Ask the Experts

There is often no right or wrong answer to a question about art – all artists will find their own way to tackle a problem. Here we ask some of our Professional Associates to use their experience and knowledge to suggest ways to solve your artistic dilemmas

 Q I have always avoided using white, in the manner of ‘pure watercolourists’, but can anyone tell me how Gouache White and a watercolour white (ie Chinese White) differ? Obviously they are both opaque to some extent, but what are the advantages of using each one?
Sally Slater
  

Gordon Brady says that the main rule to follow is not to use white to water down colour. “Use water to lighten the blue for your sky, or the grey for those distant trees,” he says. “But then use opaque white, straight from the tube to put highlights in eyes, or to give more contrast to the fence against the dark woodland in a landscape, or to touch up the crest of a wave. Also it can be used, again undiluted and carefully mixed with a little of the appropriate colour, to give the odd highlight in a spread of flowers, for example bluebells in a spring woodland scene.

I have used both watercolour and gouache for this, and even acrylic on occasions, but find gouache the best as it is a little more fluid than watercolour. Perhaps the best way is to simply try them both, if one works for you then that is the one to use, Try not to put the white in your palette but keep it separate on a piece of scrap paper, and get rid of the clouded water when you have finished.” www.saa.co.uk/art/artist/9774.html

Jeremy Ford says that Chinese White is more transparent (or less opaque) and tonally weaker than White Gouache, which has stronger covering power because of it's opacity. “To cover a darker colour multiple layers of Chinese White would need to be applied, whereas gouache is easier due to its strength, so long as only a tiny quantity of water is used with the paint,” he explains. “A glaze (thin wash) of white can be used to create distance or mist over the top of dry colour if one is careful.

I occasionally use White Gouache here and there on its own, but I don't add it to colours to make them paler. Diluting watercolour with water makes a colour more transparently pale. White paint is seldom as white or as bright as the paper so I don't use it unless necessary. Purists might argue against the use of white, but a little applied judiciously can be effective, so if it works and it helps, use it!”
www.jeremyford.co.uk   

Matthew Palmer believes gouache has much more flow than watercolour. “It really doesn’t need any water to be added to it to allow you to paint with it, so this makes it much more opaque than Chinese White,” he says.

“White gouache contains Titanium, which is a very opaque pigment and this is why it works so well. Most people find Chinese White goes on the paper fine, but once dry it seems to fade or even disappear.”www.mattartist.co.uk


Ask the Experts

There is often no right or wrong answer to a question about art – all artists will find their own way to tackle a problem. Here we ask some of our Professional Associates to use their experience and knowledge to suggest ways to solve your artistic dilemmas

 Q I have always avoided using white, in the manner of ‘pure watercolourists’, but can anyone tell me how Gouache White and a watercolour white (ie Chinese White) differ? Obviously they are both opaque to some extent, but what are the advantages of using each one?
Sally Slater
  

Gordon Brady says that the main rule to follow is not to use white to water down colour. “Use water to lighten the blue for your sky, or the grey for those distant trees,” he says. “But then use opaque white, straight from the tube to put highlights in eyes, or to give more contrast to the fence against the dark woodland in a landscape, or to touch up the crest of a wave. Also it can be used, again undiluted and carefully mixed with a little of the appropriate colour, to give the odd highlight in a spread of flowers, for example bluebells in a spring woodland scene.

I have used both watercolour and gouache for this, and even acrylic on occasions, but find gouache the best as it is a little more fluid than watercolour. Perhaps the best way is to simply try them both, if one works for you then that is the one to use, Try not to put the white in your palette but keep it separate on a piece of scrap paper, and get rid of the clouded water when you have finished.” www.saa.co.uk/art/artist/9774.html

Jeremy Ford says that Chinese White is more transparent (or less opaque) and tonally weaker than White Gouache, which has stronger covering power because of it's opacity. “To cover a darker colour multiple layers of Chinese White would need to be applied...

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