Before I start work on a larger gallery wrapped canvas I thought it best to try a small 8 x 10 inch canvas first. Why you might ask, well I am doing some more experimenting with gesso's for watercolor and gouache on canvas. I wanted to get a feel for the paints reaction and action on this type of surface. Normally I use Daniel Smith watercolor ground but wanted to try a surface with a little more tooth to it. By mixing clear gesso with some white gesso I get a pretty good surface to work on. I mix about 2/3 clear gesso with 1/3 white gesso.
The surface does give me good flow with watercolors which I have done in the past so it was the gouache I was more interested in its reaction with the surface. The gouache did flow nicely and I was able to lift areas that needed corrected. With the gouache I was able to blend and soften edges and because of the property of gouache the blending can be done even after it dries. This could be good and bad so you need to be careful not to get an area wet once you achieved the look you want. Alas I did get water on the Veery (thrush family of birds) and had to redo it again. So yes it can be forgiving. Gouache has very little transparency, yet I felt it blended with the watercolor just fine.
The background was done with watercolor and gouache for the bird and leaves along with part of the moss and log directly behind the bird. Once I felt the painting was complete I sprayed it with an UV acrylic spray while it was laying flat to prevent drips. Then I was able to apply an acrylic varnish so it can be framed like an acrylic on canvas.
Give watercolor on canvas a try someday.
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