The Beauty of Painting with Gouache – An Artist Story by Amy Beckwith

The Beauty of Painting with Gouache – An Artist Story by Amy Beckwith

1469463998.pngDiscovering Gouache

I am a gouache and print artist. I first came across gouache paint when I was studying my fashion and textile degree and have not looked back since. It is a wonderful medium; there is so much freedom when creating my paintings and they look so striking when printed onto textiles and canvases. I also love teaching and sharing my knowledge of gouache.

The Medium & Its History

The term gouache was first used in France in the eighteenth century to describe a type of paint made from pigments bound in water-soluble gum, like watercolour, but with the addition of a white pigment in order to make it opaque.

Larger percentages of binder are used than with watercolour, and various amounts of inert pigments such as chalk are added to enhance the opacity. Gouache forms a thicker layer of paint on the paper surface and does not allow the paper to show through. It is often used to create highlights in watercolours.

Today the term gouache is often used loosely to describe any drawing made in body colour. Body colour is any type of opaque water-soluble pigment used by artists from the late fifteenth century. Lead white was used until the introduction of zinc oxide, known as Chinese white, in the nineteenth century.

The above article is from

D24716_10 (1).jpg
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Title: The Confluence at Namur: Moonlight
Medium: Gouache, pen and ink and watercolour on paper
More of his works can be seen at The Tate caption


This water-based paint is easy to use and very versatile to work with. You can wash like a water colour, blend like an oil colour and dry brush like acrylic.


Past artists such as William Turner used gouache with watercolour in his landscape paintings. Pattern designers also painted with gouache for their original designs; these works were then reproduced into tapestries and textiles.

Gouache has a wonderful matt quality and can now be used in the modern industry to create digital designs. The contemporary artist Tim Hayward paints with gouache in his dramatic and colourful nature paintings.

Textile design
Place of origin: Lyons, France (made)
Date: 1762 (made)
Artist/Maker: Unknown (production)
Materials and Techniques: Gouache and ink on paper
This design is a preparatory technical drawing for a patterned silk. It acted as instructions for the weaver about how to tie up the threads on the loom and then weave in the pattern.
Can be seen at the Victoria & Albert Museum

My Inspirations

My artwork fuses gouache hand-painted designs with digital print to produce unique, intricate patterns and paintings. Paintings take inspiration from nature, birds, ornate designs and visits to historical museums during my travels.

I like to work from photos to produce my paintings and when possible I take my own photographs to capture scenes and native woodland wildlife. I then work from these photos to create my gouache originals.


There are so many methods and beautiful effects you can achieve with gouache.

Gouache can look striking on its own or when used with other mixed water-based mediums. Visit my website to discover more about painting with gouache and see an exciting range of workshops great for beginners and keen artists.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: