Gouache from the car

I spent the past few days experimenting with on-location gouache painting, from my car studio, of course. I don’t have a good setup for the car like I do for watercolour, but somehow I managed to make it work by balancing a butcher tray on the passenger seat. A bit of a messy endeavour but it was a good temporary solution until I figure out a better setup.

My first sketch was done on Stillman & Birn beige paper, which gives a warm glow under the paint. I did my initial drawing using raw umber pigment and then painted on top of that. The result is quite pasty, maybe because I used too much white paint in my mixes. This stuff does take a bit of getting used to.

The next day I changed my working methods. First of all, I used a block of cold press watercolour paper, instead of toned paper. I also tried not to touch the white pigment until the very end, and instead of keeping the colours muted, I tried to see how saturated I could get them. Good thing the leaves are at their brightest this week! I am loving playing with gouache pigments, and will likely continue with more experimentation and research this week.

27 Comments on “Gouache from the car”

  1. Denise says:

    Definitely loving the glow of the second painting! Almost makes me want to take a break from regular watercolor. I think I should get that medium understood first before attempting something else. I’ll be happy just admiring your work:)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kathy Noble says:

    What a remarkable difference, Shari! That second one really SINGS!…And your description of the first is probably pretty accurate. I have rarely ventured into the Gouache area, and most likely will not, but LOVE your venture into success with it!!


    • Hi Kathy, There really was a difference in the two versions, and I think it has a lot to do with the paper. Now that I have been doing a lot of research into the work of other artists, I can see that most people work on white paper, either a watercolour block or watercolour illustration board. So my next gouache paintings will certainly be on a white background. Hope you’re well!


  3. Jérôme Guenette says:

    Very nice!


  4. Jean-Pierre Riel says:

    J’adore tes expériences à la gouache, le deuxième croquis est vraiment lumineux. Je pense depuis longtemps à travailler à la gouache. Voir de si beaux résultats m’encourage à l’essayer. Tu connais le travail de l’illustrateur Juan Linares, (sur Facebook) ses carnets à la gouache sont remarquables?


    • Bonjour Jean-Pierre. So nice to hear from you. Of course I have seen the sketches of Juan Linares, but I need to take another look to see how he uses gouache. And I encourage you to try gouache. I think you might enjoy it too.


  5. rosjenke says:

    These are wonderful paintings. I love gouache but it is definitely tricky. Have you seen Heather Martins
    ‘s gouache paintings? https://instagram.com/heatherihnart?igshid=o81vc6hfdmee


  6. Richard Lee says:

    Now she’s a gouache master! OMG! You are truly amazing Ms Blaukopf.


  7. joantav says:

    I love the vibrancy of the second painting! I’ve tried gouache a few times on toned paper. It is so different from working in watercolors. I have a hard time going from dark to light…but I also left the white alone until the end of my painting. It will be fun to see the results you get with the gouache.


  8. Jeff Gold says:

    Both paintings are beautiful and very atmospheric. Of course the second, with its bright contrasting hues is a knockout but I also really enjoyed the subdued and somewhat “flattened” feeling of the first. Both compositions are very strong and 100% Shari Blaukopf. Always a great delight to see your work even at its most experimental.


  9. I haven’t used gouache in forever, but my friend Nina Khaschina uses them a lot, and she gave me this box which works really well and keeps paints moist and creamy for a LONG time:


  10. Peri Nilan says:

    Yes, true Shari style, in spite of a new medium. They kind of remind me of the tempera paint I used to use with my kids in the elementary classroom. I used to teach them about Emily Carr, our west coast of Canada famous painter of the past. Then the kids would do a similar style of landscape painting with stylized trees, using a multiple of greens that they had to mix themselves using just the primaries and white ( using tempera paint). I look forward to seeing more of your work as you study and practice with gauche.


  11. Nice pics, I had my first dabble with 100% cotton watercolour paper the last few days, and had a lot of fun doing scenes with red sumac.


  12. I really like the composition of the top painting, and the muted greens, yellows, and reds.


  13. Tami says:

    I too, have been experimenting with gouache and after using watercolor it is an adjustment. Bit I like the end results though!
    Do you have a separate palette just for your gouache?
    Love the new watercolor palette and colours you chose. Maximum mixing ability I see!!!

    Many thanks,


  14. dlwhitehurst1962 says:

    Ms. Blaukopt, your city scene is awesome. I do watercolor too but I really like how I could almost be there even though the image is just a representation. Very nice!


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