Focus on Planes of Value

Ok, I really like this little painting and I’m starting to really enjoy gouache now. After painting in oil for so long I have finally adjusted my thinking when approaching a gouache painting and I think these planes of value are a great representation of how to approach the medium.

Oil paint is not always about blending, of course it can be achieved easily, but we all have seen many master works based on broken bits of color (Seurat, Van Gogh). So the great thing about oil paint is the easy in which you can achieve these methods but Gouache on the other hand is a bit more difficult.

Gouache is opaque and it dries almost instantly, but it can be blended, either by using washes or by re-wetting the already dried paint. I do love this about gouache, its easy to re-wet with a small amount of water on the brush and blend in small areas. But, I think the medium excels in distinct planes of value or color. Gouache kind of forces me to work this way, I look at a shape, analyze it’s qualities then put it down, then I go on to the shape next to it. It may seem a bit tedious to most, but I have always liked putting puzzles together…

My Setup of a Paper ball with planes of value

gouache painting with a focus on planes of value

The paper ball

a paper ball clearly showing planes of value

Session Details

  • Session: 953
  • Work: 805
  • Width: 4"
  • Height: 6"
  • Medium: Gouache
  • Location: Still life in apartment
  • Art Time: 2.5
  • Creative Time:



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Christopher Beaven

Christopher Beaven

I am an Artist and a programmer currently living in the amazing state of Washington. I have a passion for art, but I'm stubborn as hell with it. My day is complete only when I do some piece of art each day, no matter how small. "There was a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish, it was so fragile."

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One Response

  1. I sure like the idea of a balled up paper for a value study. Going to try that myself. using gouache for the first time. I like the simplicity and drying time, especially for plein air.

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