Open relationship

14 September, 2019.

My relationship with gouache is complicated. I want to love it; my first thoughts as I begin to mix and lay down paint is that I think I want something exclusive. But it’s not long before my thoughts begin to wander. I fantasize about my pens and just a splash of watercolor. I mean, let’s be honest. Gouache makes you work hard. Pens are easy and forgiving. If I run out of water, or my paint dries too quickly, my pen is always there waiting, cooing seductively: Just a few lines, that’s all you need. It’s all you want.

Last night I painted in gouache at the Brush Creek Art Walk Friday Night Nocturne quick paint event. I felt like I needed to push myself, to do something really uncomfortable – so I packed gouache in my kit. But the paint dried on my palette so damn fast! It doesn’t really allow me to be splashy and spontaneous… it’s so… deliberate.

It really makes you wonder why in the world I decided to paint with the damn stuff again at this morning’s event.

Gouache on Stillman and Birn gray paper, glued to mat board.


  1. lepastelbleu · September 15

    Gouache is my favorite technique, almost nobody uses it. if you want a couple of tips I suggest you: use gouache of excellent quality, the best are the LINEL of Lefranc et Bourgeois; to delay drying time add a drop (very little!) of gum arabic to the water, this allows you to have greater elasticity in spreading and a longer drying time, it is easier to use the more diluted color. Third … don’t think of gouache like watercolor, they are diametrically opposed worlds. I hope the translation is understandable …

    • azorch · September 15

      Thank you for the suggestions. I’ve had difficulty finding a local supplier for Lefranc gouache, however the challenges seem to be less about the excellent paint I’m already using and more about the practitioner! šŸ™‚ Gouache has a “purposefulness” to it, whereas I tend to paint and draw more spontaneously. Gouache and I are often at odds with one another, which makes the challenge all the more frustrating and fun at the same time.

  2. lepastelbleu · September 15

    every painting technique adapts to a style, it’s very true! I try desperately to use Caran D’Ache pastels like you do but I absolutely can’t … it’s in my mind that I can’t do it. f you try to add gum arabic you will see that you can use the gouache quickly. Good challenge!

    • azorch · September 15

      I appreciate the suggestion. I have a bottle of gum arabic that has never been opened. I think I’ll give it a try today… thank you!

  3. lepastelbleu · September 15

    enjoy gouache!!

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