Brushes with gouache

Studio clean-up on a rainy Friday led me to the pegboard in the workshop and all the great shapes arranged there. I grabbed some gouache, a brush pen and a toned paper sketchbook. I have a feeling I will be exploring the possibilities of gouache much more this year. The warm tone of this Stillman & Birn sketchbook paper is a perfect surface for adding whites, blacks and bright colours. The thought process for this is a bit like working in oils (adding darks first and working towards the lighter areas) but it is much more immediate and perfect for quick sketches like this.


22 Comments on “Brushes with gouache”

  1. Susan Prince says:



  2. TonyU says:

    Wow! The brushes look so real Shari and the pegboard even more so! And it just shouts how much fun you must have had doing it.


  3. Donna Thibodeau says:

    I just took a class about gouache and would be interested in details about your materials. Do you use tube gouache or mix white with watercolor? My goal was to use gouache in my sketchbook but I still feel very lacking in knowledge. This instructor mixed gouace with watercolor which is complicated to do in the field. Gouache squeezed from the tube hardens so fast. What to do?


  4. gaelle1947 says:

    Great sketch! I’m sure you follow James Gurney – he makes painting with gouache seem like so much fun, though I haven’t tried it (well, I do have one tube of white gouache when I need to cheat when using watercolors!) – But the technique (dark to light) appeals to my comfort zone, being predominantly an acrylic painter. But I still love watercolors especially for quick outdoor sketches as they are more portable and fit in small kits – perhaps some day I could become a Gouache convert…especially after seeing this painting. Kudos to you for celebrating Peg Boards: my favorite organizing solution – I have them everywhere including a large one in our tiny kitchen for pots and pans and cooking gadgets!


    • Of course I follow James Gurney. I have even painted with him on a few occasions. I am in awe of his talent and he is a generous teacher too. He also mixes gouache with casein which I have never tried. I am going to do a post about using gouache. Hope to post it today or tomorrow. The dark to light process is really fun for me too.


  5. DiniAlice says:

    This inspires me to try some gouache!


  6. timdada says:

    Nice one, Tim



  7. I tend to use just white gouache with my watercolours but I feel the need to explore more this technique and perhaps starting with a toned paper makes it more appealing as I would have to really use the white as a colour and not just as a tool to obtain opaque colours on watercolour paper.Thanks for the inspiration.


  8. M. L. Kappa says:

    Love this, Shari—you’ve inspired me. I never use my gouaches, but I’m getting them out now!


  9. Brenda Staresnick says:

    hi..question..what brand (s) of gouache do you use??? Any medium???? Thanks!

    Brenda Staresnick


    • Brenda, thanks for asking. Mine are all Winsor & Newton. They were in a sale bin at my local store so I was lucky.


      • Brenda Staresnick says:

        Shari…thanks for such a speedy response..have been exploring w/gouache..there are more brands on the market than I thought…I do have 2 tubes of WN white..going to explore other brands your work!!



  10. drawandshoot says:

    How wonderful, Shari!


  11. joantav says:

    I’ve tried gouache a bit lately and need to work with it more to get more comfortable working dark to light. I still use it too much like watercolor. This is great! The view of a little section of a work area captures it all.


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