Gouache paint is not as popular as oil or acrylic medium, but it has its fans between modern artists. It is also widely used to learn to paint before starting to work with oil or acrylic paint. Gouache is a popular medium for design works - comics, posters, illustrations etc.
This paint consists of various pigments, binding agent (mostly it is arabic gum) and sometimes additional elements. It can be difficult to match colors as dark ones become lighter when dry, and vice versa.
History of gouache paint
Most historians think that word “gouache” comes from Italian guazzo, but the medium itself is known since Ancient Greece times. In Eastern and European countries it was the most popular medium for miniature portrait painting.
It has never been the most popular medium, but many artists used it as additional one. For example, Henri Matisse used it in his “Blue Nudes” series, and in the United States examples of gouache use can be found on Ben Shahn’s panel painting.
Main advantages of the medium
Gouache is very similar to watercolor in many ways but it is more opaque. In some types of gouache can be found such elements as chalk so it makes the paint a little heavier. Artists find four main advantages of gouache paint:
- thank to its opacity the paint covers all the brushstrokes;
- it dries quickly and forms a matt surface;
- the medium can be applied on any thickness - from impasto to extra thin;
- the variety of colors is incredible and include also fluorescent and metallic colors.
Because of its quick drying feature plein air artists tend to choose gouache.
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