“Whaaaat??? There are hills in the Netherlands? I thought the country was supposed to be flat!” was my first reaction when I heard about these hills in Limburg province just south of the Netherlands. And sure enough, when we drove there the weekend before Easter, there they were! And what a beautiful scene. I certainly didn’t feel I was in the Netherlands at all, although we were just right in the border of Germany and Belgium. And so beautiful it was that I was inspired to paint about it. Along with the flora and fauna. And this time, I wanted to get out my tubes of Gouache paint out and use them again as it’s been quite a while, combining it with some watercolour.
Pencil It In
I primed the paper by stretching it first with a brush of water and some adhesive tape on the sides. Then sketched in the cute animals I had seen on the way including lots of cows, sheep and rabbits, many of them even just being born! I included some tulips as we saw those on the way as well. Behind came the hills and for fun, I added some houses with faces on them. Let’s get some more kawaii rolling!
For the background, I used again the Hydrus Liquid Watercolor by Dr. Ph. Martin’s. I love the fluidity of these and how brilliant the colours come out even with just a few drops of it spread around with wet brush, something that is not easily achieved with pans or tubes watercolour. I tried to vary the shades of green by adjusting the amount of yellow or blue. To avoid the colour from accidentally spilling into the small details like the hearts and the tulips, I dabbed on some masking fluid with a wooden satay stick.
My set of gouache tubes are from Holbein, more precisely the Acryla range. One only needs a small amount to mix with water. And the colours come out ever so strong and vibrant! While the watercolours provide a more transparent sheen, which is great for background, gouache is best suited for details and subjects as it provides a strong matte appearance, as seen below. Look how red the roofs of the houses are, and how vibrant the pink is. To play down the pink and to create grey, I mixed in some white which gives that milky effect. The small details such as the eyes were drawn in with Kuretake Clean Color watercolour brush pens. I think combining watercolour and gouache worked out really well! And how do you like the cute animals hanging around the front and the funny houses in the background?
Actually, I have to say this is the first “landscape” painting I’ve done in ages! Most of my latest work has been focussed on one character, or a maximum of 3. It’s always good to have variety, and now that the warmer months are here, I ought to do more of this. Furthermore, I most definitely would like to use Gouache paints again. It’s not so often used which is a pity because I love the finish of it. Depending on what you look for in a painting, gouache has a more matte effect compared to the more translucent watercolour, whilst having a lighter touch compared to the thickness of acrylic paint. It’s also an idea to combine them for variety in consistency and transparency. Looking forward to doing more now!