Thursday, October 8, 2015

Oh My Gouache!

My art journal page on gouache on pause 

I have an old, cheap set of gouache paints that I used to start a new art journal page (above) and it became apparent rather quickly that even the white in this old, cheap set wasn't as good as the Winsor & Newton Designer Gouache Permanent White that I was used to (in my watercolour kit). So I put the page on pause and decided to do a little research on gouache.

I decided to look at my two favourite gouache artists who share information about gouache so freely and generously on their blogs: Roz Stendahl (her blog is ) and James Gurney (his blog is:

I knew heading in that I was going to start my gouache experimentations by trying a Gurney limited palette (three colours plus white) so that I could participate in James Gurneys October Graveyard Challenge, but I thought I should review all versions of Roz' and James' palettes before heading to Wallack's.

P.S.Oct.9  is the last day for free M.Graham samples at Wallack's

Gouache Palettes: Roz Stendahl

Roz Stendahl

Roz likes to work with a minimal range of colours whether she's out in the field (typically 8 colors and 3 convenience colors: zinc white, calligraphy gold, and buff titanium) or in the studio. She uses Schminke (S) or M. Graham (MG) paints.
  1. Vanadium Yellow (S) OR Azo Yellow (MG) 
  2. Gamboge (MG) 
  3. Yellow Ochre (MG) OR Titanium Gold Ochre 
  4. Burnt Sienna (MG) 
  5. Naphthol Red (MG) 
  6. Quinacridone-violet (S) 
  7. Helio Turquoise (S) 
  8. Dark Indigo (S) (My beloved PB60, which is not available in M.Graham's line, hence Project 640 Tubes) 
  9. Zinc White 
  10. Buff Titanium (a Daniel Smith watercolor) 
  11. Gold (Schmincke's Calligraphy Gouache, gold; because you never know when you're going to need a little bit of "bright sparkly") 
Gouache Palettes: James Gurney

James Gurney

As I stated, I plan to participate in James Gurney's October Graveyard Challenge. Firstly because I love painting on location and secondly because, as a genealogist, I love graveyards!

The rules are straightforward. Simply put "The challenge is to paint a graveyard on location with a limited palette."

James is hoping "your painting can somehow (through composition, color, lighting, or time of day) convey feelings about mortality, loss, transformation, horror, or abiding love".

October Graveyard: More details:
  • It's FREE to enter. 
  • The painting must be painted on location and it must be a new painting done for this challenge. 
  • In addition to a scan of the final painting, your entry must include a photo of your painting in progress in front of the motif.
  • All traditional painting media are acceptable, such as oil, watercolor, casein, gouache, Acryla-gouache, acrylic, and/or water-soluble colored pencils. No dry media or digital.
  • The palette must include just three colors of your choice plus white. The reason for the limited palette is to keep your painting harmonious. You can also use even fewer colors or just work in monochrome.
  • You can enter as soon as you finish the piece, but no later than the deadline: Tuesday, October 27, 2015, at midnight New York time. 
  •  Just shoot two image files: 1. Your finished painting and 2. A photo of the painting in progress on the easel in front of the subject.
  • Upload the images to this Facebook Event page
  • In addition to the Facebook event page, you can use the hashtag #graveyardpaintingchallenge on Instagram or Twitter to see what other people are doing. 
  • Winners will be announced on Halloween, Saturday, October 31. 
Here are some of James' suggestions for a three colour palette (plus white), (in which he gave equal time to different companies)
  • Holbein gouache: Viridian, Cadmium red deep, and Yellow ochre plus white 
  • M. Graham gouache: Ultramarine blue, Cadmium yellow deep, and Burnt umber plus white 
  • Winsor and Newton gouache: Perylene maroon, Cadmium yellow, Cobalt blue plus white 

My empty palette ready to be filled with M. Graham gouache: Ultramarine blue, Cadmium yellow deep, and Burnt umber plus white 
My art journal sketch: "Lexie's New House" (gouache)
My art journal sketch "Bob Dylan": (White and black gouache)
Based on IBM ad below


  1. I love that palette, where did you get it?

    1. It is the Joe Miller Travel Painter Palette with Brush ($7.59 Cdn from Cheap Joe's Art supplies)