Day 4 of the 5 Day Art Challenge

Art Challenge Day 4… The classical academy years part 3… gouache! This is when I fell in love with gouache!

Out of my four years at the academy, three were spent learning gouache techniques through various classes. Gouache is opaque watercolor. You can use it watery and transparent like watercolor or you can use it opaque with varying degrees of opacity. There is true gouache which is just like watercolor and can be worked into again after dry and it dries matte. Then there is acrylic gouache which dries permanent like acrylics, you cannot work back into these paints and they also dry matte, there is zero sheen to them. Traditional gouache must protected behind glass or in clear sleeves. Acrylic gouache does not need to be protected and can be used on canvas and the likes.

There is no paint I love more than gouache!

At the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts I took Color & Design with Auseklis Ozols, which was a life changing class for me. It introduced me to gouache, in-depth color theory, the Golden Ratio and he planted surface pattern design into my mind. Mr. Ozols liked and encouraged the work I was doing in his class. One day, I was washing my brushes at the sink and he passed by and casually said to me, “You should consider textile design. You would be good at that.” I had never thought of textile design before. Never really thought of how art makes it onto products. He planted a seed that began to grow that day. That was 15 years ago and that seen is finally blooming! I am so grateful for this class and for the encouragement I was given by Mr. Ozols. He is an amazing artist and instructor. I am honored to have been one of his students.

Here are some gouache pieces from my Color & Design days, beginning with two spectrum pieces. Super fun to paint and very challenging to blend the colors seamlessly.

Rachel Fontenot - Spectrum - gouache - painting - art

Rachel Fontenot - Spectrum - gouache - paintint - art

This piece is painting “air color” or color perspective.. Where you show how the colors of a landscape change due to the color of the “air”.

Rachel Fontenot - Orange Ball - gouache - paintint - art

This is one of my favorite pieces that I did in color and design. painting with analogous colors + black and white. I did this design on two large canvases in acrylic. One in cool colors and the other in warms… another post for another day 🙂

Rachel Fontenot - Standing Room Only - gouache - paintint - abstract - art

This one was working with complementary colors + black and white.

Rachel Fontenot - Sea Weeds - gouache - painting - art

Another analogous piece…

Rachel Fontenot - Forest Night - gouache - painting - abstract - art

This assignment was working with complementary colors + black and white done in three differing designs. Then you combined the three designs to make one large piece. I always wanted to paint larger versions of all these pieces but never got to it… maybe one day this year I’ll tackle that task!

Rachel Fontenot - Native Elements - gouache - painting - art

This assignment was to paint two of the same design, one in cool colors, one in warm colors. I want to do these larger scale too!

Rachel Fontenot - Day & Night - gouache - painting - art

Looks like my art to-do list just got longer!

If you have never tried gouache… try it! My favorite brand is Winsor & Newton’s Designer Gouache. It’s pricy but worth every penny ’cause it’s the best! Start with just a few tubes of the spectrum colors to get you started. If you begin gouache with a cheap paint you may not enjoy the experience. Good materials really do make all the difference!

Happy gouache-ing!


About Rachel Crawford

Hi y'all! I'm Rachel Crawford, an artist, poet and surface designer who is passionate about color and pattern, poetry, the great outdoors and art history. I also love to crochet and knit, and free hand embroider. All of which you will find on this blog! My artwork and patterns are happy, peaceful and full of color as are all the things my happy hands find to create. I'm a native of the colorful and eclectic city of New Orleans where I currently live with my wonderful hubby of 25+ years marriage. Welcome!
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