Painting Plein Air in Watercolor and Gouache

General / 14 July 2019

I Decided to make more of an effort this year on our annual camping trip to bust out the Water colors and Gouache paints and do some sketching out in the open. Killarney Park in Norther Ontario Canada is just the spot for that.  A park made famous by the Canadian group of seven Painters responsible in helping create the park to protect it from being destroyed by logging like much of the surrounding area.  The first sketch is actually done at A.Y Jackson lake. Named after the famous painter and member of the group of seven.  While the first painting is water color the rest are mostly Gouache which is a more opaque form of water based paint made popular by the classic illustrators in the  60`s and 70`s pre acrylics era.  I often shy away from Gouache and used it in the past just to touch up mistakes in my water colors or as a final pass to add details.  This year I decide to go all in and see what Gouache could do and I was delighted to discover that it has many great qualities. It is very easy to travel with and unlike water color It is very forgiving . Much like oils it is Opaque and blends well. Various textures can be built up since It dries almost instantly in the hot weather. I feel like I only scratched the surface so far and look forward to see what More I can learn about this  interesting travel friendly painting medium.

I took a photo of this scene and finished the figure back at the campsite.  I don`t think my partner could sit still through this whole session. 

With gouache you can just reactivate the paint with some water and refine the details a bit more right on the page. Very handy.




This is my Guerrilla painter Thumbox 6x8. My lovely partner bought me this one year for my birthday and she often commented that I never used it much. I think this box is great for what I am doing here and I am happy to be putting it good use at last.

 Check them out they are neat little boxes and this one can hold allot of what I need. I just use some extra palettes and rubber band to hold them In place. I am alway looking for ways to better organize the setup. With painting out doors you need to be prepared and organized. Ready to go at the drop of a hat. When It all clicks into place it's magic and when things go sideways it is really tuff hanging in there to finish the job.  Bad weather, hot sun, gusts of wind and rain you name it.  One day I actually tipped my chair and I fell off the ledge while I was painting. Lucky for me I landed on my feet several meters down with the box in my hand. Phew. It all adds to the character of the painting I guess.   Always fun to have stories to go along with each painting.  Then there was the time when my brand new painting umbrella caught a gust of wind and flow over the electric fence on a farm field full of approaching cows. Im sure I could go on and on.

This is my Painting setup when I am using  Water Color.  Gouache is much the same just minus my little blue Windsor & Newton field box.

 I later added some Gouache to this painting if I can remember correct. 

  This is my Gouache only session notice to the right a huge packable water basin. Gouache tend to dirty the water fast specially with white pigments so it helps to have a allot of water to clean the brush. We had this folding packable basin in our camping kit but for more urban setting maybe a large jar will do the trick or a collapsable watercolor style one.  Not an issue here though with all the water available on the shore.  refills are a plenty.