When browsing the Holly Ready show here at Maine Art Shows, you will notice a few pieces that are not like the others. Unlike her large oil canvases, these sweet little pieces are set behind glass and contrasted with large white mats to enhance the color and tones of this distinctive style of art.
Gouache is a painting technique consisting of pigment, water and a binding agent. Even though gouache does have more opacity than watercolor, it still doesn’t sit on the top of the paper like acrylic. It seeps in and stains the paper in a similar way to watercolor.
“When I paint with gouache I will often leave the lightest parts of the composition for the white of the paper,” says Ready. “Then I either warm up the white by using yellows, reds, oranges or cool it down using blues, greens, violets as the painting progresses.”
Ready’s intent with the gouache, as well as with the oils, is to make colors sing. She gives the painting a feeling of light by using different values; the lights and darks, chroma; the intensity of the color and temperatures; the cool and warm colors.
“I work my paintings into landscapes that transcend the feeling of light, regardless of the medium I am using to paint with. With gouache, I wipe away the color as I work to create a depth. This enhances the tones and gives them a jewel-like quality.”
When Ready switches between mediums, from acrylic to oil to watercolor to gouache, there is a bit of a remembering that has to happen. It takes some time to become reacquainted with the paint. How it moves. How it interacts. How it finishes. Each medium has it’s own personality, and she has to get to know it again, but enjoys the change and variety different mediums provide.
“Gouache is completely different. I still use warm and cool colors, but it is the layering that is so important,” says Ready. “I start with real intense color. Then I go over it with grays or reds to bring out different colors. I build it that way. Above the sunset there is a warmth to the sky. Often I put on yellow first and let it dry. Then can I add from there.”
Gouache remains “live,” unless it is fixed in some way. If more wet paint or even a wet brush is applied, it will activate the existing paint. The existing paint can then mix with the fresh paint. It is a challenge many artists won’t take on.
“For me, this is a nice change. It is a way for me to take a break from the oils I use most of the time,” says Ready. “These works are some of my favorites. I would buy these.”
We welcome you to come in and see this work in person. We are Maine Art Shows at 10 Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk, Maine. You will find us open from 11am – 5pm daily. Holly’s one-woman show runs until Thursday, July 21. If you cannot make it to Kennebunk, please check out her show on-line by clicking this link. Holly Ready at Maine Art.
If you are interested in more blogs from Maine Art about Holly Ready, follow this link. Maine Art Blog – Holly Ready.
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