Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Priming for a Gouache Painting

Sarah Noda says: You stated that you primed the paper with casein and that it could be primed with acrylic. If you primed with acrylic then wouldn't that prevent the paper from absorbing the watercolor?

Sarah, yes, you want the priming to be a receptive surface for the gouache. If it dries too thick and glossy, the gouache will bead up. The acrylic I was suggesting is Holbein's Acryla Gouache, which dries with a matte surface, as does casein.

Whatever priming you use, it should be a thin layer, thin enough so that the texture of the paper still shows through. You could use watercolor for the priming, but the idea of Acryla Gouache or casein is that it should dry with a flat, even tone and be impervious to reactivation.  As with any unconventional technique, experiment first on a scrap.


Glenn Tait said...

If you find that the gouache beads up you can give the surface a light spray with a workable fix and then proceed to paint.

George Deep said...

I’ve had a few of my older tubes of gouache dry out and harden. I’ve seen a few videos where people cut the tubes and remove the hardened paint and add water or even glycerin to rehydrate their gouache. Do you feel these are right steps to bring life to old paint? When gouache dries like this I would think it’s the binder evaporating. If that is the case would it be better to reintroduce fresh binder, such as Gum Arabic instead of water or glycerin?



James Gurney said...

Thanks, Glenn. Good point. You can also use absorbent ground (made by Golden), which can be used for a priming with a very receptive surface.

George, I haven't had much luck with that yet, and when I've tried it I've ended up with kind of a sticky mess. If someone has tips for doing it successfully, please let us know.