View Full Version : Gouache for sketching?

09-27-2013, 01:28 PM
Hi, does anyone use gouache for their plein air sketches? I've discovered that gouache can give me the vibrant color that I've been wanting, but I'm hoping to avoid the costly experimentation that I've done with watercolor! What has worked for you? thanks!

09-27-2013, 02:33 PM
Hi, CathySue! Gouache is a delight. I agree. Here are two posts by Roz Stendahl that might help :

-- Gouache vs. Watercolor - When, why? -- http://rozwoundup.typepad.com/roz_wound_up/2011/11/gouache-vs-watercolor-when-why.html
-- Why use gouache in your visual journal? -- http://artistsjournalworkshop.blogspot.com/2011/02/why-use-gouache-in-your-visual-journal.html

Since gouache does not re-wet well consistently, you will need to use fresh dabs of paint for each plein air session. But that hasn't deterred oil painters or acrylic painters. So no reason why you can't do the same! It has worked for me.

EDIT : Here's a pic of my latest mini gouache plein air kit : http://jan777.blogspot.com/2012/05/peindre-que-les-voyages.html
It works just fine.


09-27-2013, 02:39 PM
Thanks Jan, is there anything that you find useful for gouache plain air that you don't use with watercolors?

09-27-2013, 04:44 PM
Depending on how much you want to carry, both Caran d'Ache and Royal Talens make pan gouache that does re-wet beautifully. Both brands include a palette in a fairly big pans set - the pans are quite large and both sets have a gutter to put a full length brush or two in. I found those very useful for outdoor painting, have had both brands at different times in my life. 12 or 24 color sets available in both brands.

09-27-2013, 06:21 PM
Thanks Rob! I really enjoy your Blog too!

09-29-2013, 11:42 AM
Thanks Jan, is there anything that you find useful for gouache plain air that you don't use with watercolors?
Most importantly, the palette: a flat piece of (in my case) plastic upon which to squirt dabs of fresh paint and upon which to mix. If you need more room, you might want to carry a larger piece of plexiglass and use that as your mixing palette.

A little mister bottle is also nice, to keep it all moist. Go to Amazon and search for 'Mini Mister'. Those are very small and very handy.

Here's a small plein air kit for acrylics, but the same set up would work perfectly for gouache : http://www.hudsonvalleypainter.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/070830-lazy-morning-at-lake-george-setup-800.jpg

It belongs to Jamie Grossman (http://www.hudsonvalleypainter.com/). She does a lot of wonderful gouache plein air work.


10-02-2013, 03:49 PM
I have one of these cheap plastic folding palettes that I squeezed my tubes of Caran d'Ache gouache into. It cost just $3 online HERE (http://www.dickblick.com/products/blick-folding-palette-box/?clickTracking=true)


Used it today to sketch in a Cachet kraft paper sketchbook.

10-02-2013, 04:30 PM
That's exactly the same as the one I use Rainy.

I just put a couple on the Northumbria thread here that used gouache plein air. I decided not to take oils and use gouache if I wanted opacity.

10-04-2013, 10:41 AM
Thanks for posting that acrylic set up. I've always wanted to do acrylic Plein air but shy away from not knowing what I need. Does anyone know if using ocean water (in a container!) to rinse your acrylic brushes has any adverse affects on them? I'd love to not have to lug the water around!


10-04-2013, 11:56 PM
Michelle, I would not recommend that palette for acrylic plein air. It's great for watercolor and gouache which will dry into cakes so you don't have to carry the tubes.

I use a palette called "paint saver" and with a little cube of sponge kept moist, I've kept regular acrylics usable up to 6 months. Otherwise, I would bring a small set of tubes and palette paper, just squeeze out what you need. You don't need a lot of water to paint. I spritz a lot with a 4" sprayer and to clean the brushes I dip the bristles to wet it and I wipe color off with napkins. I take away everything I bring, including the little jar of water which has a watertight cap. Then I keep the bristles wet (wrap brushes in wet napkins in a Ziploc bag) until I can get to a sink to give them a proper wash.