Friday, March 4, 2016

A Valuable Study

Gouache seems kind of like an in between of watercolor and acrylic, neither of which I am an expert in, but I have more experience using watercolor. For this project, the journey was our main purpose. We merely had to mix the colors and see what we got.
Our initial step was to create 6 thumbnail sketches of designs. The shapes could be organic or geometric, so long as you ended up with about 50 separate shapes. I laid out 6 4x4 inch squares on a sheet of Bristol board and headed to the library for inspiration. I prefer to leaf through hefty art books to clicking around on Google any day. Of course, the design I chose to work from was actually inspired by the layout of hardwood flooring (I do work at a hardware store, after all.)

I also felt a little Yellow Brick Road vibe here. lol
Step 2 was to then finalize the design on a sheet of tracing paper that we were to use for our painting. I decided on an 8x8 inch final piece, so set up my design just a little bit larger. I have learned through working with Adobe Illustrator that this is referred to as a "bleed," not to be confused with a watercolor bleed.

I felt this final design was a bit more interesting.
I changed up the design by bringing the vanishing point to about 1/3 of the way down and 2/3 of the way to the right. The rule of thirds can apply to any composition, and my portfolio shows my obvious preference for placement in these 1/3, 2/3 sweet spots. We will get more in depth with the Rule of Thirds as we get more into composition.
For this piece, I merely used a ruler to draw lines radiating from my vanishing point, then placed alternating lines between them to create shapes. Be sure to draw lightly so you can completely cover the graphite with the paint. Yellows are very translucent, and you don't want pencil marks showing through. When using gouache, any decent watercolor brush will do. I use a variety of different brands, but mostly stick with my Windsor & Newton size 4 round. The paint I am using is Turner's acrylic gouache, available at Jerry's Artarama. If there is ever anything specific I can't find at Jerry's, I can always find it on Amazon. For this project, we are strictly mixing colors straight from the tube with other colors- no black or white. I have listed all necessary materials below.
This project is strictly for familiarity and experience. Don't worry about the design so much as pay attention to how the colors play together and lay on the paper. This was my first time using gouache as well, so the pictures show my lack of experience with it. It dries much faster than I expected, so I started spritzing my paint on the pallet regularly, though had to learn to lay the paint on thick to keep it opaque.  The nice thing about continuously adding water, however, is that it also virtually eliminates brush marks and leaves the painting nice and smooth. I was worried that gouache would be chalky and awful, but was pleasantly surprised to find it has a nice velvety feel instead. So, paint away. Have fun with this one and get acquainted with this versatile medium!


Designer's gouache (other colors are optional, but not necessary)
     Cyan Blue
     Ultramarine Blue
     Permanent Red
     Permanent Green (middle)
     Permanent Orange
     Permanent Yellow
Straight edge ruler (at least 18" with cork backing)
Bristol board 11x14
Tracing paper 11x14
Watercolor brushes (varying sizes)
Small spritz bottle (optional, though I find it helps the paint lay more smoothly and give you a bit more work time)
 Pallet knife
Pallet (disposable pad works great) 
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