Step by Step Demo

I've had requests to include a page showing my process step by step for people who want to start in gouache but just aren't quite sure how to go about it. Check out the link to Paint, Paper and Brushes (above) to get started.

Here is my newest step-by-step demo, North 14, painted on white Pastelmat. As you will see in the next demo (Spring, below) this paper allows me to use washes easily, but can hold fine details, too.

Pencil sketch.
Blue washes, light and darker.
One color layer in place. You can see how the flowers are painted wet-in-wet. 
More flowers, and some grassy details, as well as on the hills. The white cloud is painted in, too.
Last highlights on the flowers; softened the cloud edges.


Spring was done on white Pastelmat paper, which is quite absorbent and holds water for a long time. It means I can use washy techniques at first, then let it dry and build up more detail, painting over dried paint. 

 Pencil sketch.


I usually start with the sky. It's easier to work top to bottom.

You can see the washy effect that I've used in the grasses, giving a lot of color to it. 

 Then I added 'gray', a color derived from using mixtures of the colors on the palette in use already.

I continued to develop the grays using a dry brush on the mountains, and started adding more to the trees.

 
I darkened and blued the mid-ground, shaped the clouds, and began dashing in the lights in the foreground.


In this finished image you can see that I added some small details in the middle distance, and developed the grasses and flowering weeds in the foreground, as well as completing the trees. I added some light to complete the mountains.


The next one, Curve, is on Bristol paper, much smoother and with no texture to speak of at all. It's hard and doesn't absorb water, so it's a great contrast to the first one.

Pencil sketch.



Again, beginning at the top I painted in blocks of loose, washy color.



For some subjects it's necessary to paint from the back to the front. The water needed to be established before the rocks.



 
I began to develop the sky and the details on the distant hillside, as well as working on the trees and establishing the rocks.



 
To finish I added color into the rocks and detailed the moving water in shadow, along with detailing the nearer trees.