New Art

a day with gouache

The morning started with a ring of the doorbell. Outside, there was something waiting for me…I love when the word “Amazon” is emblazoned on the side of the box. I knew what was inside.

I opened the box, knowing how I would spend the rest of the day…


playing with my new set of Sennelier gouache paints.

I haven’t spent a lot of time with gouache, but I knew I wanted to try out a different brand, that was highly recommended. I really enjoyed visiting Ralph Parker’s blog. He’s been painting with gouache for many years.

Gouache is a type of opaque watercolor. Working with it, is challenging and fun. It dries very quickly, but it can also be reworked by adding a little water, even after it has dried.   As you can see, I set up a little “gouache station” on a TV tray, with brushes, paint, water, and watercolor paper…and went to work. I used several portraits by Kees Van Dongen as my inspiration for my portraits, though I didn’t want exact replicas. I love his fashionable portraits of ladies, and wanted to see how I could make some little fashionable portraits with gouache. The two small portraits are 2 1/ x 3 1/2 inches (ATC, or Artist Trading Card size) and the larger is postcard size (4 x 6 inches).


I started with this little one first…using a graphite pencil to lightly sketch out the features of the face. I left details to a minimum, but at the last minute, decided to put a pink rose in her hair. I like that pop of color against the blue.


This was my second painting of the day. I loosened up a bit, and decided to try a bit of blending. She reminds me of an old fresco you would find on the peeling walls in Pompeii.


InpsiredbyKeesVanDongen****SOLD****Thank you!

Once the two little ones were done, I decided to try a little larger painting. I loved the pose of one of Van Dongen’s models, in this black and white lithograph from 1925…the turn of her head, her long neck, and that strand of pearls. 

It was a beautiful day of getting lost in images of the past, while playing with my very new art supplies. I will be revisiting gouache again, very soon!


Have you worked with gouache? I would love to hear your comments, on how you use it, what brand you like, and what you enjoy painting with it.