Friday, December 3, 2010

Watts Atelier - Student Years: Gouache Class

I thought I'd try a new post section. I'm calling it "Watts Atelier - Student Years". This will be some of my studies and memories from when I was a full time student. I still consider myself a student and probably always will be, however this will be a record of my first few years at The Atelier. I will share some of my drawings, paintings, and how The Watts Atelier has helped me become the artist I am today.

The first post of this series is about the Gouache classes that the school has. I found this to be a great transitional class between drawing and paintings. The way the media is taught is very much like drawing with a little extra. In this class is where I was first introduced to the term "Tiling". The term refers to a shape placed next to another shape with an assigned value and color that will give the illusion of form rolling into or away from light. Tiling helped me build a discipline in how I approached each piece of art. I had to understand the nuts and bolts to give each tile it's accurate shape and value.

Gouache is a media that I love to use. Of course it does have it's idiosyncrasies, like lighter values drying darker and darker values drying lighter. In the beginning, trying to figure out how much water to use with how much paint can be a challenge. The reward in the end though is great! I still use gouache for color comps, small master studies, and even just for sketching. It's a media that is easy to travel with, easy to clean up, and relatively inexpensive.

The Gouache classes I took at The Atelier were pivotal in my education. Gouache was a great bridge for when I went from drawing to oil painting and I still carry a lot over from gouache into my oils. If you ever get the chance to study gouache with someone who does it well, I highly recommend it!


  1. Nice post. Gouache will always have a special place in my heart as the nightmare that was my color concept class back in art school. But I've warmed up a bit more to it. You may have inspired me to try and pick it up again.

  2. Love these studies! I've never used gouache before, but many people I've talked to said they enjoy it.

  3. Terrific post Lucas. I have a small set of gouache paints that I've never taken the time to properly learn how to use - you've reminded me that I should do.
    Really like the Saruman / Christopher Lee portrait by the way. Great stuff.