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:
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. 🙂