Monochromatic Still Life in Gouache

Gouache is hard, and it’s very different from oil. Gouache forces you to slow down, at least in my case with limited knowledge of the medium, and really think hard about the next stroke your going to make. I think it may be the best medium for training in painting, but to start out with I tried an easy still life in gouache only using black and white.

I did this painting in black and white to try and make it easier on myself with a new medium. I didn’t want to worry about anything but drawing, value and dealing with the nuances of the medium. I thought it would move around easier then it actually did and I found myself using lots more water to thin the paint then I originally thought would be necessary. Almost all of this small painting was built up in layers and I tried to save the opaque parts for last but my inexperience with the medium had me all over the place. In may places the paint became very thick and I felt that at times I was overworking the surface to a point that it would start breaking apart.

The great thing about gouache is that it can be re-wetted. Which is almost necessary if you want to smooth edges. So in this case its very similar to oil. But, whats going to be the hardest to get used to is the value change upon drying. Of course it dries very quickly, but putting down a stroke and watching it turn darker within seconds, and then realizing it’s the wrong value is frustrating. So, I’m back to my first statement. Gouache forces you to slow down and think about every stoke before you add it to the surface.

The Setup


The Subject


Session Details