Gouache is a favourite paint of illustrators worldwide because it is opaque so it can be overpainted and corrected, yet it still has the simple and easy qualities of watercolour. Like watercolour it is bound with gum arabic which is re-soluble in water and because of the larger amounts of pigment used in artist-quality gouache it is opaque. Because of this you can also create transparent washes with some colours of artist gouache just by diluting it with more water.
Gouache colours are most often used for instructional purposes, illustrations and underpaintings – abstract works are rarely seen. We are therefore very pleased to look over the shoulder of the artist Anita Hörskens who uses Schmincke Horadam Gouache for abstract and mixed-media painting.
Abstract gouache painting with Horadam Gouache
by Anita Hörskens
The materials she uses:
- Schmincke Horadam Gouache in 15ml tubes in the following colours:
- Schmincke Aqua modelling paste, fine
- Torn newspaper
- Heavyweight watercolour paper – Andalucia by Hahnemühle – 500gsm
- Natural charcoal sticks
- Painting knife
- 40mm wide brush
• Titanium white
• Cadmium yellow light
• Cadmium orange
• Cadmium red deep
• Quinacridone violet
• Helio turquoise
• Cobalt blue light
• Cobalt green deep
• Olive green
• Raw umber
• Vandyke brown
• Neutral grey
Preparing the surface
As I like to work in series, I prepare three painting surfaces with Aqua fine modelling paste at the same time. To bring the surface to life, I glue a torn strip of newspaper with Aqua fine modelling paste on one of the vertical third lines. Here I keep in mind the rules of the golden section (2/3 to 1/3 proportion). I cover the desired area with a thin layer of modelling paste, arrange the newspaper in small folds and press it down with a painting spatula. I spread the remainder of the paste over the collage and over parts of the painting.
I draw lines freely over the entire painting surface with a pencil. I have, for example, drawn my signature several times here. This results in engravings in the areas of the still moist paste.
Applying the paint colours
After the structure has completely dried, the first coat of colour is applied. What I like most about Horadam Gouache is the visual depth of the velvet-matt appearance of the dried colours. I also appreciate the natural, highly pigmented covering power. Since I do not intend that the series of paintings use the same colour families, I choose a different colour tone for each of the three paintings. I apply the colour simultaneously, but in different ways.
How I work – Painting ‘Blue Composition’
These other works were painted in a similar technique but with different colour compositions.
About the artist
Anita Hörskens lives and works in Pfaffenhofen a.d.Ilm, Bavaria, Germany. She is an expert in most painting and drawing techniques. Originally a watercolour painter, she has been working mainly with acrylic and its possible combinations in the mixed media technique since 2002. More than 30 published instruction books, publications and videos are testimony to her expertise. Her German book “Acryl Praxis Buch” has been on the bestseller list as a classic standard work for years. The sought-after author is currently working on the implementation of a correspondingly well-founded “Watercolour Practice Book”. In addition, the artist has been working as a successful instructor for over 20 years, both in her own painting school and for various independent academies.
Schmincke Horadam Gouache at Jackson’s Art
Schmincke Horadam Gouache on the jacksonsart.com website.
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