Tag Archives: colour grounds

Mixing watercolour and Gouache….the transparent with the opaque.

“No Experiment is ever a complete failure.   It can always be used as a bad example”.   Paul Dickson. 

watercolour/gouache – view from the Rhiwiau in the Brecon Beacons Wales Viewfromrhiwiau1master.jpgcompI am always asked what is the difference between watercolour and gouache.

Watercolour is a transparent medium.    Gouache is Opaque.    Watercolour and Gouache are intermixable….

In this post, I will show examples of pure watercolour as well as the mix of watercolour with gouache.

Pure watercolour – Brecon Beacons Wales 20181029_115354  About eighteen years ago – I was in my studio in Wales going through a period of feeling blocked.     Always a difficult time for a creative!

Over the years I have learned that the best thing to do when this happens is PLAY.     I put out big sheets of inexpensive paper on long trestle tables.    Using large brushes and anything else at hand I began to throw paint around.      I found some gouache, something I had not used before and began mixing it with watercolour and voila……..I loved the results and have been playing with the mix ever since.

I noticed that the gouache was bleeding into the transparent watercolour producing some very interesting marks.

The top swatch of colour is Winsor Violet watercolour mixed with Permanent White gouache on an orange background.  (more about colour grounds in a minute)

The second swatch is pure watercolour. 20181029_122319

The following portrait sequence of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.….shows in the first example, pure watercolour – where all the white you see is dry white paper.20181030_090534The second example shows pure watercolour on an orange ground.20181025_095849The third example shows a mix of watercolour and gouache.     When painting this way, permanent white gouache needs to be applied for highlights because all the white paper has been covered.  20181025_102005It’s important to note, that no one way is the right way.    The whole point of being a creative is to experiment….as my opening quote points out.

When I am going outside to paint I will prepare some of the pages in my sketchbooks with a ground so that if I wish to use a watercolour/gouache mix, I am ready to do so….which was the case here.    Ground colour naples yellow with a little burnt sienna. 20181029_140537 So what is a colour ground?        

It is when we cover our paper or canvas with a colour.     When using watercolour/gouache it’s important to remember that paper must be grounded at least 24 hours before using so that it is totally dry.    

I often use paint left on my palette for grounding.    If at the beginning of the work day I am struggling to warm up…grounding paper will often do the trick.

As you can see from this example, the paint does not have to be uniform or all one colour.   I am known for my orange grounds, but often use naples yellow, burnt sienna or anything else left on the palette.   You can use both watercolour and gouache  separately or mixed together to make a ground. 20181025_095826I hope this helps those who are interested.     The key is to allow yourself to EXPERIMENT and PLAY,    Remember it is only paper……

I leave you with a magical hummingbird drinking from the sweet nectar of life.…paiinted on an orange ground using a watercolour/gouache mix. 20-11-15 - 1 (358)

A Bientôt.

Allowing the brush to dance….

The following watercolour/gouache painting is an example of warming up, playing and allowing the brush to dance…..

P1130306

I cut an unsuccessful painting into quarters so that I could re use the paper for this and other images.

P1130295

Using a mix of Opera Rose gouache – plus a little permanent white gouache I rapidly indicate the flower heads….I use violet and Alizarin crimson to indicate the darker areas of the flower.

Note that the underlying colour from the original sketch integrates with the flower.

P1130296

Allowing my brush to dance across the surface, using a mix of burnt sienna and prussian blue watercolour, I begin to indicate the stems and leaves.   I have also added a little Winsor & Newton green gold – an expensive pigment, but one I highly recommend.

P1130298

Using a knife I scrape out some of the paint while still wet….which gives a sense of energy and movement.

P1130299

In the final frame, I mix some Green Gold with permanent white gouache to highlight areas of the image and to indicate seed pods.    I also move more opera rose around the image to bring a sense of harmony and balance.

This is all about spontaneity.     Working like this is a great way to hone observational skills.     The key is to let go, be playful and allow the paint to do its own thing……It also helps to work on several pieces at the same time.

I would also add that my ‘wet brush no paint’ technique is used throughout….this means as I add colour, I immediately clean my brush to pull out the colour.    This prevents muddiness, the enemy of all watercolour painters:)

P1130306

Here is a Magical Hummingbird to start the new week…..

P1130895 (3)

http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

HummingbirdHQ.com

A bientôt

Text for Landscape Tutorial

I painted this image on the magnificent Amalfi Coast, Italy.

Frame 1

For this sketch I am working on a cadmium orange ground which I apply at least 24 hours before use.   Because I am working on a colour ground, I am using a watercolour/gouache mix.     Gouache is an opaque water medium with excellent coverage.   I love the mix of transparent watercolour with opaque gouache.

Frame 2

Using a burnt sienna/Prussian blue mix I indicate the darks of the composition, and also begin to move some of the other colours around the painting.

Frame 3

Using designer gouache permanent white, I now begin to add the lightest areas of the painting, and continue to move other colours around the image to bring a sense of harmony and cohesion.

Frame 4 – Final image.

Mixing transparent watercolour and opaque gouache and working on colour grounds will be explored during the workshop in Portugal

The workshop is for all levels, including total beginners.   For more information go to. http://www.artinthealgarve.com.

A Bientot.

Tutorial. Working from a colour ground, using watercolour/Gouache

I am planning to give some tutorials during the coming weeks, and given that I was talking about working from a colour ground at a recent workshop, thought I would begin with this one. 

I am using watercolour and designer gouache for this demo. 

Watercolour is a transparent medium….Designer Gouache is an opaque watercolour medium. 

When applying a colour ground to paper…make sure that it is at least 24 hours dry before working on top of it.

In this instance, using cadmium orange, and whatever else was on my palette, I painted over an old watercolour that didn’t work for me.     This is a great way to use old sketches/paintings. 

Image

 

 

 

 

 

In this frame I have begun to sketch out the piano and stool using, a mix of prussian blue and burnt sienna watercolour. 

Image

 

In frame 3, I add highlights, using Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache, Permanent White. 

Image

In frame 4,  I add the chair, using Naples Yellow, designer gouache ….and at the same time emphasised the light streaming in from the window.     I use a wash brush to achieve the broad strokes of light.

Image 

You will note that in the final frame, I have chosen to focus on the piano.   I have heightened the reds and oranges, and also moved some of the naples yellow around the images, to achieve a sense of harmony.   Note that I have added some violet for shadow tones. 

Image

This is a very quick sketch…capturing the drama of light and dark.       Painting over old sketches and using them as a colour ground is an excellent way to warm up, and use up papers.

A Bientôt