How do Artists Make Amazing Art with Gouache?

December 18, 2019

Minton Compote is an original gouache painting by the artist, Lynn Ponto Peterson

By Chelsea Reed

Gouache who? Yes, it’s a real word in the art world! Pronounced as “gwash,” gouache is a painting medium that’s related to the watercolor family. This water-based paint boasts a cream-like consistency, matte finish and vibrant saturation. Thicker than watercolor, more flexible than acrylic... Professional artists favor gouache for its versatility. It can mimic the look and feel of acrylic, watercolor, and even oil paints

So how do artists work with gouache paint to create beautiful paintings? Let’s explore and see!

Gouache: The “Poster Child” Medium

The Hare Always Lies Within the Sound of a Dog's Bark is a gouache on board painting by Debby Faulkner-Stevens.Gouache is a thick paste made from color pigment, water, and a binder glue that holds it together. The color particles are larger and more dense than those in watercolor paints. That’s how gouache gets its chalky opacity and stronger color saturation. Graphic designers, illustrators, comic artists, and animators use it for its bold colors. Fun fact: many posters and 20th century animation cells have gouache!

Like acrylic, gouache dries quickly and cleans with soap and water. But dry gouache does a neat trick that acrylic can’t do - it reworks with a wet brush. Gouache’s unique consistency layers and blends in many ways. It can paint dark on light, or light on dark. Artists smear gouache paint with a palette knife to create cool textures like oil paint. Gouache paint also thins with water to perform like watercolor pigments. Sponges, brushes, rags, and even twigs are sometimes used to create different effects.

Real Life Examples of Gouache

You can see more examples of the gouache medium here at Seaside Art Gallery’s website. Or, experience gouache’s beautiful matte finish for yourself inside the Gallery! We are currently featuring Calling All Angels, an Art Show showcasing gouache. Each painting is by the award winning artist Lynn Ponto Peterson. As always, you can shop the paintings online, in the Gallery or over the phone. Thanks for your patronage!

Chelsea Reed is a copywriter who writes online content, articles, blogs, and websites from her base in North Carolina.

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