The use of opaque white paint, gouache for example, is a cause for some debate among the watercolour fraternity. Purists are often keen to ridicule those who use opaque white in their paintings, but attitudes are changing and a growing number of artists regularly use opaque white to great effect in their work.
I’m no expert, but I do like to experiment. Half the fun of painting for me is playing around with the paint to see what happens, and I’ll try anything to get the effect I want. In my painting ‘Winter Trees’ I applied juicy mixes of Dioxazine Purple, Permanent Rose and Prussian Blue to wet paper and let the colours blend together. When I was happy with the result, I sprinkled some areas of the painting with table salt and then left it to dry.
As soon as it was dry, I carefully brushed the salt off and began painting the trees with white gouache. In some areas I laid the paint on thick, while in others I used a thin, very nearly transparent wash. I like the painting; the almost ghostly appearance of the trees in some areas, and I don’t think I could have achieved the result I was after by using masking fluid.
I like using methods that work for me. I think that’s all that matters really, that, and having some fun along the way.
I found THIS great article on painting with gouache, and thought it might be of interest to some people.