Each year, my busy art career takes me to near and far away places. Ironically, I oftentimes find myself with little or no time to plein air paint.

Scott Gellatly product manager Gamblin Artist Colors

That is why I am really excited about traveling with opaque gouache and watercolor paints, and a watercolor sketchbook!

Artist Scott  Gellatly was the Product Manager for Gamblin Artist Colors for many years. On the road a lot, Scott discovered a simple plein air painting system using only opaque gouache and watercolor paints.

I thought you’d enjoy seeing Scott’s opaque gouache and watercolor sketchbook.

Traveling and Painting with Opaque Gouache and Watercolor for the Busy Artist

As painters, it’s safe to say that we’re always painting. Or, at least thinking about painting.

We’re constantly looking at light, color and form. As a plein air painter, in particular, I’m always aware of the landscape around me – especially when I’m traveling.

opaque gouache and watercolor
The pace of travel is not always conducive to setting up my oil painting gear and spending a couple hours on a painting, however. This is where the practice of traveling with gouache and watercolor comes into play.
opaque gouache and watercolor
Though I’m an oil painter to the core, I’ve enjoyed working with water colors for years. My interest in this medium was rejuvenated about a year and a half ago during a family trip to Kauai.
Spending 15 – 20 minutes on a small painting is certainly more compatible with family vacations and I’m able to satisfy my desire to paint, while not abandoning my family. opaque gouache and watercolor
In a slight variation to using watercolors exclusively, I incorporate a few tubes of opaque gouache into my process. This makes the technique and resulting paintings more akin to my oil painting.

opaque gouache and watercolor

oil painting, opaque gouache and watercolor
Oil painting from gouache study

My palette in oils is based around a split primary palette, incorporating both opaque and transparent colors.
opaque gouache and watercolor
Generally, I try to stick with the approach of using transparent darks and opaque lights in my  oil painting, which broadens the value range of the work and contributes to the sense of depth.
In addition to my travel set of transparent watercolors, I include titanium white, cadmium yellow light and cadmium orange in gouache.
Yes, I will occasionally use these small paintings as inspiration or studies for larger studio oils.

However, as Emerson said, “The reward of a thing well done is having done it.”

To me these paintings are complete – no matter how small they are or how long they took me to paint.
Guest artist/author: Scott Gellatly
PS. Lori’s new DVD and video, Luminous Landscape Painting with Lori McNee is NOW AVAILABLE. Click the link to learn more.