Gouache Girl

It is not often that I get to use this amazing medium called Gouache. Water-based, this paint goes back thousands of years way before oil painting and of course acrylics were discovered. It is similar to watercolor but modified to be opaque. Like watercolor, the binding agent has traditionally been gum arabic but unlike watercolor, the pigment particles are typically larger due to the higher ratio of pigment to binder. An additional white filler such as chalk – a “body” – may be part of the paint to give it a heavier and more opaque appearance. What you then get is a chalky and matte finish, compared to the more transparency from watercolor and glossiness from acrylic. I love it! I have used it on occasions in my work but mainly as one of the “ingredients” in my mixed media paintings. As such, I’d like to share a simple little painting using just gouache and nothing else.

Pink Dress

And what is this pink dress all about! It all started with smudging some leftover pink gouache on a page from a sketchbook. Knowing I was going to develop it into another Little One feature, I painted a dress. Then I left it alone and came back when I had the chance to resume painting. As you can see, the matte finish does show up. It does come out a bit streaky here but that is because I added a lot of water on my brush so I could use up the gouache of whatever was left.

Acrylic Gouache

My set of gouache is by Holbein Acryla which come in an amazing range of shades with which to work. As you can see, I’ve been taken in by the beautiful vibrant colors! To be noted though is that Holbein Acryla (as the name suggests) is not the traditional sort of gouache because it is likely to be binded with acrylic polymers rather than gum arabic or be a combination of acrylic paint and gouache. The result is that though matte, it is not water soluble and hence cannot be reactivated once dry whilst “pure” Gouache can be. An obvious advantage to this is that you can layer on top of each other without smudging or moving the paint below, as seen with the blue dots on the purple butterfly wings or the “buttons” on the flowers. The browns on the hair are also not blended together. Despite it all, this is just a simple example of what a gouache painting looks like. Don’t you just love the vibrant colors? And Little One looks ever so cute and pretty too in the Spring mood!

I ought to use gouache more often as I do love this chalky finish with the strong colors. The pure version of this paint though ought to be tried out without the acrylic mix. I don’t have any yet but once I do some research as to the best brand, it may be worth investing in a few shades of them. Meanwhile, I am happy with what I have especially when I can paint my Little One again in bright radiant colors!

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