Playing with Gouache

My friend the artist Nina Khaschina gave me a lovely little gift a couple of weeks ago. A box of gouache paints set up just like her travel gouache kit. Of course, I had to put them to use immediately. As you can see from these next few pieces, it’ll take some learning to even start wrapping my head around ways to work with this new medium. But it is fun to switch it up every once in a while and do something totally different.

Piece #1, painted at Gamble Gardens in Palo Alto as soon as I got my new gift. Flummoxed is how it felt to try and paint with it. It shows in the work!gouache1.jpg

Piece #2 and 3, and I’m reverting to working watercolor-ish for my first layers and then going opaque on top.

I really started enjoying the medium when I pulled out some tinted paper. I guess working on tinted paper means I’m less likely to think ‘watercolor’ , which helps. These three pieces are from my regular Thursday figure drawing sessions.



Do you work in gouache? Or in gouache and watercolor? Any tips on going back and forth between the two media?


About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in california, Close to home, Everyday Sketches, Figure Drawing, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Playing with Gouache

  1. Ruth Kaldor says:

    I like to work with gouache while it’s wet so I take a paper towel and fold it up, and moisten it. Then I squeeze my colors out on top. The moisture in the towel keeps the paints fresh. I use a Guerilla Painter backpacker tray 4×6″ that has a cover to keep the paint fresh. Also toned paper helps me a lot too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 28pwilson says:

    I found Lena Rivo, an artist in Portugal, that has been an endless source of excellent information. She has fantastic YouTube videos, that is wonderful inspirational work. I struggled with keeping my paint fresh, and she had the answer for that as well. I was originally an oil painter that moved to watercolor, then added gouache. It’s definitely huge jumps in handling the 3. At first I tried to use gouache like watercolor. Big mistake. Only after studying Lenas YouTube videos did it sink in.
    I have a collection of gouache artists on a Pinterest file that is great to resource as well. Don’t give up on gouache! It just has a little learning curve! I’m loving your figures in gouache.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. my limited experience is to treat Gouache more like acrylic than watercolor. Question for all, can you fill pans with Gouache like we do with watercolor?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Liz astill says:

    Oh so sorry I’ll miss you Im at the Gamble gardens this morning!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Those are lovely. I love the palette.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your three figures from your Thursday class are wonderful. Not just bodies but personalities. Now I understand how you’re able to urban sketch with such skill – you work at it with other figure studies. I’m very impressed, Suhita.


    • Sharon, you are right: I find figure drawing, especially quick gesture drawing from dynamic short poses in life drawing sessions is key to my being able to understand and translate what happens so fleetingly in life into sketches. I suppose it’s like that with everything: drawing from photos and little still lifes at home informs on-location drawing, when response time needs to be super-quick.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sue Cowan says:

    How are you keeping your paint fresh?I don’t like having to squeeze fresh paint every time but love being able to use opaque on top of watercolour…always enjoy your posts with your expressive line and luscious colour

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue, the box Nina gave me (see link to her, you can contact her directly) seals and is deep enough that the squeezed paint sits at the bottom of each little compartment . If it dries up, I spray it with water ad it comes back to life.


  8. I really like your people, and the colours you used.

    Liked by 1 person

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