Friday, December 28, 2018

Painting In Gouache





A very, very long time ago I purchased a book called The Studio. It featured the work of four popular comic book artist. Out of the four the only one that I was really familiar with was Barry Windsor Smith because of his work on Conan the Barbarian for Marvel Comics. When I purchased the book I became a fan of all four artist, but especially of Bernie Wrightson.

 In the book there were pictures of the studio that they shared and pictures of the materials they used. In those pictures I noticed tubes of paint called gouache. I was curious and wanted to do work similar to what I saw in the book so I purchased some tubes of paint.

Shortly after I began learning how to paint from life in an early morning painting group I attended at the High School of Art and Design. I put aside the world of comic book art and began to learn about Rembrandt, Velazquez and Sargent among others. I continued to collect comics and enjoy the works of my favorite artists but when it came to learning how to paint and draw I began to pay more attention to the Fine Arts and Illustration and after years of working solely from imagination I began to work from life drawing and painting from the model and from nature.

I mostly worked in oils and watercolors alongside other students and three instructors, Irwin Greenberg, Max Ginsberg and Irv Docktor. The last instructor worked entirely in gouache. Although I continued to work in oils and watercolor I would use gouache on and off especially in my sketchbook.

Fast forward some years when I am a dad with two young boys and decided to put aside the oils in favor of watercolor and gouache which were easier to clean up and a lot safer to have around small children. I began to use gouache more often mostly because gouache allowed me to paint in a way that was similar to oils and because I really enjoyed using the medium.

I continue to use gouache today even after my kids have grown into young adults (late teens).

Gouache has a rich history. It is a medium which is older than oil paints andwas used by some very famous artist and illustrators. Artist like Menzel, Durer and Zorn as well as illustrators like John Gannam, Edwin Austin Abbey, Stevan Dohanos and Harry Anderson.

In the world of fine art I don't see any artist using the medium although I do see artist painting in casein which is similar to gouache and can be combined with gouache. I have seen that there are illustrators who continue to work in gouache. I like the medium so I plan to continue to use it.

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