One time when I was posing at Spring Studio, I spent my break strolling around the room looking at the artists’ work. My friend Chuck was there, set up at his table the way he always is; massive rolls of paper strewn about his work area, his painting and drawing materials scattered about. He was finishing up his piece from my last pose, and I stood at his table and observed as he worked. The following dialogue took place, pretty much word for word:
I said, “That looks nice.”. Chuck replied, “Thanks!”. Then I asked, “What is that? Gouache?”. Chuck answered, “No. It’s some sort of opaque watercolor”.
My artist readers just got that joke. In fact, most of my readers probably got it. In the off chance that no one got it, the joke is that gouache IS opaque watercolor. And that whole exchange is just a very Chuck thing. He’s adorable, he’s sweet. And he’s actually a very expressive artist even though he gets his materials mixed up 🙂
I do, however, know another highly expressive artist who is much more aware of the unique medium that is gouache. Her name is Kathi Kirkpatrick, and she possesses not only an original and inventive style, but the talent to go along with it. A regular down at Spring Studios, Kathi always remains loyal to her artistic vision, and every time she is drawing me, I eagerly anticipate seeing the final product, because I know it will be something different, imaginative and inspired. A world apart from what the other artists are doing. Whether through composition, colors, or painting surfaces, Kathi is always conceiving something fresh and distinct. From my point of view as a model, after seeing countless drawings of me that are diagrammed, academic, and oftentimes formal and stiff, it is refreshing to see myself rendered through Kathi’s artistic lens.
Gouache has a great illustrative quality. It’s colors have a matte finish and are therefore richer than those of watercolor. Gouache covers the surface like a true paint, while transparent watercolor is a “wash”.
At the National Academy this summer, while everyone else in the class painted me as I was – propped up pillows and cushions, atop a modeling platform- Kathi placed me on a bed of flowers! With a blue sky behind me. She created a whimsical, colorful fantasy, and I am the flower girl :holds up peace sign:
By Kathi Kirkpatrick, this is Claudia’s Floral Dream, in gouache: