Skip to content


May 3, 2013

I’ve been toying with the idea of a book for quite some time.  I wrote “Becoming A Painter In Only 45 Years” several years ago, ending it with a couple of gouache paintings.  I’ve wondered if maybe it was time to follow up.

I’ve been spending some time on my art blog, especially the Painting With Gouache section.  The last time I updated that was in 2009, and I continue to get comments from people who say it has been of value to them.  As I’ve read through that section, it has occurred to me that my experience over the last few years has made parts of it out of date, and there has been additional experience in regard to using gouache while living and working on the road, and while painting outdoors.

I use gouache in a completely different way than other artists, and have done some paintings that I feel very proud of.  There are also many pieces that remain somewhat unfinished… not finished enough to be included in my showcase site, but still good examples of how I work.  All of which begs the question:

What kind of book should I produce?

A simple coffee table book of paintings would be a nice vanity publication, but even if I use a self-publishing site like Blurb, I suspect the price of a large sized book wouldn’t attract a lot of buyers.  After reading through my Painting With Gouache section, and the many interested and interesting comments related to it, it occurs to me that something along the lines of “how I use gouache” highlighting a lot of my sketches and studies as well as finished paintings, might be of more value.  And it wouldn’t have to be coffee table size either.

At this point, it’s all just in the thinking stage.  Such an enterprise will take time, probably months, maybe a year, because I intend to continue enjoying life and painting and drawing along the way.

Let me know what you’d like to see.  More important, let me know if it’s something you’d buy, or might recommend for students.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. Nancy V permalink
    May 3, 2013 2:33 pm

    I like the “how I use gouache” theme. What led me to your sites initially was my search on how to use gouache. There are not that many books that deal with just opaque watercolor. It is only partially shown in some books on transparent watercolor.

  2. StardustArtStudio permalink
    May 3, 2013 3:51 pm

    I agree with Nancy. I found your site the same way. Looking for how to use gouche. Unfortunately my tries with gouache have not been very successful……all the more to admire your work.

  3. May 3, 2013 4:02 pm

    Me too, although I found your site through WetCanvas, I found your comments on gouache here very useful. Have you considered contacting North Light Books? They are already sponsoring some artists from Wet Canvas, and you have a specialist niche they might be interested in, given the lack of info out there. Good luck with it, Ralph!

  4. May 3, 2013 4:26 pm

    Hi Ralph…yes, I too, was drawn to your website and your wonderful art, through a Google search on more information about gouache. I’ve started using it recently, and your blog was a great source of information. I am using gouache to paint small portraits. I think the idea on how to use gouache, and your experience with it, is much needed. There is precious little out there in art medium books about gouache. Keep us posted on what you decide!

  5. May 3, 2013 9:48 pm

    Hi, Ralph…May I encourage you to write the book “how I use gouache” and yes, I would buy it if I could afford it! I don’t run into too many people who are even interested in gouache, but I am! I overheard someone talking about it one day and asked what it was and being the curious sort that I am and, at that time, was trying to decide on a medium but had not been successful. I am a very amateur artist, but my first attempt at using gouache produced a painting of flowers that I just sat back and stared at hardly believing that I had produced it. What I loved about it right off was the brilliant color! Only your work and your blog encourage me to continue to use this medium outside of my own enjoyment of it. Someday you might be hailed as the guy who discovered that it is as valid as any other, especially acrylic which for some reason is an accepted medium. Go figure! I tried some of that recently and while it had some of the same features as gouache the painting was sorta flat! Well, whatever you do, don’t quit sharing it all with us! Many blessings to you and your wife in your travels and other endeavors!

  6. Jennifer Nichols permalink
    May 3, 2013 11:41 pm

    I would love to see you write a book about gouache, how to paint with it and then
    include all your beautiful paintings. I have been following you for a couple of years
    now and you inspired me to paint with gouache plein air. I know I would buy your book!

  7. May 4, 2013 5:16 am

    My 11 year old daughter is now experimenting with gouache so if you were to produce a book that would help her with her technique and practical useage then yes I would buy it. Keep up the fine work. We are both enjoying the blog.

  8. May 15, 2013 7:36 pm

    As others have said, there are very few books that deal with gouache in a serious way. Sharing your techniques and insight about the medium would help a lot of artists.

  9. May 19, 2013 1:39 am

    There are just about a million books out there on “how to paint,” but when I first started I couldn’t find a single one specific to gouache. Go for it!!

    • May 20, 2013 3:40 pm

      Wow, what an encouraging bunch of comments about the book! Thanks for the replies, everyone. I’ve started on it, but it’s going to take a while.

  10. May 21, 2013 7:55 am

    I’m late to this party but agree with everyone else. There are no comprehensive how-to books just for gouache out there and I found your site looking for information too. So I’m adding my “encouragement” to those comments already posted.

  11. February 14, 2016 9:09 pm

    I found your website looking for gouache instruction/ideas as well. Now it’s nearly 3 years later and I’m hoping you are still working on that book. As a transparent watercolorist, trying to learn to use gouache has been frustrating. It’s a totally different thought process. I would be thrilled to buy a book that teaches about gouache.

  12. Bridget Williams permalink
    December 3, 2016 1:34 am

    If I found your book in any of the local bookstores I would definitely buy it, and treasure it!
    Avid Gouache learner Aussie Bridget 🙂

  13. Robyn (Ro) Lovelock permalink
    October 9, 2020 7:38 pm

    Hi Ralph…I would be very interested in buying a book on how to use gouache. Especially if it includes step by step demos. I think that is what most people want. The “how to’s”. A download version or Kindle maybe?? This would be Fantastic
    Thanks Ralph…hope you and Nell are keeping safe in these Covid times.
    Warmest Regards 🙂🧡Ro x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: