Category: Gouache

A Hint of Autumn

Independence, CA

Well . . . I got tired of pen, ink, watercolor. Watercolor just wasn’t in my head, so I dug out my gouache paints. They were rather fuzzy from mold – typical of gouache if you don’t use them often enough – so, I rinsed them off, and went to work. I really like the photo I took of these trees but did not like my earlier efforts.

I started out so klutzy – like, how do I use my colors? order or painting? All the usual stuff that goes with not doing something for awhile. The result is far better than I thought it would be!

Too Much Lavender Land

Well . . . I haven’t painted in gouache for months, much less painted in weeks, all because I had my first cataract surgery several weeks ago, and my last two days ago. I think my scanner is way off as far as colors go as well as my monitors. This scanned image is not the picture I painted.

I pulled out a camera to take an image, but cannot find my card reader to fetch it. My whole computer needed to be reinstalled because of some bad software.

I suppose the good thing is to get some painting done, but it really feels dreary to look at this abomination. I shall be Scarlett O’Hara now and say, “After all, tomorrow is another day!”

Fog Monster

Coastal fog swoops in during the months of May and June. “May Grey” and “June Gloom” to be specific! It can make for a very dreary summer – I know as I used to live on the beach. Move a half mile inland, and sunshine abounds. The eco system along parts of California depend on the fog.

Hot press Arches 140# paper makes for a lot of fun scumbling paint and blending it with a hard brush. The paper held up very well to all the abuse I heaped upon its smooth surface.

More Roses

I enjoy watching videos on YouTube to see how other people paint or do things. This study is based on a video by Lena Rivo, a gouache artist I quite admire.

Roses are also a part of my own gardening – I have a number in bloom right now, although this year they seem a bit off . . . Nonetheless, painted or in bouquets or in the garden, roses are a delight to nearly all of us!

Spring in Hill Country

While we have not had much rain this year, the countryside still has fields of wildflowers, mostly lupines and poppies.

Today, I decided to just paint, not think too much, to see if I could get a good sense of value. I did a couple of paintings. I used hot press paper, whereas I normally use cold press when I paint. I tried two different brands, and the Arches won out.

Apricot & Cherries

Apricot & Cherries from “Color Mastery” course by Lena Rivo

This morning was the last day of our Pencil Portraits in the Park class, and it was sad and fun and productive. Hopefully our teacher will offer it again. As we are outdoors and all vaccinated, most of us go maskless. In the classroom, two hours of wearing masks would not be fun.

After class, a trip to the store and then home for lunch, a nap, afternoon coffee, and continuing the repeating of my following along with Lena Rivo in her “Color Mastery Essentials” class. For this study, she wants the student to see how things are done – give an overview to the novice – but as I have already a bit of experience, I followed, paused the video, painted, backtracked, and so on.

My study is not particularly elegant or well done, but the experience is what was important. I know more about color mixing, but the lessons also mentioned mixing the gouache directly on the paper, painting the main subjects first (guess what they were!), doing the shadows, and then painting the negative space – the background – around them. From there, refinement, such as stems, fixing shapes, etc. I decided to add some prints to the tablecloth in colors I had left on my palette, and rather like the way it pulled everything together a bit.

To be continued . . .

Carp Diem Gouachensis

A Study from Lena Rivo’s “Color Mastery” Class – Value Exercise

Awhile back I enrolled in an online class offered by a gouache artist, Lena Rivo, whose work I admire. The class is called “Color Mastery Essntials” and I have found it to be such a pleasure.

I have been painting with gouache since around 2019, and the first task was to get comfortable with the medium, learning its quirks. Every medium needs a level of study that comes simply through experience, and then, once experience is gained, refinement of that experience. Lena Rivo can be found on YouTube, painting in oils, acrylics, and gouache. Her style is simple, her colors are very clean and vibrant. Because mud is my middle name, I thought her class would be worth a try.

Was it? Most definitely. I have gone through nearly all the modules, and am doing them another time. This one is what caught my attention today – value. I really don’t see value but with the exercises in her class, values are becoming more and more visible. The above exercise was about values. The light colors of the fish contrast sharply with one another, some being darker and others being lighter than the water. Besides value, the question is what temperature do you see within the values? Warm? Cold? I never really thought about things this way.

If you want to see Lena Rivo’s work on YouTube, click here, and for her website, click here. There are free downloads about how to improve your art and an excellent guide for painting with gouache. A gallery of her work is eye candy, filled with beautiful colors. Flowers, people. landscapes, the sea and more are all represented here. You can also find links to her courses.

I won’t go into too many details of the class I enrolled in, as it is her class, but I will say I do recommend it. It is clear and logical, moving from simple to more complex. Topics covered include how to keep your colors vibrant, even in shadows, how to evaluate light and dark, and steps to take to evaluate what you see to create your own, original painting.

In all honesty, I tend to be skeptical about online learning, mostly because live online learning can be very poorly done. The same with a class that is prepared and self-paced by the student. Lena Rivo’s class is not dull, it is interesting, and full of important details that don’t overwhelm. Each lesson builds on the previous, and repeating modules effects learning more with each round.

I plan on continuing to repeat what I’ve already covered because I am seeing it again, with new and more experienced eyes.

Along the Fence Last Summer

I have been so busy these past few weeks with cleaning and rearranging my house, discarding this, donating that, setting up a sewing cabinet, having personal documents shredded, etc., etc., etc., that the idea of sitting down to paint is like craving that first cup of coffee in the morning – I need it!

Whew. When I opened my gouache box, the smell of mold was there. Gouache needs to be kept damp, and if not opened up and used on a regular (i.e. daily) basis, moldy it can become. It’s not my idea of a good time.

I just decided to paint, not caring what it smelled like – and an open window and a good breeze helps! I mixed up colors, mashed up this and that, and when I was done, took everything to the sink and ran the water as hot as I could. Now, all is soaking, and here is a painting based upon a photo I took awhile ago.