Gouache Painting Techniques. Masters.Techniques of Painting. Paint. Paint supplies.

About gouache painting techniques: Most people are not quite sure what exactly the term gouache painting means. Gouache is a technique and a product at the same time!

The name gouache (pronounced "gwash") is French and derives from the Italian aguazzo (=mud), both referring to an opaque water color. However, this type of color is distinctively different from water color: it consists of pigment and a binding agent (usually Arabic gum), as water color does, but (unlike water color) the main difference is the following. The particles are larger, the ratio of pigment to water is higher and, in addition, chalk is also present: the result is the "opaque" character of this painting medium.

The technique appeared first in Medieval times, in the decorative embellishments of illuminated manuscripts. The German artist Albrecht Dürer (16th Century) used this medium in his nature paintings. During the 17th century, gouache was introduced to England. Topographical artists started using this method from around 1740.

Opaque techniques flourished during Impressionism and Post-Impressionism: the artists were fascinated by the medium and its brilliance of color, and started using it extensively. After the first world war, and around 1930, the medium improved significantly and the result was the "Designers Opaque Water Color". New approaches to gouache painting techniques flourished, as the medium started gaining momentum among designers.

Techniques of Painting: Gouache

Some paints under the name of "designers gouache" are made without any added white pigment! The opaque characteristic is achieved purely by a concentrated pure pigment in a watercolor vehicle. Gouache is definitely an opaque watercolor paint

Some of my Personal Gouache painting Techniques

I will highlight some of the techniques I use through examples of my works.

The first gouache painting I will discuss carries the title My Coffee Mug. I am particularly fond of this painting for two reasons: first, the particular mug was my favorite one throughout my studies at the University of Iowa! It was black-and-white, had a wonderful shape that was distinct yet easy to hold, and its large black "stains" (on a white surface) reminded me of the Iowa...cows (of which all of us, "outsiders", used to make loving jokes!!!). The second reason for my liking it is fairly simple: the painting achieves, in a very direct way, what I wanted to depict!

My Coffee Mug

The fact is that this painting, My Coffee Mug demonstrates my personal gouache painting techniques used upon this medium.

The "mug" was painted first against the natural background of the white paper! I did this directly with a brush, no pre-sketches underneath: I find this way of working very gratifying. Of course, the "black dots" (of the original mug) were altered to fit the instinct of the moment. I then added lash/thick lines of yellow, blue, and red and accentuated the contours of the mug by adding red around. Finally, I gave more "character" to the painting through the strong black brushes and some finishing touches of white (this way, the white of the paper became a structural component!).

Some technical details: as you can see, one can have perfect white surfaces painted on a black background! The medium dries very quickly, so this is easy to achieve.

One more thing: I do NOT use white to make colors lighter(as the "gouache guides" describe): instead, I use more...water! This means that gouache paint can be worked with the watercolor techniques as well!

The second painting I will be showing you is called Spermatikos Logos: it is a favorite work of mine and I have used it extensively for designing industrial products as well! But, to save some space here, please click on the appropriate link below that brings you to the page dedicated to it:

Spermatikos Logos

More works will be analyzed in time and will be available on this website! And more tips concerning the gouache painting techniques will be posted. Just stay in touch!!!

Gouache Painting Techniques: Gouache vs Watercolor

Gouache creates flat color areas without any flaws: this is rather difficult to achieve with watercolors.

Unlike watercolor, the paint covers all layers below it. This makes the painting process easier, as it feels more direct. For example: when painting flowers with watercolors, a darker background must be carefully painted around the flower. However, with gouache, this is not the case: one can paint light colors on top of darker ones! This is one of the most outstanding gouache painting techniques that brings this paint closer to that of oil painting. And this capability makes this medium quite unique.

Further highlights of gouache painting techniques: only a very small amount of paint is needed to create a thick paint layer! As commented above, the paint can be applied on both a white or colored background, without affecting the intended color density.

The lightening of colors is created by adding white pigment, and not by adding more water (as in the 'water-dilution' watercolor technique).

Gouache paint is not absorbed into the paper, unlike watercolor. This means that some textural effects are possible. However, if too much paint is used, there is always the danger of the "cracking" of the surface.

Due to the above described characteristics, the medium is preferred by designers. dealing more and more with the specifics of the gouache painting techniques has led artists to pick this medium as one of their strongly preferred ones. It is also a favorite among architects and commercial artists, as this medium can be photographed and reproduced very effectively.

Fine artists must be very careful in their choice of paints: not all brands include the pigment information on their labels. Some of the colors may not last!

More Gouache Links

NEWS: East End Arts offers five class watercolor workshop

East End Arts is offering a five class workshop to help artists learn fresh techniques to add to their watercolor toolboxes.

Each week instructor Andrea Cote will help participants learn fresh techniques to add to their watercolor toolboxes. Artists will learn new ways to work with pigments, grounds, translucency and opacity and integrating the press.

The class is open to experimental beginners as well as watercolorists wishing to go further.

Classes will be held Wednesdays, May 11, 18, 25, June 1, 8, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the East End Arts complex.

Cost per session: $210 EEA members / $300 non-members

Additional materials fee paid to the instructor. Please call 631-369-2171 to find out materials fee amounts for the courses you are interested in.

Preregistration necessary. Click here to register online. To start registering for classes online at the discounted member rates, click the link to begin registering for classes and be sure to add your membership level when checking out.

If already a member and new to online class registration, please call 631-369-2171 to confirm your online account is set-up to register at the discounted member rates.

Source: Press release issued by East End Arts dated April 27, 2016.

NEWS: 60 watercolor paintings showcased

Damascus, SANA – Syrian Plastic Artists Union organized an exhibition at al-Shaab Art Gallery in Damascus showcasing 60 paintings by artist Fouad Abu Turabeh who used different watercolor techniques.

Abu Turabeh, who selected the phrase “Souria Ya Habibati” (Syria My Love) to be the title of his exhibition, mainly depended on the engraving technique and used grey, white and black colors as background for his paintings.

In a statement to SANA Cultural Bulletin, Abu Turabeh said that the Syrian crisis has affected all aspects of Syrian life, including arts, and as an artist I attempted to depict the repercussions of the unjust war waged on my country from my own perspective.

He said that the spread of visual culture nowadays has contributed to the growing interest in color as the main element to express the artist’s feelings and ideas, adding that his paintings are a combination of color drawing and engraving techniques.

For his part, Head of the Syrian Plastic Artists Union, Ehssan al-A’r, underlined Abu Turabeh’s success in utilizing colors to document the current crisis and its repercussions on all levels, indicating to the diversity of painting techniques such acrylics, pastels and oil paints which Abu Turabeh used in his artworks.

Artist Fouad Abu Turabeh was born in Salkhad in Sweida province 1954 and graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus in 1980. He is member of the Syrian Plastic Artists Union and works as a lecturer in the second faculty of Fine Arts in Sweida. He participated in several solo and group art exhibitions inside Syria and abroad. His artworks are owned as private collections in Syria, Netherland, Fenland and Germany.

R.Raslan / Ghossoun

Recent Articles

  1. Art Licensing Agents: List of 40+ USA and UK and European Agencies

    Apr 07, 24 12:34 PM

    Art Licensing Agents. What They Are and Why Do Artists Need Them. List of Over 60 USA and UK Art Licensing Agencies.

    Read More

  2. Social Links: Social media.

    Mar 06, 24 08:24 AM

    Social Links: Social Media. Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Soundcloud, Pinterest.

    Read More

  3. Projections Split. A Composition for large orchestra.

    Oct 26, 23 08:49 PM

    Projections Split. A Composition for Large Orchestra.

    Read More