Monday, February 13, 2012

Some watercolor sketches, and some gouache sketches.....

I purchased some Stillman and Birn sketchbooks with the intention of using them to figure out watercolor.  As I started to play around with them, I realized that even though the paper is extra heavyweight, it is not very condusive to watercolors.  At least not in a way that will help me to figure out watercolors.  Out of desperation I pulled out some gouache paint that I had laying around in my studio for years, and I mean years.  I never used them because I really didn't now what to do with them.  I had read somewhere that gouache works well on smooth, heavyweight paper, and the paper in this journal seemed it just might fit the bill.  So, I started painting a few thumbnails.  The first few paintings are watercolor, as they were the ones that "told me" that this paper wasn't going to work very well with watercolor.

This first one is a watercolor.  The paper in this journal just seems to let the watercolor "float" on top of the paper, and it doesn't want to allow clean, smooth washes or any type of glazing.  I got through it and finished this one, so it wasn't a total loss, just not what I was looking for.  I call this "Pomegrapples" because they look like a cross between a pomegranete and an apple.  They're suposed to be apples, but I'm not sure they really look like apples!  But, I like the colors, and being the color fiend I am, that makes me happy.

© by Christine DiMauro, all rights reserved.

This is another waterclor, and I was starting to get very frustrated.  I am happy with this, but the paint was not cooperating.  Again, issues with smooth washes and glazing.  I do like the way this turned out, I couldn't have achieved it on Arches cold press, so the experiment was a success in that I ended up with something I like.  I also began to realize that this paper and watercolors just might not work together, and I needed to figure out another wet medium to use in this sketchbook.

© by Christine DiMauro, all rights reserved.

Watercolor and ink, and lesson learned:  don't ink first!  It's too much like coloring in a coloring book.  I just may go back into this with some gouache, it may save it.  Right now I'm not happy with it, but this was a turning point for me.  I now know that watercolor and this paper were not a match made in heaven.

© by Christine DiMauro, all rights reserved.

This is my first gouache.  Much better, the paper and the paint liked each other very much.  I've never painted with gouache before, and I found myself really liking it.  It is similar to pastels in that is an opaque medium, so my brain wasn't going into opposite mode like it does with watercolors...... a good thing.  I felt so positive about this one.  I know it's not perfect, but for a first gouache it's not too bad.  I liked how the paint worked with the paper and now I'm thinking, "this may work, I need to try it again!"

© by Christine DiMauro, all rights reserved.

Another gouache, and now I'm really thinking this could be a great medium to use in sketchbooks for color thumbnails!  Yes, I am one happy camper right now.  I can see this one and the tree done in a pastel on a larger scale.  It's nice to be able to work out a painting in a color thumbnail and imagine it as a pastel.  Pastels are not condusive to sketchbooks, the smudge factor is just too much of a pain.  So, discovering gouache is turning out to be such a plus, I'm very excited!

© by Christine DiMauro, all rights reserved.

I'm really lovin' this gouache, who knew?  I've always wanted to paint this scene, it is from a photo I took at a local state park called Sunken Meadow.  This area is a bird sanctuary, and is quite beautiful.  I could do this in pastel too, and now I have a road map of how I think I want to approach it.  I also think I will add a bird somewhere.  Oh happy days.....

© by Christine DiMauro, all rights reserved.


Sara Mathewson said...

Chris, It looks like this paper is more like hot press wc paper. i use both hot press and cold press and the results are very different. I like your watercolors but I know that it can be frustrating to work on that kind of surface. You get more unexpected surprises I think. Your gouache paintings really do work well on this paper though I have to say. What kind of gouache are you using? Pans or tubes? And if you don't mind my asking what brand/s? I am really going to have to try gouache. It looks like a lot of fun. i love my pastels and watercolors but this is something similar yet different!

Christine DiMauro said...

You know, it really seems that way Sara. It isn't quite as smooth as the hot press paper, but it acts very much the same. I much prefer the gouache on this paper, so that is what I'm going to use it for. These paintings were done with some very old W&N gouache. The paints had gotten dried up on the palette, so I sprayed them with water and I was able to manage the paint again. I went ahead and bought some M Graham gouache, but I haven't had the time to try them out yet. I'm itching to play with them though. As soon as I do I'll post my findings here. I expect that I'll like them based on the write ups I've read. If you love watercolor and pastel, I would think you would love gouache. Gouache almost feels like a wet version of pastels, crazy as that sounds. I recently bought some Arches cold press sketch pads so that I could still use my watercolors in sketchbooks. I know I like that paper for watercolor, and I figured why struggle with something I didn't like? I'll have separate sketchbooks for the watercolors and gouache. This much fun should be illegal! Thanks again for stopping by, you're so nice!