Gouache is a type of paint that is similar to watercolour but has additional properties that make it distinct. It is an opaque watercolour paint, meaning that it contains white pigment and dries to a matte finish, allowing for better coverage compared to traditional transparent watercolours.
Key characteristics of gouache paint:
Opacity: Gouache is known for its opacity, which means it can effectively cover underlying layers. This makes it suitable for techniques where you want to hide or modify previous layers of paint.
Water Solubility: Like watercolor, gouache is water-soluble. It can be diluted with water to create a more transparent effect, similar to watercolor techniques, or applied more thickly for a more opaque result.
Matte Finish: Gouache dries to a matte finish, giving it a distinct appearance. This can be different from the glossier finish of some other types of paint.
Versatility: Gouache is versatile and can be used in various art applications, including illustration, design, and fine art. It is often used for creating detailed and vibrant artworks.
Reactivation: One unique feature of gouache is that it can be reactivated with water even after it has dried. This allows for reworking and blending colors on the painting surface.
Artists often choose gouache for its ability to provide both opaque and transparent effects, making it suitable for a wide range of artistic styles and techniques. It's a popular choice for artists who want the flexibility of watercolor with the added benefit of opacity.
Gouache is an excellent choice for beginners due to its forgiving nature. Its opacity allows for easy correction and layering, providing beginners with the flexibility to experiment and make adjustments. The versatility of gouache is another advantage, as it can be used in both opaque and transparent applications. This enables beginners to explore various techniques, from creating thin washes reminiscent of watercolor to applying thicker, more opaque layers. The medium's quick drying time and the ability to layer without waiting for complete drying make it particularly accessible for those who want to work continuously. Additionally, the matte finish of dried gouache contributes to a visually distinctive quality, setting it apart from other paint finishes. Overall, gouache's adjustability, accessibility, and unique characteristics make it a welcoming choice for beginners looking to explore the world of painting.
While gouache has its advantages, it's important to note that every artist has their preferences, and the best medium for a beginner ultimately depends on individual interests and goals. Some beginners may also choose to explore watercolour or acrylic paint, which have their own sets of characteristics and advantages. Starting with the medium that you find most enjoyable and comfortable is key to developing your skills and artistic style.
Gouache is traditionally used on paper rather than canvas. Paper provides a more absorbent surface that works well with the water-based properties of gouache. The matte finish of gouache complements the texture of paper, resulting in a cohesive and visually appealing effect.
Canvas, on the other hand, is commonly associated with acrylic and oil paints. The texture of canvas can be less receptive to the water-based nature of gouache, and the absorbency might not be as optimal as on paper. Additionally, the flexibility of canvas can lead to issues with cracking if gouache is applied too thickly.
That being said, artists are known for experimenting with different surfaces, and some may choose to use gouache on specially prepared canvases or canvas boards. If you decide to try gouache on canvas, it's advisable to choose a canvas that has been primed or treated to enhance its suitability for water-based paints. However, for traditional use and optimal results, paper remains the preferred surface for gouache painting.