What is GOUACHE?
Pronounced GWASH, this paint acts like opaque watercolor!
Like any other paint, you get what you pay for. Keep that in mind when you are trying out gouache (G+WASH) for the first time, especially if you are already accustomed to high-quality watercolor paint. While the concentration of pigment within gouache tends to be higher than in watercolor, you will find that it varies quite a bit between brands — in BOTH types of paint. And just like watercolor, you can use gouache nearly full-strength, or dilute it down with water just as much as you like.
That being said, there are definite advantages to using gouache, either by itself or with other paints.
The most distinguishing feature of gouache is that you can paint in layers — even dark to light! However, keep in mind that gouache never dries permanently, so if you add a wet layer over dry gouache and move the brush around enough, you will loosen the pigment on the bottom layer(s), essentially re-activating it. You might quickly learn how to use this to your advantage — a FUN way to experiment with something NEW in your painting! 😀
Because gouache never dries permanently and is able to be re-activated at any time with water, you can potentially store your gouache on an open palette, without fear of “wasting” it. However, be aware that as it dries out, gouache will shrink and crack when left thick and undiluted like this. Therefore my preferred method of storage is inside a hinged, self-sealing palette, allowing me to keep the gouache nestled into recesses on the bottom half, and I just close the top half over it when not in use (folding the lower half in the pics up over the top half, keeping the paint wells from having to move).
anywhere on this thing — even or ESPECIALLY on the dry film on the bottom mixing palette — and have instant paint, ready to use!
And if I want to start fresh, I can always spritz it and wipe a section clean. 😀
This works quite well for me at home, but would not work the same if I needed to store it on its side, or take it on a trip. In that case, the dry chunks of gouache inside the palette would move around. In that situation, I would want to dry them thoroughly and perhaps put the specific chunks I wanted into a little tin. However, the smaller dry pieces are so delicate that if I truly wanted to preserve them, I might pack up the colors individually inside their own little square of toilet tissue — or put each color into a separate tiny baggie. This is because the dry chunks flake pretty easily, and I do not want to inadvertently mix colors by introducing a small flake of one color onto another.
By the way, if you are wondering what type of pencil I am using that will mark so clearly on the shiny smooth plastic of the palette, it is a Stabilo Marks-all black pencil. 😀
While many people do use their white gouache, I find that for a crisp white effect, Bleedproof White works BEST. I store this right on my palette along with my gouache (it is on the dry palette above, the second and third palette pics — in the color mixing section to the left and just below the letter H in Holbein and under the pink color, Opera). It dries and reconstitutes almost the same as gouache, but with less flaking.
More on Gouache:
Wikipedia | DickBlick
Winsor & Newton: Gouache tips & techniques
What is Gouache Paint?
Painting With Gouache
The Seven Gouache Hazards
Roz Wound Up: Goache
Most Appreciated Gouache Projects on Behance
#gouache on Twitter
#gouache on Instagram
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