the still shallow pool and the running water in the foreground.



For my second attempt, I decided to really go for it. I used a smooth board (which proved difficult to work with) and chose a photo of breaking surf. I was worried about the transparency of the curl and the water lapping the beach. In the end, I was very excited by the results. I am sure I need a lot more practice to really understand water but this was a very satisfying beginning!

I would love you to know what you think of these! The creek is available for sale.

corrected wave.JPG


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