Settling an argument

With myself. About travelling and what paints one might bring.

So, the choice is between watercolour pencils, watercolours or gouache.

Watercolour pencils are amazingly portable but colours are difficult to mix and it’s difficult to achieve any sort of flow or informality. So, no.

My painting with watercolours has improved but they do require patience and a lot of forward planning. I have too little of the former and, I’m not inclined to do much of the latter. Also they don’t work on black paper and I sometimes like to paint on black.

Gouache is not naturally easily portable. It comes in tubes which are a bit unwieldy to carry around. But one can squeeze some out onto a portable palette, let it dry and transport it that way. I like gouache. It suits my temperament. It dries quickly and its opacity means that one can cover one’s mistakes easily. In other words, it’s forgiving. Also, white gouache works as a colour, unlike white watercolour which is really just used for mixing.

Having been experimenting mainly with watercolour for the last week or so, I returned to gouache this evening. I enjoyed it.

I’m trying to be less fussy with my painting. Here’s what I came up with.

St Mark’s Church, St John’s Wood, London, a photo of which I took last week. Usually, I’d do an outline in pencil, fussing over angles and proportions. For this, I just put some colour on a brush and let rip. Unusually, I managed to achieve a bit of depth and I’m pleased about that. The white gouache helps supply texture too.

A rose, focussing on the highlights. This didn’t really work as well as I had hoped but I’m quite pleased with the approach, if not the result …

Verbena from our back garden. Leggy and resilient. I’ve tried here to give an impression of these, rather than an entirely accurate representation.

Argument settled. Gouache it is.