Landscapes in Gouache Paint – New Experiments

An atmospheric view of the sunrise over the sea in tones of greys and blues.

This is my first attempt at a very small painting in my experiments on landscapes in gouache, 6 by 4 inch. You see, I watched a lot of great videos online about this medium . And I was very impressed by the amount of beautiful detail in these little paintings. So, here’s my first try – just ignore the botched border . ( I’ve had some issues with the tape I used, anyone got a good recommendation? ) Anyway, this photo was given to me by a friend and it’s a sunrise scene from New Zealand. Actually, I also tried to concentrate on tonality, and I struggled with the different tones in the cliffs and hills. But, it was a good exercise and I think I did learn a bit about seeing the values of colours in the landscape Just to make it clear, this means identifying where the shadows and colours are light, darker and darkest.

A Second Attempt – Landscapes in Gouache

Down the River

As you can see, this was the second of my landscapes in gouache on a smaller scale. In fact, it’s one more super scene from a trip to New Zealand. And again, I foolishly set myself two challenges on this. Firstly, the small size (6 by 4 inch ) and secondly how to capture the quality of light on the water. To be honest, working in this way tends to make me paint more tightly and carefully. And that’s not really my style but, again, I did call this a series of experiments. Realistically, I can see how my practice on the tones of faraway hills did help here. As did the use of white gouache to create convincing water in this wide river !

A bright, cheerful gouache painting of a small stream, shaded by trees in a sunlit wood.
The Brook in the Wood

Finally, in this piece, I treated myself to a slightly larger sheet of paper 6.5 by 6.5 inch ( in a mixed media journal). The photo is by Nicola Soricelli Boerer on Artists Free Reference Photos. I must admit, I do feel a bit more comfortable with the paint now. However, I’m still learning all the time about how to paint layers without making mud! To explain, the paint never dries which makes washes and detail over a previous layer tricky ! But, I must confess, I find it quite addictive and I’m looking forward to more experiments. If you want to know more, there is a good video by Sarah Burns here .If you want to see a wood that is atmospheric in a different way (The Boy and the Bird ) have a look at my Gallery here. In fact, I almost included this one in my Halloween post here , but then I thought that might have been a bit over the top!

11 Replies to “Landscapes in Gouache Paint – New Experiments”

  1. These are all so lovely! In addition to the mud issue I have been trying to get more sense of light into my gouache work. I use hairspray before the final highlights which I often do in a second session. Your NZ paintings are so fresh and light. I will enjoy them on my big monitor soon

    1. Thank you so much ! I was short of a good yellow in my set of gouache colours, so I sent for a nice bright one and I did splash it about a bit in the woodland scene !

  2. Congrats, you certainly seem to be getting the feel of gouache, a medium I haven’t tried, yet. I love the light you have in the last painting, will now check that video you recommend

    1. Thank you so much ! I must say, there is a lot of pleasure in using this medium .It’s not all problems ! I hope you enjoy the video. As you will see, Sarah has put a lot of good stuff on youtube.

  3. Can see and feel your progression to the Brook in the Woods, Margaret! I’ve mostly only used white gouache, super useful! Felt tons better ‘bout using it once I read John Singer Sargent used it – a lot, lol! I love watching New Zealand TV shows via Acorn TV here in Texas (800 Words, Brokenwood Mysteries, the Sounds, and, just started today – The Blue Rose. The scenery is incredible! Finally, wanted to be sure and say, seems in 3 paintings you’re approaching your work level in acrylics and in a softer more luminous way I think ❤️

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I agree that the scenery in New Zealand looks fantastic – I’ve never been . Yes, gouache does look soft and glowing and that’s why I like it.

Let me know what you think !