Gouache Painting Style and Technique

By blending my love for painting and drawing with my graphic design skills, I have developed a style which has evolved out of the cultures and influences experienced in my life. The Yunnan school of painting, with it's bold colors and simple forms, combines with the mandala paintings of the far East and Native American cultures to become my signature in painting, a form of mosaic of intense color, fluid forms, subtle shadings, and bold lines

The Subjects

In many cultures, the Sun and Moon represent the circle of life. In all my paintings, the circle is depicted. Sometimes hidden, oftentimes the focal point, it represents my own life as I have come full circle in the search for my own style of painting. The women represent all that is fertile, earth itself the Mother, the fountain of life. All their actions are interactions with nature and existence. Children represent immortality, as they have no sense of time or space. Everything exists for them. The birds represent the soul. Crows, especially, are found in all cultures and are usually the thief or trickster who cheat death and make away with the "prize" of life. 

The Medium

The fragile rice paper with its fine filaments and fibers represents the delicate balance of life energies in which we exists. The paper is painted on both sides, giving weight and strength to the paper... just as what I have brought into my life has strengthened who I am. The use of gouache, a heavily pigmented water color, is also a carefully chosen medium. The opaque nature of gouache, no matter how much it is diluted, does not thin or weaken its intensity. So is life. The addition of gold or silver metallic pen represents the boundaries in life... the outlines we choose to follow or cross as we make choices in our daily existence.

The Technique

Painting is done in four steps:
First, the drawing is carefully outlined in charcoal on the back of the rice paper. Once all the details are in place, silver or gold ink outlines are painted on the front of the painting.
Venus step 1

Second, a solid color is applied to the back, allowing to bleed through to show the fibers of the rice paper. The metallic ink seems to shimmer and float on the front of the rice paper.

Venus step 2

Third, the images are worked into the painting. Careful shadings, subtle details and delicate blending of colors and textures bring the painting to life, bringing an amazing depth to the images.

Venus step 3

Finally, the background is worked in to compliment the images. Additional metallic lines are added to create the mosaic effect and highlight the shapes and patterns in the painting.

The finished work is stunning: VENUS