I really enjoyed working with pen and watercolour last year, but I missed gouache, so I used some (actually all. And then some) of the money I was given for Christmas to buy some new M. Graham gouache, and it arrived yesterday. Why the M. Graham? I like to keep my gouache in an airtight watercolour palette so that it’s ready when inspiration strikes. However I’ve found that most of the brands I’ve tried dry out in a week or two. The M. Graham paints have honey in them which apparently helps them to stay moist a lot longer. We’ll see!
As I’m getting over a virus, going somewhere to paint wasn’t an option so I picked a corner of our front garden that has an interesting pile of rocks and an overhanging tree. I drew it first with a Pilot V-Ball pen because I didn’t need particularly interesting lines (they’re mostly going to get covered by the opaque gouache), and then I went straight into it with paint. You’ll notice that the perspective is horribly off – like I said, I’m not well, but also, this was just about having something to paint over. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking with it.
I want to digress slightly and add that I recently re-watched James Gurney’s “Gouache in the wild” video. Like any good art tutorial video, there always seems to be some new tip I haven’t picked up on in previous viewings. This time it was that when painting sunlight it’s best to paint the darks darker than they appear, and the lights lighter. So that’s what I aimed to try in this painting.
I quite like how the painting came out – perhaps the sky is a little too aggressively blue but I do like bold colour. I have to say that I just adore the M. Graham paints – they flow beautifully but they also re-wet really nicely for edge softening (apparently, that’s due to the honey). I look forward to working with them a lot more!
This is in my Daler-Rowney 150gsm A5 sketchbook, which I expect you’ll be seeing a lot of in coming months!