Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Painting with Gouache Tutorial
I love working with gouache which is an opaque form of watercolor. I love the opacity and I love it's ability to function like transparent watercolor as well. I have created this loose tutorial on how to paint using gouache, where you will come along for the painting ride, while listening to my thoughts on how to evaluate the inspiration and approach painting a bird, in this case a Red Breasted Nuthatch.
The photo I am using was taken by Gerry Sibell (and I am using it with permission). It was originally published on the Birder's World forum and then picked up by the December 2010 issue of the magazine.
I am using M. Graham gouache, though your need not run out and purchase a whole set, you can use whatever paint you have on hand and utilize just the techniques and ideas present in video and word. I am workin on 140lb. watercolor paper, whose manufacturer I have forgotten, though I am pretty sure it is hot press which means the paper has a flatter, smoother surface.
And here is my secret: I strive for every page to be perfect. Every-single-page, page-after-page (there are some crappy pages here and there). I will not apologize for this. BUT. I will tell you that this has taken me years and years of practice. This is not inborn talent. This is trial and error and a lot of swearing and acceptance and page turning. And you too can put the time in to creating beautiful pages. Remind yourself that your shoes are unique, talented and directed on a path that is as unique and individualized as you are.
When I first started working in a journal I was turned on by the freedom and spontaneity of Sabrina Ward-Harrison and she came to my hometown for a book signing. I brought my book and sat through her talk and waited to have my book signed. When there was a question answering period I asked if every page, one after the other was as nice as seen in the pages of her book. Her answer was, 'No!' I swore to myself to make every page of my journal as pretty, intense, artful as I possibly could. Silly as this may seem, this is where the drive started.
I use my journals as inspiration for further exploration in fiber. I will often work on a single image mutiple times, so after this Red Breasted Nuthatch is complete, I might trace him, glue him onto another page and reinterpret his figure in another light- who knows, I might work with the idea of creating a Klimt-like interpretation, highly decorative with geometrics, or I might try collage with trace paper overlay. The point is that I will work with the image until I truely understand the bird, it's gesture, color and line. It's fun.
I hope you will keep checking in for more installments in this series. I have yet to complete my Highly Prized page but will soon.