Top 10 Questions About M. Graham & Co. Artists’ Gouache

There is nothing more fun for me than a new paint to play with… OK, there is a competition with that and my guitar with fresh strings, but I digress..

Until today, I’ve never played with professional gouache before. M. Graham & Co. was extremely generous and had sent me three tubes of their artists’ gouache to play with! Kind of like a pug, I got so excited I nearly passed out! I’m floored, and extremely grateful! Thank you M. Graham & Co.!

The colors given to me are Naphthol Red PR112, Azo Yellow PY151 which is actually Benzimidazolone Yellow, which is a terrific middle yellow; and Phthalocyanine blue PB15:3, which is a gorgeous blue.

When playing with a new medium, the first painting is always a disaster. Seriously. I tried to paint a simple cupcake, and it looked like a 5 year old painted it! Hahaha. I’m going to play around with these pigments more and make a decent painting within the next few days, then show and tell. I am throughly enjoying playing with gouache, they are like no other paints on the planet! They are a whole different animal.

So, I’m going to try and answer ten of the questions about M. Graham Artist’s Gouache.

1. What surfaces can you use gouache on? I had successful results with mixed media paper, watercolor paper, Bristol board, Yupo, and art journals.

2. How do they blend? You can blend them as you would with oil paint, or as you would with watercolors to get two distinct effects. The blending is very smooth. Gouache has it’s own distinct painting feel experience.

3. How vibrant are they? The colors are bright, clean and beautiful.

4. Do they darken when dry? If it is straight from the tube, no, there is barely any shift, if at all. However, once you introduce more water than pigment, the colors will lighten, just as with transparent watercolors.

5. Are they matte when dry? Yes, but not chalky or dull.

6. Can gouache be reactivated with water like watercolors? Yes, both on paper and on the palette. But, you will have to use them as you would with transparent watercolors, as they will not have the same opacity as you get from mixing straight from the tube.

7. What brushes do you use? Watercolor brushes. I have two – a Winsor & Newton Series 7 Finest Sable No. 2 and a Blick Master Natural Pure Squirrel No. 6.

8. What is M. Graham & Co gouache made with? Pure pigments, Northwest honey and gum Arabic.

9. What makes gouache opaque? At this time, I do not know what M. Graham uses to make their gouache opaque. They specifically state that they do not add chalk or other fillers, and lists three ingredients, see question number 8. Other manufacturers will use titanium white or chalk. I do not see any evidence that they add anything more than what they state, as the colors are clean and bright as any other professional medium.

10. What colors does M. Graham & Co. have available in gouache? They have 35 colors. While that doesn’t seem like much, even I, Little Miss Picky Palette is pleased with the pigment choices they offer. Here is the .pdf to M. Graham & Co. Gouache Color Chart. It will open a new window at their website.

Bonus question: Will M. Graham & Co. gouache work with transparent watercolors? In my short lived experience, yes. I mixed the gouache red with a white Daniel Smith watercolor stick to make a pink color, it looks fantastic. See the journal photo. If you use gouache as you would with transparent watercolor, you can let all of the white of the paper and the layers shine through or let the colors mingle; but if you use it as you would acrylics, you can make it a flat uniform color.

If you have more questions, ask in the comments below, and I will respond. Please note that it will not automatically appear, as I check for spam. It usually takes me a day to respond. Thank you for your patience!

It is quite amazing what you can do with just three colors. The black in the following image of Snootle was just a mix of red and blue!

Until next time,

Happy Painting!

– Tia

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