Friday, February 10, 2017

Combining Gouache And Casein Paint







A long time ago (when I was a teenager), I purchased a book called Studio. In it were the works of four comic book artist who decided to put aside comics and create work to sell as prints and posters. Jeff Jones, Barry Windsor Smith, Mike Kaluta and Bernie Wrightson. Loved the book and still have my well loved and worn copy Somewhere in my closet). It was in those pages that I heard of the medium gouache for the first time. I purchased some tubes of the paint and began to use them on and off.

A short time after, while I was attending the High School of Art and Design in New York City I saw a teacher, Mr Doktor use the medium in an early morning paint group I used to attend. It was the first time I saw someone actually painting with gouache.

Although I worked more often with transparent watercolor and also oils, I would paint in gouache every now and then. I used it more often when my children were born because I was concerned about them, gouache was easier to put away and there were no solvents used. For many years I continued to use both gouache and transparent watercolor. Although I wanted to return to oils ( and I did every now and then) It was always easier to use the gouache.

Brief history of what I learned about using the medium
There were not many instructional booklets written about gouache at the time so I had to learn about the medium where I can. I learned how a lot of illustrators used gouache and one of the tricks they employed was to use it in combination with casein white. I think I read that about the illustrator Harry Anderson but it was something that was done by a lot of the old illustrators. I tried different papers and currently enjoy using Arches watercolor cold pressed art board (which is a sheet of arches watercolor paper mounted on an archival illustration board). After using Windsor and Newton Designer colors for years I switched to Turner gouache because that brand of paint covers better. I have also began using casein with gouache. I start out a painting in casein and finish it in gouache. This seems to help with some of the gouache colors looking too high key making the values jump. The casein under painting seems to mute the colors making the values easier to control. This was a recent change so I'm not entirely sure if this is what the casein is doing, but it looks promising.


Pretty recently the artist James Gurney started making instructional videos on watercolor, gouache and casein. These videos are very good as well as inexpensive. He also has a YouTube channel with some short segments from his videos. Artist Jeff Watts has online classes on painting in gouache at Watts Atelier as well as some excellent tutorials on his YouTube channel.

James Gurney videos here
Watts Atelier here

1 comment:

  1. I'm just now using gouache for the first time. I'm using it as a gateway to oils. At least that was the idea. They've definitely grown on me. I like the crisp quality they have. I also like that gouache forces me to make definite decisions about value. I am mostly sticking to grisaille pieces since I can concentrate on handling the medium without the isue of color. I'll look forward to more posts. Very nice figural piece.

    ReplyDelete