In Which I Try Out Gouache Part 4

Back in October/November I took an online class at a local art center to try out the medium of gouache. In a few posts I’ll show you the work I did and tell you what I learned.
I’ve got a selection of paintings to show you and I can’t remember in what order I did them, so I will arrange them by topic or by the information learned. In other words, I’ll be skipping around! Take a look and see what you think.

Here is a selection of pictures of outdoor scenes and buildings. Once again, I love depicting buildings and it was natural for me to choose them as subjects.

This first one is a house in Allentown, PA. I am happy with how it turned out. Especially in comparison with the first house I did in class (which I think is kind of vague and unfocused) I feel I caught a good feel of the building without overworking it.

As a reminder, here is the first house I mentioned. See what I mean? Vague.

Moving on. Here is a picture from a street in Bryn Mawr, PA. I did this one at home one afternoon. I was impatient and the picture shows it.

This next picture is of a small house near where I live. I’ve done a collage of it back in the distant past (with some color alterations and before the trees grew so big):

My heart was not into this painting, as I decided only when it was halfway done. My vision issues also played into it in getting the angles of the street right, but I can’t fully blame my eyes, I was just careless.

The latter two paintings were done during a particularly difficult time when I was not adjusting well to the altered view of the world my eyes were giving me, and I was distracted in everything I did. The first painting is better because I was more patient and took the time with it; it was done earlier in the class sessions than the other two, by which time I was struggling with eye treatments and feeling angry and fearful.

Lesson learned: If you are hasty or hurried, or distracted, it will show in the work. And even more so when you are new to the medium and not practiced at handling the materials. This lesson is of course not restricted to the medium of gouache.

13 thoughts on “In Which I Try Out Gouache Part 4

  1. agnesashe

    Oh I think ‘House in Allentown’ definitely shows you have got to grips with gouache and are applying it confidently and achieving your aims. I agree with you about being hasty with work and it becomes a downward spiral when one tries to save a piece that start out from the wrong point/mood/moment. I still haven’t learnt to cut my losses and move on though. I hope your sight difficulties are more resolved now.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. With some distance I like the work I did in this class some better. I was not in the best place mentally to be trying out a new thing, I think. Thank you about my eyes. I have a diagnosis now, finally, and there are things that can be done to help. I won’t be going back to how I was, but, after some time, I will adapt. I am very lucky that there is something that can be done for me and I am just happy that I can now start to move toward it.

      1. agnesashe

        I feel you have the energy and confidence to adapt and I am sure you will make the best of a difficult situation. Wishing you all success for your treatment.

  2. Laura (PA Pict)

    I think that first one is the strongest of the bunch. I like the way you have accentuated the curve of the architecture and your choice of colour palette made me think of 1930s Art Deco posters. I like the one with the poplars too because of the way you have handled the dappling of the greens.

    I have the same experience of my art reflecting how rushed or harried I was when I created it. I have learned that I need to be in the right frame of mind for my creative mojo to function. That is why I am in an artistic lull right now. Life just has me too burned out right now but I know it will pass and then I will go into overdrive again. That seems to be my pattern.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      I am glad that I perervered with the class, but my heart was just not in it at the time. With some distance I can try the medium again, but…first I need to reflect on how it works and how it might fit into the things I want to do.

  3. memadtwo

    I think you are being way too hard on yourself. I really like the movement in the very first one you did–and the colors as always–I don’t find it vague at all. (K)

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. As I look back I think more and more I was not in a good place to be doing this class and I just can’t separate my actual work from my feelings. I also really need to reflect on the properties of gouache and if they have a special spot in my art world that is not filled. I think this might be the case but I need a different brain focus to see it. So I’m not giving up. I do havea nice set of paints now and I think one day…

      1. memadtwo

        I agree that certain media are more suited to different frames of mind. At least I find it to be so. Right now collage is what need. So I’m going with it.

  4. Diane

    It if very obvious that you are gaining confidence with the medium. I hope you will not cross it off permanently. Maybe in the future after you are in a better situation with your vision? Of course, I love the Allentown houses. At first I thought the top one was where a friend of mine lived at one time.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      I think as I look back I was at a real low point as I was going through this class. Vision and other reasons (the next post will mention them). I kept the paints and I think I just have to let things settle a bit and sort of think about where I see the medium fitting in with my various things I do.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I’ve always liked that house, it’s near where I live, and since those trees have grown up I like this street angle a lot, it’s kind of mysterious.

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