Monday, November 3, 2008

designer gouache's lunchtime lesson

I tried England's Winsor & Newton's Designers Gouache in Permanent White (Series 1 in 14 ml tubes) today as a mask for my artist's journal. The Gouache is part of Winsor's opaque watercolor series renown for color brilliance and matt finish, produced since 1935.

I had been reading that you could apply the gouache direct to paper to act as a background tint or direct on collage pieces to act as a mask which would allow subsequent layering effects. This was my first time with Winsor Newton and I found the Permanent White was maybe a bit too white for the type of vintage-y collage I like to do, and definitely too white for the graph paper I was using as my test sample (which has a greenish/blueish hue). The gouache also carried a strong odor for this non-painter (although is AP certified).

When tried over red pen ink (Uniball Signo 207 Red), the ink gel ran a bit however I wasn't completely sure it was dry to begin with - I can be impatient in these areas. Come to find out, Winsor & Newton offer a bleed-proof white - who would have thought. When tried under ink, the application of ink on top of the gouache was a bit splotchy (kind of like trying to write over white-out, but not as thick). The gouache definitely acted better when applied in straight, flat, thin layers with a German Loew-Cornell 6F fabric dye flat brush and was not at all chalky at application or at drying.

Visual art journalists would want to use the opaque gouache when trying the watercolor as a mask, but transparent colors might be nifty with words and layers and color application in artists journals. However, when tried over other collaged pieces already adhered to our journal, the gouache made the collage paper buckle slightly which gave a textural feel, but not a smooth and flat surface.

I was happy with the gouache - it dries relatively quickly. I'm thinking my next trip to the store might result in purchasing a Naples Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna or Raw Umber as tints. I was surprised to find there was no availability in a nice Eggshell or Antique White - it looks like you might have to mix your own. I'd also like to try the higher level formulas to see how they compare.