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Old 08-25-2006, 05:32 PM
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nancymae nancymae is offline
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Why Gouache? Benefits? Why do you like it?

Hi everyone,

I have just begun in gouache and I am having a hard time determining its special properties. I have worked in oils, watercolors and acrylics in the past. I have heard great things about gouache...and bought a small set. Used it as a watercolor and then used it like an oil.

There is some great work already out here...so I want to learn more about gouache from you experts!

Thank you in advance for any help you can give. Oh...I'm using a set from Graham.

Nancy
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Old 08-25-2006, 07:34 PM
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JamieWG JamieWG is offline
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Re: Why Gouache? Benefits? Why do you like it?

Why do I like it? Oh, let me count the ways!

Goauche has the opague qualities of oil, but with easy cleanup.
Gouache has the water solubility of acrylic, without drying on and ruining my brushes.
Gouache has the travel capability and setup ease of watercolor, without such a strong need to plan and reserve whites.
Gouache can transcend the boundaries of many mediums---do a wash like a watercolor, blend like an oil, and drybrush like acrylic.
If the paint dries on the palette, you can just spray with water and it's good to go!
Gouache paintings are oh-so-easy to photograph because they dry to a matt finish and there's no light glare off the painting.
Since it's almost instant dry, like watercolor, you can paint, mat, frame and hang in a day!

What's not to love?

Jamie
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Old 08-26-2006, 12:13 AM
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nancymae nancymae is offline
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Re: Why Gouache? Benefits? Why do you like it?

Very cool Jamie!! I had NO IDEA!! It's an all purpose medium! I like the idea of not reserving whites. I have a hard time with that in w/c.

Thanks for your input!

Nancy
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Old 08-26-2006, 03:12 AM
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Re: Why Gouache? Benefits? Why do you like it?

Wow! Jamie has covered all the main advantages of gouache.

What I especially like about it is that it is so relaxing, kinda like colored pencils. You don't worry too much about making a mistake, and you can always just take your time, unless you are in a frantic race with the sun (i.e., plein air painting ). If someone rings the doorbell, you can go answer it without worrying about the paint drying on the palette or your brush.

Richard
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Old 08-26-2006, 12:40 PM
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Re: Why Gouache? Benefits? Why do you like it?

Does gouache have the same problems that require a rigid support like Casein does?
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Old 08-27-2006, 08:02 AM
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Re: Why Gouache? Benefits? Why do you like it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dallen
Does gouache have the same problems that require a rigid support like Casein does?
It is not as critical an issue with gouache. For thick paint applications a rigid support is best. However, most people apply it thinly, so that there is no three-dimensional texture to the brushstrokes. I get by just fine with watercolor paper.

Richard
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Old 08-27-2006, 11:28 AM
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Re: Why Gouache? Benefits? Why do you like it?

Thank you all for such great information about gouache. I have never gotten into the medium, but tried watercolors (very difficult) and acrylics (not workable and user friendly enough). I think this is just the thing I need, the best of both worlds and easy cleanup! Going to order a few as Richard mentioned above as the primary palette! Should be fun!
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Old 08-28-2006, 05:53 PM
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Re: Why Gouache? Benefits? Why do you like it?

I love acrylics for big abstracts, and am getting some great effects with them, but I just can't get them to work for me with small, detailed work. I love the way gouache flows well, dries quickly but can be workedback into, and can be thinned for washes.

I remember art tutors deriding gouache as 'poster paint', and implying that only video installations were real artists tools...how right they were ...

Well, I got over that (any threads on damage inflicted by art schools?) and have enjoyed using gouache again recently, it has many subtleties and deserves better standing than it has.
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Old 08-30-2006, 01:30 PM
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Re: Why Gouache? Benefits? Why do you like it?

Is gouache typically framed behind glass like watercolour? Or can it be used on panel and varnished like oils/acrylics?

Meisie
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Old 08-30-2006, 01:52 PM
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Re: Why Gouache? Benefits? Why do you like it?

Gouache was used primarily by illustrators, though, because it has (had?) relatively poor archival qualities. Was great for work that was intended for printing, basically. Has this changed?

I'm still planning to stick to "transparent w/c" -- after investing 2+ years learning to twist my mind around how to think in wc! -- but I have a small set of gouache tube paints. Haven't used them yet, but I might, someday.
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Old 08-30-2006, 02:27 PM
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Re: Why Gouache? Benefits? Why do you like it?

Gouache paintings can be very archival, if properly cared for, which can be said of any mediums. I would not recommend they be varnished, as it changes the unique look they have when dry. The handprint site gives a good history of it.
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Old 09-04-2006, 11:53 AM
mark sg mark sg is offline
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Re: Why Gouache? Benefits? Why do you like it?

Hi there, my pennies worth:
I have seen Graham Sutherlands, John Pipers etc. in Gouache and they look fine. I used to be hung up on material appropiateness etc but now I just do it. If Museum reputed artists can paint with coffee, blood, or whatever they want, then its not the main issue, If you like gouche then use it. A technical illustrator enthused over the creamy consistency of his gouache mix to me explaining that its all in the consistency, that was 20 years ago. I started using the stuff about five years ago and found that a consistancy roughly the same as cryla flow acrylics produces the right effect. Gouache has the strange property of luminence and opacity together which is why I use it for landscapes. Gouache is flat flat when it dries and is great for a graphic effect, which you can find in dufy (and maybe matisse?) Regarding watercolours, Turner used opaque white, Its no sin. Though technique is important it will develop with time. I try to avoid over working as it is solluble and you can end up withdirty colours or difficulty handling tone. I start with darks and end up with lights, finding it easier to subtly alter highlights but that might be just me. Like watercolours I think it helps to know where you are going to end up. Gouache is also good for working with colour pencils and for quick sketching and colour referencing slap it down work, like poster paint and feltips. I exhibited a piece glass framed with a propper card mount and the organisers seemed appy enough with that! so I guess its like watercolour presentation/whatever looks good! All the pieces I´ve seen have been on paper and card but that reflects by experience and is definately not exclusive. hope this isnt too long! Oh yeah, I like the smell!

mark
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Old 09-04-2006, 12:45 PM
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Re: Why Gouache? Benefits? Why do you like it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FriendCarol
Gouache was used primarily by illustrators, though, because it has (had?) relatively poor archival qualities. Was great for work that was intended for printing, basically. Has this changed?

Carol, some of even the finest "artist quality" gouache companies have some colors that are not lightfast. You have to check the ASTM info on the colors you buy/use.

I think that because illustrators only needed a painting to last long enough to scan/photograph it, archival longevity was not a consideraton. Fortunately, some of the companies have finally started treating it like a medium that has to stand the test of time. I've been able to find a lightfast version of every color I need.

If painted thickly on paper, it can crack easily if the paper is bent. However, with thin application, it's fine, especially when matted with a backboard for protection. Illustration board is a great surface for gouache, but is not archival. Rag matboard is great. All supports can be acrylic primed if you prefer not to work with such an absorbant surface. I haven't used it on panel, but I can't imagine any problem with a hardboard support with acrylic primer. You'd have to use a spacer when framing though, to keep the paint off the glass.

Jamie
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Old 09-04-2006, 11:24 PM
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Re: Why Gouache? Benefits? Why do you like it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FriendCarol
Gouache was used primarily by illustrators, though, because it has (had?) relatively poor archival qualities.
The pigment load of professional quality gouache is as high as that of transparent watercolor, often higher, and the binder for the two mediums is the same - gum arabic.

For the same pigment, gouache may have even better archival properties than transparent watercolor since it it is generally applied more thickly. (Obviously, a thin wash of alizarin crimson will fade much more quickly than a thick layer.) As regards fugitive colors used in gouache, see Jamie's post.

The bad news is that transparent watercolor probably produces the most fragile paint film of all standard painting mediums. However, the good news is that it doesn't matter so much, provided the paintings are given the proper care.

Richard
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Old 01-19-2007, 08:51 PM
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Re: Why Gouache? Benefits? Why do you like it?

hi everybody,

i just joined the forum and i'm not sure i know what i'm doing, well, we'll see.
the debate on gouache caught my eye since i paint mostly in casein as an underpainting, gouache or oil as final painting. ive used every brand of gouache there is and finally settled on graham and schminke. they are pure pigments, flow easily and dry uniformly. i've used the same w/n brushes for 25 years. i was lucky and was married to a man who supported my efforts. he had the money to buy a few series 7 brushes. they're worth every penny, as long as you take care of them. they've been uses exclusively for gouache for all those years and still are springy and easy to control. i imagine performens are good too, and they're a lot less expensive.

if you're curious about gouache, get some primary and secondary colors. that's all you'll need for a while. save your money and get graham. they're made for fine artists (as are schminke) and are just barely affordable. the cheaper paints are pretty bad examples of what you can do with this paint.

Gouache can also be used in an airbrush, which also is open to interpretation. just because "they" say these things should be used "blah, blah, blah", don't listen. use them the way you want to. there's no paint police.

regards,

pati
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