Still Life With Oranges in Gouache

I almost started a painting in oil tonight but the allure of Gouache convinced me otherwise. There is something about Gouache’s ability to force you into working slowly and methodically that I like. I’m sure at some point I will get tired of the tediousness and will escape to oil so I can barely look at my still life and throw some paint around, but for now I’m very happy with the Gouache painting that I completed.

It may be that the subject has such high contrast or that the photograph looks a bit better than the actually painting but I really like how this turned out. Although it’s not a good sign when the pictures look better than the actual work. There have been many times when I have painted a still life and the photos don’t do justice the the original work. I found this to be true with most of my “Elevating the Mundane” series.

So yesterday I continued my research into Gouache and I have found that there is a lot less resources out there then most mediums. If I was doing a search for oil painting on youtube I would get a million returns but, Gouache seems to be a very niche area where most artists never go. Nevertheless I found a few videos that were instructive and inspirational.

Youtube Research on Gouache

Here is a video by Scott Robertson working with Gouache of an illustration of an airplane. It’s not done entirely in Gouache, most of the plane is done with Copic Markers but it’s still nice to see someone working in Gouache for a bit, and with the blue background you can really see how the color/value of Gouache changes as it dries.


Now this next video was very inspiring. The artist starts out in watercolor then moves to Gouache and works very precisely with super small brush marks and produces an amazing painting of a bird. The detail is just amazing, it really reminds me of painting by Andrew Wyeth, a master of watercolor and tempera, two mediums not far from Gouache.


And of course, James Gurney. He’s an amazing artist and his Youtube video production is extremely well done. He is such a good artist and has so much experience that, like in this video, he sets up challenges for himself because “normal” painting in a controlled environment with a still life and all the colors has become way too easy for him.


Once again another artist proves that materials don’t really matter. Sometimes I think that if you have enough experience you could produce amazing representational works with a burnt piece of wood and cardboard. Which reminds me, here is Jamie Wyeth doing an amazing painting on cardboard…


Tonights painting materials

Enough of that, here are the details for the painting I did tonight. I’m working with M. Graham & Co. Gouache paints. I purchased a cheap set of 5 colors, just the basics so while I work with still life in Gouache I can also train in color theory. I’m not really sure if these are good paints so I may try a different brand when I run out of these.

  • Titanium White
  • Azo Yellow
  • Napthol Red
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Ivory Black

I was really lucky at the art store and I found two sample packs of 5″x7″ Crescent illustration boards. Each pack came with different types of their illustration boards so with each painting I can try out a different board and ultimately see which one I like best. Tonight I painted this still life on a Crescent 110 cold press illustration board. So far I’ve used the 300, 310 and 100 and as far as surface is concerned I can tell no difference but, the 110 I used tonight is thicker by far. I was thinking that it would bow less because it was thicker but it moved the same as all of the other thinner boards.

The brushes I’m using are super cheap and suck terribly. I think I purchased them years ago for a couple bucks. Their just synthetic flats and rounds, not work mentioning further. At some point I will pick up some better brushes.

Still Life and Canvas Setup

Still life with oranges in gouache setup

The Still Life

still life with oranges subject

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