I borrowed this phrase from the recently deceased Canadian painter Robert Genn who believed that there is only so much we can learn about how to paint from the many fine instructors and resources available today. The true learning comes from going off on our own and just doing it - Go to your room!

I have had the good fortune to take instruction from outstanding artists in Canada and the USA. I continue to work on my own development ( Going to MY room!) . I share, through this blog and workshops, what I have learned and what others have shared with me.

I created this blog primarily for those attending my workshops to keep in touch and to further share as we grow together. If others are interested in following that would be great.

Enjoy the journey.

Wednesday 15 July 2020

More gouache learning

Lake Shapes   quick gouache sketch on mdf  6x12
I continue to work in gouache, both in-studio and plein air. I am really enjoying the simplicity of it for small sketches and think that the small plein air kit I have put together is going to be my go-to kit for travel.  Also, the medium seems suited to my growing interest towards more stylized work with bold brushstrokes.  It also suits my apparent need to work quickly .

I have been working on watercolour paper, on Canson Illustration Board, on MDF board and on Multi-Media Board. Each brings a unique working experience.  I am also applying Liquatex Clear Gesso on many of the boards to add tooth.  I am experimenting with thin transparent first layers then adding the whites and other opaques for second layers. As a thin layer it feels and looks like the transparency of watercolours.

I still want to be able to frame without glass and so continue to experiment with different finishes looking for those that do no re-activate the paint. The hair spray, two to three layers, does a reasonably good job, but if I am aggressive with water I can reactivate areas. The acrylic polymer also creates a secure finish but if I over-brush the application it will blur some edges.

The best spray fixative so far has been Krylons Kaymar Varnish which is not as difficult to work with as others tried and has done a good job sealing the surface.

Using Kamar Varnish out of doors 

My Saskatchewan friend and artist, Delee Grant, recommended I try cold wax medium. Have some in BC but did not want to buy more in Ontario. So wondered what else might be like wax, thick with a low moisture content. I looked up and was staring right at a jar of  acrylic heavy body matt gel. I tried it and if applied carefully it works great to secure the paint while still leaving a mat finish associated with gouache.

Another change is I replaced my StayWet palette box with 9x12 disposable palette paper. An added move to simplicity.

I have been asked about the palette box I am using and purchased on Amazon. I am working with dried gouache that reactivates as needed - so no worry about drying out and I have been working some in full sun.

Using fine Sharpie pen for sketch   on water colour paper

8x10 on illustration board

Quick sketches on water colour paper

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