Thursday, May 30, 2019

Experimenting: Gouache vs Transparent

Going back nearly 2 years ago, an image got stuck in my mind. If you are an artist, you probably get it -- you see something and you start thinking about how you could paint it. Then 14 months ago I became very influenced by the art I saw in Paris.  The confluence of these ideas continued to float around in my mind, but I have struggled to find the perfect way to create the painting I feel delivers the message in a skillful simplified and flattened way (the Paris influence).

The first attempt at turning these legs in a tree into a compelling painting was successful in some ways, but the composition was not great. There were parts of the photo that made sense, but did not hold true in my interpretation. I had used transparent watercolor, and although it is not entirely true that watercolors cannot be changed or adjusted, it is certainly more difficult.

Not long ago I decided to try an adjusted composition in gouache (opaque) watercolor. The look of gouache is quite different than transparent watercolor, which shows the texture of the paper underneath and has a definite "look" that no other paint has. However, in some ways, the gouache seemed to have more of the elements I was looking for.  It is much easier to create a flattened look. 

So here is the piece, painted with gouache.

I worked on the transparent painting today. By lifting and cropping, I was able to improve the composition and resolve some of the issues that bothered me.



Have you tried similar experiments? I'd love to hear your thoughts.