Fun with Gouache

I've been playing around with Gouache when I can. I think it will be a great help for doing color studies in preparation for an oil painting. Plus I really like the look of it in other people's work. Here are a few small paintings I made using gouache. Both are available for sale from my Square Market online store.

Skull in Leaves $30 SOLD

gouache painting of a deer skull in leaves approximately 4 7/8" x 7" by christine mitzuk
Gouache painting of a deer skull in leaves. Beauty in Decay. Approximately 4 7/8" x 7" (4.875" x 7")


Sunset Skull $25 SOLD

gouache painting of a deer skull in leaves apporximately 4 7/8" x 7" (4.875" x 7"by christine mitzuk
Gouache painting of a deer skull during the golden evening hours. Approximately 4 7/8" x 7" (4.875" x 7")

About my palette

As I mentioned earlier, I think gouache could be a good tool for me to do color studies with in preparation for oil paintings. I tried to match my gouache colors to the Paxton Palette that we use for oil painting at The Atelier. I also mostly use the Paxton Palette in my own oil paintings. My choice of brands were made mainly on what the gouache colors look like compared to the oil paint colors I use, the lightfast rating of the gouache, and what was easily available to me at the time. I've listed the color, brand name, and color index number.

Plus I couldn't find a few of the colors in gouache that I use in oils (Light Red and Indian Red). Here's where knowing the color index number comes in handy. PR101 is used in Light Red and Indian Red so I just looked for that on the gouache labels and then looked at how the color compared to the oil colors. As of June 2015, this is what my larger gouache palette is set up with:

  • Ivory Black (Holbein Artist's Gouache, PBk6)
  • Raw Umber (Holbein Artist's Gouache, PBr7)
  • Permanent Alizarin Crimson (Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache, PR176)
  • Red Ochre (Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache, PR101, PV19) - replaces Indian Red because I couldn't find it in gouache
  • Burnt Sienna (Holbein Artist's Gouache, PBr7, PR101) - replaces Light Red because I couldn't find it in gouache
  • Vermillion Tone (Schmincke Hodram Gouache, PR255) - replaces Cadmium Red Light
  • Brilliant Yellow (Winsor & Newton, pigment not on lable) - replaces Cadmium Yellow Light
  • Naples Yellow (Winsor & Newton, PW6, PBr24)
  • Yellow Ochre (Holbein Artist's Gouache, PY42, 43)
  • Viridian Green (Holbein Artist's Gouache, PG18)
  • Ultramarine Deep (Holbein Artist's Gouache, PB29) - I have M. Graham Ultramarine Blue Gouache but it seems too bright to me compared to my oil paint.

Additional non- Paxton Palette colors

  • Quinacridone Rose (M. Graham, PV19)
  • Quinacridone Violet (M. Graham, PV19)
  • Titanium White (M. Graham, PW6)
  • Carmine (Schmincke, PV19)
  • Burnt Sienna (Schmincke, PBr7, PR101, PBr33)
  • Hansa Yellow (M. Graham, PY3)
  • Gamboge (M. Graham, PY151, PO62)
  • Sap Green (M. Graham, PG7, PY101)
  • Cerulean Blue (M. Graham, PB36)
  • Indigo (Schmincke, PB60)
gouache paxton palette with additional colors
I have an 8 color gouache palette and this larger one. Please note that the color in the photo is pretty close but not exact. The Schmincke Burnt Sienna is a bit muddy currently from my mixing it with Indigo, and the Red Ochre is showing a bit more violet than it actually is. I just figured it would be more helpful than not to see the palette.

I've squeezed a little of each out in a watercolor palette. They aren't as easy to re-wet as the M. Graham gouache but I think it works fine for me. One or two of the dry paint blobs did detach and go wandering around the palette. Unfortunately I don't remember which colors or brand did it, but it wasn't a big deal. I just put the paint back in its spot, wet it enough to create a paint puddle, and it dried in place.

I'm sure this palette will change over time. Right now it allows me to use Paxton Palette colors, or go for the warm and cool color combinations (Alizarin and Vermillion, Gamboge and Brilliant Yellow or Hansa, Cerulean and Ultramarine, Sap Green and Viridian). Does anybody have a color recommendation they think I might like to try?