Saturday, March 19, 2022

Painting update

The last time I posted about my daily painting project, I had just purchased a whole array of gouache paints, plus some new brushes, and had started experimenting with this new-to-me paint.  The glory of gouache is that it's opaque enough to totally cover whatever was underneath (helpful for fixing mistakes) and able to lay down a beautiful matte surface if you want.  Or you can dilute it for washy watercolor effects.  I've been trying both approaches.

Frankly, I've been way more interested in learning how the paint behaves than in coming up with artistically rewarding compositions.  I have been fixating on a certain motif and doing it over and over, changing a little something each time I do it.  Today I'll talk about my first repeated motif, the lake.

Maybe it doesn't look like a lake to you, but it does to me.  Not that I have any particular lake connections that this brings to mind (my childhood lake, Huron, is so big that it more resembles the ocean) but it's a nice shape.

I know that other painters can make their gouache expanses look like paint chips -- perfectly smooth and without color variations or brushmarks -- but I can't.  I can get close, as with the pink lake, but that's not really a goal I want to work toward; I find the mottled surfaces of the sky and land far more interesting.

I've played around with the composition in several ways, with multiple lakes, upside-down lakes and portrait-format designs.  All of them have the narrow white outline between the different colors, sometimes rendered in white paint but other times achieved by very carefully leaving white paper between the painted areas.

One of my early lakes was a disaster -- why did I ever think it would be a good idea to give it a handle?

So several days later I decided to paint over the bad part.  It was an experiment in whether I could successfully match the color, and whether I could actually conceal the color underneath.  Success on both fronts, and I find the composition much more pleasing.  The original lives on digitally but at least when I page through my sketchbook I'm not faced with that ugly version.

After 18 days of lakes, I was ready to move on.  I'll show you my next motif in another post.  Meanwhile, you can see all my daily art on my daily art blog.


  1. maybe my age but I immediately thought of a measuring spoon or medicine spoon as you put it a lake with a handle. Irene in N Ireland

    1. Yes, I thought of that too, or a holder on the stove where you can park your wet mixing spoon. But I like it better in its remade version