Still more change in the still life tonight. Of course not near as much as the previous day but there is still some movement. Even with this small movement of the flowers I’m not sure how I’m going to continue with the painting without starting over each night and painting over what I did the night before. I don’t want to start new each night, I want to catalog the decay of the still life over time in one piece. Although, I have already lost any work that I have done on the first session. I think after tonight I have a better idea of how Gouache needs to be worked so this will help me in figuring out how to move through the painting.
Gouache is a very dry medium even though you can work it with water like watercolor. That statement is kind of opposite of what you would think of the medium, considering it could be wet down tremendously with water. What I mean by “dry” is that not only does it look extremely matte when it dries, kinda like bleached bones or, charcoal, or anything without any moisture at all. Heck I think watercolor looks more “Wet” when its dry then Gouache does when it has dried. Gouache is even scratchy on application. Using paint right out of the tube will make only tiny marks that will not flow very far, and even when adding water you feel more of the brush on the surface then you do any paint. I think the complete opposite of Gouache would be oil paint. Where Gouache is flat Oil can be thick as mountains, where gouache is dry oil paint can stay wet, oily and alive for days and still retain that feel forever.
Now, I’m not saying that oil paint is better than gouache. Each material has its strong points, and depending on what you want to accomplish picking the wrong paint would be disastrous. I feel like if I wanted to do a large painting that called for aggressive working of the paint and an impasto surface then oil paint would be the best. But, if I wanted to do a small painting, high in detail with a meticulous observation that drove deep to the core of the subjects textured subject, the gouache would lend itself well to the task.
So, after working with gouache for several painting I think it works best only with careful, and slow consideration of the subject, and this is how I’m working through this painting now. I didn’t do much on the entire surface of the paper tonight, I focused on one area and worked my way around that small area slowly. I even began working in some transparent layers with light washes, which I placed over or along side scumbled areas using a very dry brush with just paint and no water. In the end I’m beginning to like at least this one little part of the painting and I’m sure it could only have happened after I gave up on all my previous painting knowledge and decided to let gouache tell me how to use itself.
Tomorrow I will continue with this meticulous slow working of the paint into more areas of the painting while leaving what I have done today as much intact as possible. I may work back into areas a bit, but for the most part I want to leave my previous session showing, along with the decay of the still life at that particular time. I hope it goes well, I still have 4 more days on this one.