Thursday, December 29, 2011

Masters' Copies to Experiment with Acrylic Gouache

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After seeing and critiquing students' work at reviews at MassArt (where I teach), especially juniors and seniors, I was inspired to get back to experimentation and look for ways to enhance my painting technique. I usually use watercolor and gouache, but I always felt that there are several issues I wasn't completely satisfied with this media. I knew that the window of opportunity to experiment uninterrupted was short, between upcoming working on the finishes for one of the jobs and preparing for classes for next semester. Instead of recuperating from the semester, I jumped right into the experimentation stage.
This time I decided to do some copies of the masters, to focus solely on painting technique. I didn't care about staying too close to the colors, I wanted to have them a little brighter, more suitable for children's book illustration. I experimented with acrylic gouache and I love it. It can look like watercolor (transparent approach) or it can look like gouache (more opaque approach). Overall, it just seems very steady, very reliable and pleasant to work with. I combined different materials through trial and error and came up with some unexpected and excitedly surprising results. I tried different supports, but I kept coming back to Arches 140lbs cold-press watercolor paper. It seemed to be pretty much the best choice for me regardless of the technique I used.

This was my first study. I used Holbein Acrylic Gouache in a opaque fashion on watercolor board. I didn't figure out the best way to blend color except for dry brush techniques. I didn't quite find watercolor board that good to work on. My experiments continued.




In this study I used Holbein Acrylic Gouache in a opaque fashion on Arches 140lbs cold-press watercolor paper. I also used a little bit of Winsor & Newton Watercolor Blending Medium. Afterwords, I applied Liquitex Gloss Medium diluted with water on top of the painting. The colors became a little brighter and the brushstrokes seemed to visually blend better.



I used Prismacolor brown pencil for the drawing on Arches 140lbs cold-press watercolor paper. Then I used Holbein Acrylic Gouache the same way I would use watercolor. The washes where very smooth and flat. I could work on the face in as many transparent layers as I pleased without disturbing the layers underneath (they become permanent and cannot be reactivated with water).


In this study I decided to use Holbein Acrylic Gouache in a semi-opaque fashion and blend it while it was wet. The support was Arches 140lbs cold-press watercolor paper. I used a lot of Winsor & Newton Watercolor Blending Medium. It turned out to be a really great stuff. Even though I didn't use watercolor, but who cares, it worked. The paint stayed wet for a while and I could blend as much as I needed. Extremely happy with this discovery. Afterwords, I applied Liquitex Gloss Medium dilluted with water on top of the painting. The colors became a little brighter and the brushstrokes seemed to visually blend better. I really don't see any of the gouache perceived "chalkiness" in this study.



5 comments:

  1. Great post and inspiring master copies, I hope to crank out some Klimt master copies very soon

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  2. Awesome work, these experiments.

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  3. Great translation to your style. Even though they are master copies that have a distinct Katia-ness about them. Well done, they are beautiful!

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  4. Thanks for sharing your experiments. Each one is a jewel.

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  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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