The versatility of gouache as a paint medium is hard to deny: gouache allows flexible, watercolor-style washes; the opaque overlays and painted-in whites of oil painting; the dry brush techniques of acrylic; and easily blends for original mixed-media creations. And it comes in portable and relatively inexpensive packaging. To showcase its wide range, we’ve rounded up a selection of outstanding gouache-based works by seven different artists currently working with the medium in their own unique way.
Skillshare instructor Sara Boccaccini Meadows’s landscape captures the natural glory of Arizona’s Horseshoe Bend with an emphasis on shifting textures of rock and sand. Many love gouache for the medium’s bright, saturated colors, but Meadows uses muted tones that are equally effective.
Gouache is not often the first medium that painters reach for when they are creating traditional portraits. . But illustrator and surface pattern designer Leah Goren (whose Skillshare classes include Beyond Watercolor: Learn to Paint with Gouache) uses broad brushstrokes to work some real magic for this evocative portrait.
Artist Ned Elliott uses gouache to reimagine a famous black-and-white image — the only known photograph of Depression-era blues star Peetie Wheatstraw — as an explosion of vivid color. Elliot’s bright hues work as a fitting tribute to one of blues history’s most colorful characters, an artist who mostly recorded as “Peetie Wheatstraw, the Devil’s Son-in-Law.”
One of gouache’s primary benefits is the way it blends well with a variety of other media, as seen in artist Deborah Chi’s atmospheric abstract painting. Chi’s use of texture and pattern recalls the work of Gustav Klimt, but Chi takes that familiar vibe and makes it her own.
Using gouache on primered paper stock, Tennessee artist Michael Haight creates a highly original take on the traditional landscape. Thick yet minimalist black lines map the roads, trees and houses, but washes of color lend the entire piece an aura of abstract expressionism.
This stunning mixed-media painting by Skillshare Top Teacher Dylan Mierzwinski was created for a “World of Succulents” group art show at Los Angeles’ Pop Shop art gallery. Mierzwinski describes the piece as showcasing “how cacti are both fancy and Dr. Seuss-grade weirdos,” which nicely sums up her strikingly original painting.
This beautiful painting is one a series called “30 Days of Gouache Florals” (viewable on Instagram in its entirety) created by Skillshare Top Teacher Peggy Dean.. The artist’s choice of colors is harmonious in the extreme, and captures the magic of wildflowers on a leisurely summer stroll.
Want to create your own gouache masterpieces? Here are eight pro tips you should know before you get started.
Cover Image by Skillshare student Norma Jean V., for Painting Teacups in Gouache: Exploring Shape, Colour and Pattern with Alanna Cartier