“The Storm” Painting – Watercolour and Gouache

Today I made a painting using both watercolour and gouache.  It was quite hard to do.  I used watercolour fo the sky although it actually took several tries to get the sky how I wanted it.  The first ones ended up like this:


Goodness – what a mess!

I think I found it particularly hard because I’ve been working in gouache for a few days and with that medium, like with acrylics, you can, to a certain extent, paint your way out of trouble.  Not so with watercolour – either you make it or you don’t.  Clearly, at first,  I didn’t make it!  😀

Anyway, after throwing a couple away I managed to get the balance between water on the paper and paint density on my pallete right (ish).  As you can see on my failed sky above, I used masking tape to mark my horizon.  I found this really effective.

Once I’d painted the sky I began to paint the land using gouache.  I wanted to emphasise the effect you sometimes get when a storm is building where the sky appears dark and thundery but the land is bright and luminous.  To push this effect hard I decided to paint a yellow land – like you get in late spring when the oil-seed rape is in bloom.  I knew I wanted trees on the left but I needed a focal point too so I chose to paint a little church.  It’s odd because in my mind this painting was set in England, in Suffolk, where I have seen such a landscape (without the church) and yet the church I painted was one I saw years ago in Wisconsin in the US – it was made of wood and painted white with a lovely light blue roof.  Inside it was just plain white and full of sunlight – beautiful.  I think because of these memories it made a good contrast for me between the dark of the storm and the light of that particular building.

This is how the picture turned out:

Dark Light Landscape_WEB

I’m pretty pleased with it.  I think I’m always kind of drawn in by blues and yellows when they’re put togther.  They make up my favourite colour combination.  I also like it that the palette is a little restricted – no reds at all.  I enjoy that in a painting too.

All of that said I am beginning to be challenged by a question in my artistic adventures –

Should I follow this blossoming love of gouache or stick with watercolour? 

The gouache painting feels natural, almost native to me, as a means of expression, but it’s not a medium I known as well as watercolour and you can’t paint skies like the above with gouache (well I couldn’t anyway!!!).  I find watercolour very demanding but extremely rewarding.  However, with gouache I feel like, with some work and dedication, I could paint anything which is very exciting.


PS:  I am very pleased to say that I found my camera today!!!  I had stored it at the bottom of an old broom cupboard (why – I have no idea??) but now I’ve got it back.  It is so good to have a decent camera again and not have to struggle with my phone anymore.  🙂

foundmy camera


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