One of the things I came out west hoping to do was get more comfortable with gouache. I had started doing some forest studies in Memphis in pastel because watercolor just doesn’t have enough depth and value richness, but I wasn’t happy with the greens. Also pastels are cumbersome to carry around because I need an easel to keep the piece vertical while I work, and the pastel box itself is quite heavy.
Gouache has almost the portability of watercolor, and the same ease of cleanup. I carry full tubes of paint because I like to use it wet instead of reconstituted, but it’s still much lighter than pastels. I tried two years ago to learn to use it, and again I was dissatisfied with the artificial greens I got. This year I bought a couple more mossy, forest type greens to bring out. I was also trying to work as large as I do in watercolor, and that wasn’t going well. I notice that a lot of gouache painters I admire work quite small, so I brought a number of small bits of thick, brown paper with me (Stonehenge, my go-to printmaking brand).
This was my first effort, and I was pretty delighted. I could probably stand to have more highlights in the trunk, but the painterly-ness of it feels like oils without having to carry nearly as much stuff (and solvents) around with you.