Cafe in Gouache

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Hello everyone, today’s environment study is a cafe near my home in gouache on a postcard. I have a limited palette (for fiscal reasons) and I thought it might be a good idea to talk about it.



This is my palette, all laid out. The watercolor and gouache colors choices closely mimic each other, so that I know how each pigment works. I’m going to talk about my gouache palette today.


Quinacridone red is a versatile red, with a magenta lean. As a result, I find it mixes vibrant purples, dull oranges, and a dark neutral with the green. The napthol red is too dull for me and is overshadowed by the quin, so I’m going to remove it in the near future.


Phthalocyanine blue is powerfully staining and just a little of it is needed to in mixtures, less it overpower every other color. It leans toward green so it mixes a variety greens (with my green) and dull purples. I don’t tend to mix it with yellow to get green, that’s what my green is for.


I go through more of this color than any other. I use it to make yellow greens, oranges, dull reds, and dull earth colors. I don’t like the fact it gets overwhelmed easily by every other color (when I’m picking it up to mix), which is probably why I go through it so quickly. I may squeeze out an extra tray of yellow to replace the napthol red.


As powerful as the blue, this is my least used regular color. I use it for creating darks with my red and for a variety of saturated greens. I keep it because I don’t want to mix greens from my yellow + blue. It’s not used very often, but I am glad it’s there.


I’ve tried using this in several different ways and each time I always regret it. Anytime I mix it with my paints it lightens the mixture, at the expense of desaturating them quite a bit. I’m on the fence of whether or not to keep it.


I don’t use this. The blacks I can mix with my red and green are much better. This will be replaced in the future.


This piece was telling in the strengths and limitations of the palette I’m using. On the one hand it’s a powerhouse with dull earth type colors, dull purples, greens, and darks. But on the other hand it’s nearly impossible for me to get any type of vibrant reds, orange, and purple, which made it difficult for me to paint the sign, because it was close to a neon orange.

Why am I going to do next? For starters I’m going to pick up an earth color, very likely burnt sienna, because I’m always having to mix them. I’m then going to pick up ultramarine blue and cadmium red, so I can have more variety in purples as well as access to vibrant reds and oranges.

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