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-- 01 April, 2006 --

Meg's portrait

Meg's portrait
Meg's portrait
Originally uploaded by Robynls.
I've never used gouache before but I have read postings about it on a couple of my discussion groups lately. It sounded like fun, so I wanted to give it a go. I bought a box of Reeves gouache which was much cheaper than anything else I saw at the art store and allowed me to have lots of colours for little money.

Once I got it home and opened up to the next page of my Moleskine, I realised that I had no idea how to handle the medium. I figured that, since it is supposed to be a water-based medium, I should have a jar of water handy. It goes on really thickly and dries very fast. Since it seems to be pretty much opaque, then it is possible to cover up any mistakes.

I hope that Meg likes her portrait.

Posted by robynls at April 1, 2006 4:58 PM


I don't know about Meg, but this reader likes it. Not being an artist, I've never heard of this medium before, Robyn. But I do like the idea of a water-based paint(?) that goes on so thick like an oil... but is easily washable! For the brief period that I took up painting - with oils - I found the most bothersome thing was clean-up. Plus I didn't have a space for it other than the dining room table, so I wasn't prepared. I love your book sketches particularly!

Posted by: Bex at April 1, 2006 10:19 PM

Like Bex I had never heard of the medium. But I am not an art student either.

Sounds like something I would want to spread around with my fingers. :-)As a kid I liked fingerpainting. Wonder if those are still available.

Posted by: Bonnie at April 1, 2006 11:38 PM

I know so little about paints. I am assuming that gouache must work more like oil than watercolor. Is that correct? Interesting effects! Meg is a cutie.

Posted by: Sioux at April 2, 2006 1:02 AM

I have a set of (primary color) gouache paints, but have never used them. You've inspired me to find them and give them a try. Meg came out nice....I like the background, as it reveals YOU in there, trying to work faster than it was drying!

Posted by: Rita at April 2, 2006 2:02 AM

We must be thinking alike...I just ordered some gouache paints and am anxious to try them also. I love your painting here and now I am more anxious!

Posted by: TeriC at April 2, 2006 3:31 AM

If you want waterbased that work like oils, you need to play with acrylics. Gouache is more like watercolor paints, but opaque rather than transparent. They have a larger pigment that sits on top of the paper rather than within the paper as watercolor pigments do - gouache pigments are less finely ground.

Lots of advertising art is done in gouache.

Some nice things you can do are create a watercolor in darker colors than you would normally use, than fill areas you want to be lighter with lighter color gouache. Artist Robbie Laird uses this technique and teaches it at her workshops. You can see her work here:


Posted by: donna at April 2, 2006 5:14 AM

This looks great! I know I'm the one that brought up the whole gouache subject (on one list, at least) and yet here you are jumping way ahead and doing it, while I'm sitting around twiddling my thumbs!
Did you mix it with water, or just use it straight on? Looks wonderful, whatever you did!

Posted by: Linda at April 2, 2006 5:21 AM

It looks good - like a naive, folk art cat, very charming -- esp. for your first try! I also got inspired by all the gouache talk, and tried a flower on an acrylic wash background. Since I don't know gouache, and I don't know how to paint flowers, and I've never tried painting in watermedia over acrylics before, I came up with a blobby mess. Seeing this, I think I'll give it another try!

Posted by: Nancy at April 2, 2006 2:47 PM

This is such a nice juicy-looking portrait! I really like it a lot and love the idea of painting over a yummy wash of brushstrokes. I'll bet Meg loves it, even if she doesn't say so...

Posted by: Starr at April 3, 2006 2:23 AM

Well, I just love this juicy portrait! What a great idea to do it over the washy background. I'll bet Meg likes it a lot but will be very coy about saying so...

Posted by: Starr at April 3, 2006 2:34 AM

Thanks for your comments on my blog. I like this portrait of your cat, and I'm sure she likes it about as much as my cats have liked their portraits. Which is to say, that most of the time they don't give a damn! Happy painting!

Posted by: alanna at April 4, 2006 2:32 AM

I like the pastel like, impressionistic look of it - good job!

Posted by: Karen Winters at April 5, 2006 3:43 PM

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