Saturday, January 30, 2010
Watercolor & Gouache
Stapleton Kearns's blog, which you can get to from my links, has been discussing painting winter landscapes outdoors. Oils paints get very stiff in frigid temperatures, and I hate painting with cold hands. So, rather than standing outside and freezing, my alternative for doing winter landscapes is to paint from the comfort of my car with the heater on and the wipers going when necessary. I use a combination of transparent and opaque watercolors on toned paper. These samples are very small (usually 4"x6" or 5"x7"), and it is easier to do a small watercolor/gouache in the car, where water is the only medium sloshing around, than it is to do a small oil, where the smell of your solvent can be too strong in a confined space.
I have discovered other artists who do something similar. One is Erik Tiemens who has an inspiring blog called Virtual Gouache Land (great title), another is Nathan Fowkes, and also Marc Hanson (who I discovered on Facebook), Marc has a nice, little winter study from his car on his January 13th post.
Creating studies, using transparent and opaque watercolors, is not new. Turner, Whistler, Sargent, and Homer all used them, so don't let the modern notion of leaving the white of the paper, for your white, deter you from trying this delightful technique.
If you want to paint a winter scene (without freezing or resorting to painting from photographs), I suggest gouache and watercolor painting en car. :D