Friday, February 20, 2009


There were a few questions and comments about gouache the other day, so as per Janice's request, I thought I would write a little something about the medium.

Gouache is a lot like a water color paint, but has a much more opaque quality to it.

If you are really interested in painting with gouache I would recommend getting a few of the basic colors:

Jet Black
Permanent White
Parma Violet
Mistletoe Green
Primary Yellow
Marigold Yellow
Flame Red
Primary Red
Primary Blue.

If you just want to practice with the gouache I think investing in just the primary colors plus white and black would be fine.

Next you need something to mix your paint on. I love my butcher tablet, but you can use just about anything plastic. I would recommend something that is pretty big because then you have a lot of room to mix your colors.

You also need water and a nice brush.
The Raphael brush size 8 is an excellent brush. You can paint rather wide lines, as well as pretty narrow areas.

I also like to have a paper towel roll really close by. this way if I have to much paint, or water, on my brush I can just dab it on the roll easily.

So now were are ready to paint!

First you squeeze out your paint, or paints, depending on whether or not your mixing colors. Next dip your brush in some water. I find that the amount of water that your brush holds is just enough water to mix with the gouache. Unless you have a lot of gouache on your palette.
Keep in mind that a little gouache can go a long way most of the time. If you are painting a large surface, of course you are going to need more...

Then mix the water and the gouache together. You want to achieve a mayonnaise like consistency. Also, remember that you can always add more water, but most of the time adding more paint can be a waste. If you are mixing colors, make sure they are really well mixed. Otherwise you can get streaking.

Now you're ready to paint your surface.
You want to make long broad strokes. I would try small areas to paint first before I paint larger areas. Getting a consistent look can take some practice.

You can paint on just about anything with gouache. I like any printmaking paper, or water color paper. You can also paint on wood and I suppose you could try fabric too.

Hope this made sense to everyone.
I don't really know how to upload my videos to blogger so I hope you can understand this with writing and pictures. If you have questions, please ask :)


Nancy said...

When it dries up, does it dry like acrylics or watercolor? Like with dried watercolors, you just add water and keep using them. Is it the same with gouache?

Megan Chapman said...

Great informative post Michele.
And I always love your pictures.

Michele Maule said...

Yes! Thanks for asking that question. I was going to mention that and forgot. You can reconstitute the gouache. It's not going to be as opaque when you do this. It's going to be a lot more transparent, like a water color.

Great question.

Thanks Megan! :)

Nancy said...

Thanks for answering my question Michele. I need to head to my nearest art supply store soon :)

Janice La Verne said...

Thanks so much!

Great info, I think I get it now, and I was happy to have the brush recommendation too.

and... the days are ticking down, yes? only one more week in Feb!

2DogStudio said...

Thanks for the info Michele! I've been really wanting to try these paints and look forward to experimenting with them. Have a great day!

hatjunkie said...

This great information is wasted on me, but I love your work and your dog.

rachellovespeace said...

i just want to say loving blog and painting skills!! :)

tangled sky studio said...

great post michele...
i too love my rafael brushes (i think it's their golden color)! have a great weekend.

halloweenie, smile! said...

Gouache is such a beautiful medium to use. I love the matt finish when it's all dried :)

Bumble Belly Designs said...

thank you so much for this post! I will absolutely go out and get some to try. I have always loved the matte finish and soft quality to gouache paintings.

justagirl said...

great post Michele...

I am gonna get mine out again and have a play.

hope you had a good weekend.

J. R. Vegan said...

Love your work and your adorable Boston Terrier. I've got a farty, burping B.T., Lulu. Have to draw her one day. She's so expressive.

Tri and Justin said...

You're on Poppytalk again! Feb 20th for affordable art for kids' rooms. Neat!

Janice La Verne said...

hey michele,

i wanted to let you know that i saw the movie about the girl who moved from Pontiac to Ashland.

we saw it in 3-D which was amazing. I liked it, it was very inventive.

ennistbp said...

What colors of guache do I mix to make antique white? I'm painting a mat board to frame an antique print. Thank you.