Without a doubt gouache is my all time favourite paint to use when I’m creating and so I was really excited when Arteza recently gifted me a set of their gouache paints to try out.
Since I’ve been using the same brand of gouache for years now it was refreshing to try a new (to me) brand to discover what their paints had to offer – and I’ve been extremely happy with the results.
To find out more about Arteza’s Gouache paints click here
What is Gouache?
Gouache is a type of paint which is designed to be used with opaque painting methods. It is similar to watercolour in that it can be applied to paper or canvas using a similar method but gouache will naturally dry with a matte, opaque finish. Once each layer is dry, additional layers can be added making this paint extremely versatile. As gouache is rich, thick and creamy it can be blended easily and worked to a smooth finish. The paint can be applied as delicately or thickly to the paper or canvas, as preferred by the artist.
Set of Sixty Arteza Gouache Paints
The set of Arteza gouache paints I received was a set of sixty paints. The paints are beautifully presented in a box which contains ten plastic trays of six paints in each tray. The box is sturdy meaning it is ideal for storing the paints. It also contains a swatch of each colour of paint (on the lid and on one side of the box), plus a lightfastness, a transparency and a pigment number key for each colour. The paints come in 12ml tubes.
If I’m honest I was a little overwhelmed at first with the prospect of so many pre-mixed colours to choose from. I usually work with a very limited colour palette, comprising mostly hues (a hue is a pure pigment without added white or black pigments).
To familiarise myself with the colours I created my own swatch using every single colour. This took me some time but it was well worth it because by creating a swatch I got a true reflection of how each colour actually looks. (As with all brands I’ve used, not all colours shown on the packaging were 100% true to the colour of the Arteza paint itself).
When completing my swatch I realised this set contains 12 pearl colours which I hadn’t been expecting. The pearl colours are shiny/ metallic and I was happily surprised by how bright and true these colours look which I think would definitely add extra detail to any painting.
As I would expect from gouache the Arteza paints are thick and creamy which made them really easy for me to work with. I found they suited my style of painting which is to apply thin layers, gradually adding detail. I was happy with the smooth finish I managed to achieve and that the colours look so bright when they dry. I absolutely love the finish achieved with these paints.
I created the paintings shown in this blog to try out the paints and I consciously decided to paint using the colours straight out of the tubes in order to get a feel for how that would work out. As someone who is used to mixing their own colours this was a little challenging to begin with but once I got used to matching the pre-mixed colours to what I envisioned in my mind I found I was very happy with the results.
I think having so many pre-mixed colours available may be particularly useful to those just starting out in painting.
I was honestly very pleased with these paints both the way they handled when painting and the results they yielded and so I would happily recommend these to others and I’ll definitely be using them myself in the future. One plan I have for my 2020 journals is to add more painted artwork and I think these paints will be ideal for that.
Arteza Expert Watercolor Pad
In addition to the paints they sent, Arteza also sent me a set of two of their Expert Watercolor Pads. I used this paper the entire time I was testing the paints and I absolutely love it.
Each pad contains 32, A4 pages of 300gsm, cold pressed paper. The paper is acid free and glue bound which is my preference for binding watercolour pads as each sheet can be removed from the pad with ease.
I thinks what’s really clever about this paper is that it’s dual-sided. One side is textured and the other is smooth. I only painted with the textured side because that’s my preference but I think it’s great to have both options.
I found that the paper did not buckle at any point during my painting process and was still entirely flat once my paintings were complete. I also found the paper maintained it’s texture throughout the painting process.
I will definitely continue to use this paper and I would recommend trying it out also. I think its a good match when using the Arteza gouache.
Tips for painting with Gouache
Although I adore gouache I have heard some say they don’t like it because its difficult to work with or that they don’t understand it. And so I thought I’d include for you some of my tips when it comes to working with gouache in the hope that this will encourage you to give it a try or help you if you are struggling with it.
- as I mentioned above, I highly recommend swatching to get a true reflection of each colour (this applies to all paints though, not just gouache)
- before starting on your painting, use a scrap piece of paper to test out the colours you plan to use. I do this so that I become familiar with how each colour behaves – i.e. is it a streaky colour or prone to thickening/ drying quickly. I use a scrap piece of paper to work out how I’m going to deal with the colours that are maybe more challenging to paint with
- thoroughly mix each colour so that it is creamy before applying the paint to the paper or canvas. Although applying the paints thickly and without a lot of water can create a certain effect – if you are looking to create the smooth finish gouache is so known for you’ll need to create a creamy texture to achieve this
- don’t be scared to add water to your gouache – I always feel like I can add a surprising amount of water before it starts to look ‘watered down’
- I always like to start my paintings by blocking in with light layers of colour and then build up the layers to add detail. Again this helps me achieve the smooth finish which is one of my favourite things about painting with gouache
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post the gouache paints used were gifted to me by Arteza.