Gouache Dog

July 23, 2012


Left: Pentel Pocket Brush Pen sketch painted over with Schmincke gouache. On a piece of Hahnemühle Nostalgie paper that is approx. 8.5 x 11 inches. This is not paper meant for painting so it buckles a bit. I didn't have a weight on the sheet when I scanned it so there are shadowy areas at the left side because of buckling.

Why paint on a paper that isn't "fit to paint on"?

Why not?! Most of the papers I use aren't meant to be painted on, but I do it anyway because they make great bookbinding papers, I love the way the various pens I use work on the papers, and I've worked out ways to paint on them (typically by using less water in my paint mix, but it also involves not trying to do the same types of washes and melding I might use on a paper sized for wet media).

That's what's going on here. I have a paper, Hahnemühle Nostalgie, that is super smooth and fun to sketch on. And yet sometimes I like to paint over my sketches. I have always enjoyed painting on plate bristol so this is just a slight departure from that. I modify the amount of water I use and then I make sure that I don't work and work and work in a wet area, roughing up the paper. I let areas dry before moving in again. You learn what a paper can take or not take and act accordingly.

Here's a Belgian Sheepdog I sketched from a TV show. I used a 2-inch wide flat brush to lay in some color over the whole head and wiped it around with a paper towel, then I started building up layers, going back in when the paper could take some more work. I used a #10 round for the build up layers.

Working this way made me eager to get out and sketch chickens (see my Project Friday Post from last week) in a similar vein. Because I was inside when sketching this dog and there was low humidity, the paint dried much more quickly. I was able to take this painting to a more complete finish, if somewhat loose approach.

Experiment with some different papers and see how you can adapt your painting approach to those papers. A paper meant for drawing might just be waiting to become your favorite painting paper.

  1. Reply

    You got the look of alertness and intelligence with a paper towel? :))) You’re fearless! My son has a black Belgian shepherd, a rescue dog. He’s a creampuff when it comes to animals so it took her 5 minutes to be in control. They are super intelligent.
    Did you know the puffin chick passed away? There was much grief on the website. It really was sad.
    I got the Strathmore 500 journal. It’s so beautiful I’m nervous about marking it up.

  2. Reply

    Yes Molly, from Bounty, the Quicker Picker Upper!

    Actually the paper towel was only the first pass. You can see some of the swipes around the edges.

    But thank you for your kind words about this piece (I had hoped for alertness and a little softness too).

    All the Belgians I’ve known have been very intelligent (I have a friend who tracks with them).

    ACK. No I did not know that the puffin chick passes away. I think my in-town friends have not told me because they know I’ve been rushing to meet a deadline (which I did before I logged on this evening to look at emails). EEEK. I have to go be sad.

    Do not worry about marking up your new Strath. 500MM journal. Love it!!! Mess it up. Be fearless.

    • October 24, 2016

    Your dog, painted with gouache is just amazing. It is done with such sensitivity! Love it!

  3. Reply

    Thanks, I love painting black dogs with blue!

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