Tag Archives: gouache

Mixing it up


My fascination with capturing moments; how the light hits something, how the colors work in harmony, there, right there or how the edges between shapes define what’s there. Deciding what is important to me in that glimpse and how to capture it in paint is my quest.

Yesterday I found myself driving through the valley in the drippy early morning and in a extravagantly fragrant rose garden in the late afternoon. I decided to do some quick gouache studies of my impressions, with aspirations of much bigger paintings.

I’m particularly happy with the vineyard painting. I have for various personal reasons stayed away from the endless vineyards in my backyard. But this time of year, they are “budding out” and I drove by an unpruned budding section. The long canes with their brilliant green leaves bobbed up and down with the breeze and it had to be considered!

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Right now I seem to be unable to work on my art, at home. Something about too much to do here, being easily distracted… So I have been attending a weekly class with a wonderful teacher, Sandra Speidel which has reinvigorated my plein aire work. The class comments and enthusiasm is contagious and encouraging. Today we worked at a small park overlooking Petaluma.IMG_4685_1_1 Fall is in full swing.

Mondays I have been going to an open figure drawing class at our local Community Center. During the last couple weeks, I brought illustration board and gouache, some colors mixed up already, to force myself to just deal with shapes and value. Lots of fun!

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Playing with Pears

My studio is really coming together. I spend less time looking for things and more time working. It’s great to have this available.

Today I worked with gouache on a sanded pastel paper. I used chalk over the top of the painting. Thank you to Janet who brought us a bucket of these beautiful Barletts at the Farm Stand on Saturday. Such beautiful shapes and colors. Hope I have a little time tomorrow too.

This bowlful of pears was so beautiful, I took a photo. Thank goodness I did as they are all turning ripe at the same time, so most are in the refrigerator now.

My studio now has a shelf for still lifes with excellent lighting. What a difference it makes!

New Views

I have a feeling that these stunning Sonoma Mountain hills will become iconic in my imagery. This is the first time I have had a brush in my hand as I studied these sensuous  ups and downs.

I used gouache on (poor-quality) watercolor paper. Next time I’ll work on illustration board.

I’m working up to some large oil paintings.

This and That

I’m getting happy with this handsome fellow, finally. His muzzle’s a little off still, but the values are working for me. Check out where I last left him.




Today, while I wait to put the final touches on the mule, I worked with gouache, asking myself “why” every stroke of the way. The attraction has to do with simplification of shapes and choosing color and value that makes those shapes “read”. Not sure these work too well. I’m trying to have it look like the clouds are casting shadows on the mountain outside my kitchen window. Success or not, it’s a nice way to spend the afternoon.

More cats

I keep doing these cats. Can’t seem to get exactly what I want and am enjoying seeing what is turning up instead.

I’m loading the brush with black paint and just starting on white paper. No drawing. No references. Just go. Some are much more like the reference photo than others. Some are much more like the cat. I love the challenge. It helps me be more accurate with shapes.

I’m also discovering better ways with the gouache. I don’t like it used like watercolor … thinner paint application to show a lighter value. I like mixing a lighter paint and slopping it on, like I did on the very last image.

I like the way the paint was applied on this one best.


Our scruffy black stray cat, Deiter, has always been an interesting subject. I drew him quickly here, on a pillow, but as soon as he noticed me watching him, he got up and sat on my feet.

So I took some pictures and worked from those. When he sits, he more closely, sprawls, as if he’s broken a hip or leg, that healed badly.

Oh how wonderful to have the time to paint again. I will even go the the figure class in town this evening! I am restoring myself.