What period can be called the heyday of painting? You don’t have to be an expert to answer this question. Suffice it to recall the school lessons of the history of the Middle Ages, in which we enthusiastically got acquainted with the magnificent canvases of Italian masters. And at that time, the first mentions of a new opaque paint appeared, which later became known as “gouache”. First acquaintance with gouache Yes, don’t be surprised!
This simple, at first glance, paint was actively used by venerable artists many centuries ago. As the main material, it was used to create portrait miniatures. In other cases, gouache served as an auxiliary tool for painting canvases in a wide variety of genres. At the end of the 19th century, gouache was waiting for another rise in popularity. During this period, modernist movements began to grow in painting, for which gouache turned out to be an ideal material. In the twentieth century, gouache was used by many famous artists.
The reason for the attention of masters to gouache is easily explained. The point is the special composition of the paint, which gives it excellent properties.
Just like watercolor, it refers to water-based adhesive paints. Thanks to the addition of white, gouache becomes dense, loses transparency and acquires excellent hiding power. The variety of the palette of paint is due to the pigments that are introduced into the composition. This compound word is used to refer to a hard, transparent resin obtained from acacia.
On a canvas or palette, this type of paint is in many ways similar to watercolor, but in the process, it is more like oil or acrylic. Gouache paintings have a smooth and slightly velvety surface that looks soft and natural. Gouache dries quickly, so mistakes are corrected by applying a new layer of paint on top of the old one. If the strokes are too dense, the paint may crack. In such cases, it is better to strengthen it with the help of special compounds.
Nowadays, almost none of the paints on the market is used exclusively to create paintings. The expansion of the field of application is dictated by technological progress and our outlook, which covers not only classical art. As a result, manufacturers offer several types of gouache.
This type of paint belongs to the professional category, from which it can be assumed that it is he who is used by masters to create paintings. Artistic gouache is characterized by excellent hiding power, pleasant matte and velvety, as well as saturation of shades.
This type of paint is in many ways similar to artistic paint, but instead of white, kaolin is added to the poster gouache. Poster paint is lighter in weight than art paint, making it easier to paint large surfaces. The price of such gouache remains more affordable.
This type of gouache belongs to the category of decorative materials. It is distinguished from other types of paint by the presence of various effects: metallic, mother-of-pearl, gold, or silver. Fluorescent gouache, which is used to create special effects in the dark, is also popular. Some resources present a more extensive classification of gouache, highlighting paint for children’s creativity in a separate category. We will not do this, since, in fact, it is nothing more than poster gouache.
The set of the artist for working with gouache can be called standard. However, there are features that help make it more convenient and of high quality.
Since gouache has a higher density and viscosity than watercolor, you will have to put aside your favorite squirrel hair brushes. They will not be able to perform their tasks due to excessive softness. It is best to pick up a few brushes made of synthetic material. To fill the background and create large strokes, get a flat brush, for drawing small details – a thin contour brush, and, of course, do not forget about the universal round tool.
The best basis for gouache is paper or thicker cardboard. The choice is better to stop on rough paper, the adhesion of which is much higher than with smooth surfaces. If you work with diluted gouache, make sure that the base does not get too wet. This will deform the sheet. You can avoid this by securing the sheet to the tablet with special clips or masking tape. Paper is not the only basis for gouache. For work, you can use sheets of plywood, and also ordinary glass.
Classification of techniques by humidity
There are many techniques for working with gouache. It will take you a long time to master them, but the result is worth it! So, let’s start our acquaintance with the classification of techniques depending on the moisture content of the brush and base. It is not as extensive as watercolor, but certainly worthy of being noticed. Wet on dry – done with a damp or slightly dampened brush.
Gouache is applied to completely dry layers of paint, so that old strokes are completely covered with new ones. In this case, the color gradation should move from light to dark. The advantage of the method is the ability to create parts with clear contours and not washed out color. Wet on wet is a painting technique in which gouache is applied with a brush dipped in water to well-moistened paper.
When using this method, even an experienced master cannot be completely sure of the final result, since the paint is constantly in motion. From the master, when working wet on wet, accuracy in the choice of tones is required. Dry on dry is the method best suited for detailing and creating three-dimensional images.
During operation, the brush must be completely dry or well wrung out. In this case, you will be able to get strokes with an uneven texture, which can then be smoothed out with the next layer or slightly blurred.