Gouache Dogs Part 1

October 7, 2011

See the post for complete details and additional images.

Above: Gouache dog, painted over Aquash brush (light black ink). In a handmade 11 x 8 inch journal made with Stonehenge Kraft.

Today a list seems the best approach:
1. People reading the blog know I'm quite taken with the Pentel Aquash brush pen which comes filled with waterproof, lightfast light black ink. If you enter the word "Aquash" in my blog's search engine you'll come up with links to lots of posts about it. I've been drawing with one daily since I first bought it (it's going to run out soon because I can hear less ink sloshing around in it, but it has had a productive life). That's the pen that I used to sketch this drawing. If you look on the muzzle, your see some remnants of the ink lines, not totally obscured by the gouache, also the ear tip, but wait, you could also just look at the sketch—because this time, unlike the other day, I remembered to take a photo of the sketch before I painted over it!

111005TanDogSketch2028 Left: photo of the sketch before paint was added (page color not adjusted—I just wanted to show you the lines).

2. I used several brands of gouache (listed later) and a large 3/4 inch filbert to paint this. I turn the brush on its edge to get fine lines. I was also working with out my glasses because I'm liking the sloppiness of that. There are some areas at the very end that I used a no. 12 round (highlights on the eyes—blue and then white; darkest area near dog's right eye).

3. I am working in a journal I made, as the caption says, with Stonehenge Kraft colored paper. I will be writing more about this paper in Monday's post. I do not recommend it for bookbinding. However, it is a lovely paper for painting with gouache if you are only going to use the sheets flat. Keep this in mind, and come back on Monday for specifics.

TanDogPalette2036 Right: the palette used for the painting which opens this post. The colors and brands are as follows: A—M. Graham (MG) Titanium white; B—Lukas Madder Lake Deep (a sort of low grade magenta); C—MG Cad. Orange (contaminated with white on the top); D—Lucas Cobalt (immitation); E—MG Raw Sienna; F—Schmincke Dark Indigo (contaminted with orange so it looks almost black in this image); G—Holbein Raw Sienna. This is the third day of using this palette with fresh A, C, E, and G put out just before painting. The other colors were 3 days old.

4. I took a photo of my palette (it's about 6 inches square) to show my color theory students, and while I won't go into all the reasons I picked the colors I picked in this post, I thought you would enjoy seeing the palette and knowing the colors I used for your own reference.

From the palette photo (not as crisp as I would like but I am having all sorts of trouble with the new little camera!) you'll see that lots of colors are contaminated with other colors. I wanted you to see that and get a sense that it isn't the end of the world when that happens. Even C contaminated with white isn't fatal. I can moisten a paper towel and wipe it clean after it is dry. But I would encourage you to keep your white paint out of your other paints as much as possible. C was already hard so it is only surface contamination.

At D you'll see some mixing of B with D for a purple. In lots of places you'll see mixing of orange and blue to get browns and neutrals. You only see a little bit of green. The green I mixed for use in the image was covered up after use.

111005TanDogGouacheDetail Left: detail of a portion of the dog's face so that you can see the brush strokes. Also if you look at the base of the ear and along the top of the muzzle, you'll see some of the original line work peeking through. I wasn't trying hard to obsure it. Also I think you might enjoy a close look at those filbert strokes.

I have written at length on this blog about my preference for M. Graham and Schmincke Gouache. I believe that they are the best gouache brands available today. (M. Graham would do well to add PB60 to its gouache line but you can't have everything in life and Project 640 Tubes doesn't seem to be going anywhere so…) Both use great pigments, mostly single pigments, and don't have fillers or chalky additives. They are great for mixing and blending.

I do have some other brands of gouache about the studio and as you can see from this and other recent paintings in my journals I have been using the paints up. For various reasons I do not recommend that you use the other brands for fine-art, archival purposes. If you just want to play with paint and are on a budget you can of course try other brands, but I think for the most part that's a false economy. I'm telling you this to steer you towards materials that will give you the best results. I purchased a bunch of paints, and continue over time to do so, to test. I like to use those paints up in my journal upon occasion, if they do what I need to have done. As always, use whatever you want to use to get the effect you want to get, but I have to point out here why I'm using something, so that you don't form an incorrect assumption. My use of any brands of gouache besides M. Graham and Schmincke, is NOT an endorsement. So if you stopped me on the street and asked me which brands to use I would simply say M. Graham or Schmincke are the gouache brands to use.

In the meantime it's back to more gouache paintings. I love that I have a color theory class going on right now. (I have taught 2 classes and there are 4 more coming up.) Whenever I teach color theory I find that I push myself to break into using different palettes and to just generally think about color in a more deliberate way that the rush of life doesn't always accommodate.

    • Miss T
    • October 7, 2011

    Beautiful all around, Roz — the painting, the sketch AND the palette. It’s hard to read of of your posts without jotting down the names of a few more colors I suddenly, desperately need!

    • Leslie Schramm
    • October 7, 2011

    Love the doggie; and I’m a cat bloke. Seen a museum of French Bulldog 19th Century dog collars on TV today, very strange. And I recommend reading the camera’s instruction book!!!,lol. Mine was huge and I thought 12 pages each for 20 different languages, but nope 240 pages of stuff. I still refer to it. I keep forgetting to reset the white balance, but that sometimes makes for a very different image. I did a terrible thing last week and washed out my watercolour pallette. I got a “bullet-proof” one and after 18 months of mostly daily use and a couple areas of fairly muddy blues stuck well on, it is back to spot-less, was very impressed. Looking forward to a few colour changes for the Autumnal weather.Favourite in the Schminke range is def. Purple Magenta, mixes all sorts of darks brilliantly

  1. Reply

    I like seeing him painted. I ordered one of these ink pens tonight. I needed something lighter than solid black today and didn’t have it. That clinched it for me and I ordered a pen from Jet Pens. I looked at WetPaint’s online catalog but they don’t have it there right now at any rate. It must be too new for them.

  2. Reply

    Just found your blog via a lot of surfing this morning……and so pleased I did. What a mine of useful information, thank you so much. I have just started a blog, am on a steep learning curve and hope to have one as accomplished and interesting as yours is, one day. Tho it is rather daunting, I must say… much info you include, wow….I am but a humble tutor and painter….

  3. Reply

    Timaree, I got my Aquash with light black ink at Wet Paint, so it isn’t too new for them. Sorry you couldn’t find it on their site. But thanks for trying to support an independent art supply store!

    I hope you have a great time with your brush pen.

  4. Reply

    Jackie, thanks for the kind words. I’m glad you find my blog has useful information. I wish you the best of luck with your blogging adventure.

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