At the end of October and beginning of November the colors of autumn seem to peak in our forest and gardens here. I was on the way into the woods but decided to stay on a meadow with some fruit trees and an old garden shack near the forest edge.
I am experimenting with primed paper in one of my sketchbooks. This gouache sketch was “hard work” as I had painted the paper first with some abstract acrylic colour pattern which then was covered with a layer of white wall paint. The wall paint is hydrophobic to some extent. Some spots on the sketch need hours to dry. I had to apply a bit of gouache color, that floated a lot on the surface of the paper. The next time I will sand the wall paint layer to see whether gouache colors will connect easier then.
This gouache sketch was done rather quickly without building a background first. Instead I started with the tree trunks in black and added the other elements step by step and modifying colours by sketching wet in wet.
This sketch was done in two sessions starting as usual from the back and painting/sketching towards the foreground. Each state of the sketch could be seen as a kind of under painting for the next stage.
The sequence of images below documents some of the intermediate states of this sketch and the way it developed. Gouache is very suitable to work in colour layers, with a wet brush layers can be connected, with strongly thinned colour subtle colour changes can be achieved,
As the gouache is an opaque medium one can work from light to dark and back.
There are windy days, the wind howls up in the trees. I have walked to the very edge of the village district. Looking through the trees I can see some orchards down hill and in the far distance the next bigger city in front of hazy blue background hills.
Flies and crickets inspected my sketch. Interesting to see how they take place on a suitable background colour that supports their camouflage.
oak trunk detail, gouache dry bristle brush technique
We are approaching the most boring time in the year from my perspective now. At the peak of summer there are not many colors in the landscape, all the different greens have changed to almost the same dull, saturated green.
There is not much light under the tree tops left. When I walk with my camera I find shutter speeds of 1/60 or less, which means that there is less light than indoors.
Somehow the greenish light filter of the leaves creeped into this sketch. Temperatures were fairly low in the morning, but then with the sun came the flies too.
I prepared the under painting with lots of colour splashes. The paper got so wet that it broke when I had to lift the page a bit.
I put a piece of fleece under the left page to protect the previous sketch. The water gets through on the backside of the page and might ruin the previous sketch.
A piece of beautiful blue sky framed by some beech trees caught my attention, made me stop and do a gouache sketch. I really enjoy the beginning of these sketches when everything is a possibility and the colours can be dropped and splashed around.