You know, I was actually trying to find an Australian Shelduck, hence the fiery sky in the background. Then when I went to look up some facts, I realized the Pixabay reference photo I was using was of a Ruddy Shelduck, who only visits Australia via the zoo.
Found in NW Africa and Ethiopia, with a breeding area in SE Europe across central Asia to SE China, this duck is your pretty average duck, although they have a honk and resemble a goose in the air.
Yesterday’s post discussed the difference between watercolor-based gouache and acrylic-based gouache, and I showed you a background that I did using the acyrlic gouache. Which I’ll show you again …
Why so many streaks? The brush used was really cheap (like 25 cents on a bargain table). I knew that most of it would be covered over.
The watercolor sketchbook I’m painting in is devoted to sheep (more about that later this week). When, I saw this reference photo, I knew I wanted to do a stylized version of it, and decided to use the acrylic gouache background for it.
This was the first time that I painted over acrylic gouache.
What did I like about it most?
I was able to get some fabulous textures! The surface is especially good for dry brushing.
What did I like about it least?
It was hard to get good detail because the brush drags on the surface and the paint didn’t want to move.
So, in essence, what I liked the most about this medium is also what I disliked the most. The acrylic medium creates a surface that is rough enough to create interesting textures, but also makes it hard to get detail.
Most of that background above was covered over, because I kept trying to fix things (kind of like the hair-stylist who keeps clipping your hair to even things out). However, the background colors did subtly enhance the finished painting.
I wish I hadn’t chosen to do this painting in my Mary Roff sketchbook. It is filled with Fabriano Artistico, which has beautiful properties for a watercolor paper. Those properties were wasted because the acrylic gouache.
Will I use this method again?
Oh yes. Now that I know how it reacts, I’ll plan accordingly. The acrylic gouache replaces whatever surface a paper naturally has – so I’ll choose a cheaper paper (or wood or cardboard or whatever) to paint on. When I paint over it – whether with either kind of gouache or watercolor, I’ll use paint fresh from the tube that will spread more easily.
So now you know what I know when it comes to acrylic gouache. I’m looking forward to learning more!
Just when you thought it was safe to come out of the store … queue music from Jaws!
Note that this painting was done on white paper, not black. I recently got a set of Acrylic Gouache and it includes a very rich dark black. So don’t have black paper? Make it black with acrylic gouache!
Acrylic gouache? AKA Acryl Gouache or Acryla Gouache. Yes. It is definitely different from Gouache or Designer’s Gouache.
It’s confusing, but important that you don’t confuse the two. The two mediums handle differently and cannot be mixed together from the tube. One can be painted over the other though, and finished paintings from either have similar qualities. Gouache is a form of watercolor paint, and Acrylic Gouache is acrylic paint. So, what does that mean?
If you have bought acrylics with a matte finish in the past, acrylic gouache is likely to be the same thing, just sold under a new name, because gouache is enjoying a comeback.
A list of the main differences:
What kind of paint?
Can it be rewet once dry?
Can you reuse paint dried on the palette?
Can you lift color off paper once dry?
Will colors mix if you paint wet over dry?
Can you paint over it with watercolor once it is dry?
Can you paint over it with gouache once it is dry?
Can you mix it with watercolor fresh from the tube?
Can the two kinds of gouache be mixed together fresh from the tube?
What kind of surface does the dried paint have
Matte, velvety VS the translucence of most watercolor
Matte, velvety VS the shiny, satin of most Acrylics
Why might you prefer one over the over? It’s the same issue as whether you prefer watercolor or acrylic.
What’s the main benefit of acrylic gouache over regular gouache? Because acrylic gouache has a matte surface, you can paint over it (once dry) with either watercolor or regular gouache. This means you can prep a background with acrylic gouache.
That means you can prep a page with a wash of acrylic gouache, let it dry, and then paint over it with watercolor or regular gouache. You can prep ahead, and then paint over the color minutes later (as long as it has dried) or months later.
Tomorrow, I’ll talk about the results I got from painting over this background.
Note: Gouache IS watercolor – but it isn’t as processed as long as the paint labeled as ‘watercolor’. To keep things simple, when I say watercolor, I mean non-gouache watercolor.
Wet Paint Art has a sale on a set of Holbein gouache paints at the moment. I’ve been wanting to try professional gouache and decided this was the time to get some. I haven’t had too much time to play with them yet, but I thought I’d show you the kind of play I do to test a new kind of paint.
I’m not much on making mix charts. I’d rather play. I’m playing but I’m also having a close conversation between just me and the gouache. I choose paper & brushes that I’m very used to – I know what they’ll do and can kind of ignore them. It doesn’t matter in the least how the finished page looks – this is a ‘getting to know you’ session, completely free form.
Gouache is generally not used with lots of water and not for loose flowing effects. So, of course, the first thing I do is soak a piece of Britannia watercolor paper and drop the paint in to see how it flows. I kept dropping in more paint as the first application dried.
It does very well – I can’t see any difference from the way watercolor would perform. Except – see down towards the lower left? Those are stripes of white gouache that I applied after the paint had almost dried. You wouldn’t get those white stripes with watercolor.
See the red fish-like thing toward the right bottom? I dropped in that red – wet into damp and I did get some spiking. Same with the pink in the middle. But I didn’t get any large blossoms – those rings of texture you often get with watercolor.
This painting will end up as the base or background for another painting someday.
My second test was to see how the colors blended with heavier applications of paint, wet on dry paper. I also play with layering paint, and lifting color – both while the paint is wet and later once it is dry.
All that lighter texture was achieved by tapping the edge of damp flat brush and lifting color. Wet or dry, the color lifted easily. Almost too much so. I know this is partially the paper. Hahnemühle Britannia is a good paper for lifting, but I wouldn’t be able to lift watercolor this easily – not even on this paper.
Now to the black paper.
It’s almost too easy to just get lost in the vibrancy of the color against the black! I just had too much fun swooping and swirling. I’m not sure I learned anything – I was having too much fun.
Okay, I think I must have learned something, because this painting just almost painted itself. This time I had a reference, though I only used it loosely.
I love the marks that a splayed flat brush makes with gouache on black paper and it really didn’t take much to turn those marks into ocean foam.
Truly. I just made swipes in the direction I wanted. Swop, swop, drag, swop, across the page. I dabbed with the tip for the flowers, and dragged the color downward for the rocks. Swop, swop, swop.
I kept adding more color on top of color, testing for opacity and how the colors mixed. I fussed longer than I should, deliberately, to see if I would get mud. I didn’t.
I’m trying to come up with an idea for a gouache tutorial that will post on Doodlewash. Perhaps something like this ocean scene? Or would something on white paper be better?