Painting Gouache on wooden Boards

For a while I’ve been really curious about using gouache in new ways. I wonder what the limits are of this unique medium? I decided to give myself a day to just experiment, and it led me to a cool discovery.

I had some cradled panels lying around, so I decided to see how the gouache would handle on this surface.

The panels are primed with Winsor & Newton Galeria White Gesso Primer. One layer, sanded down, then another layer showing brush textures. However some people suggested that in the future I use watercolor ground – great idea!

Seascape painted with gouache on cradled panel.

Painting gouache on wooden board – the ups and downs

Gouache doesn’t like to stick to non-porous or glossy surfaces, which is why I used the gesso primer, because it has a matte finish.

To start my seascape gouache painting, I thinned down the gouache for the first layer, which took a few minutes to “soak in” – which was a bit frustrating at first. It started out looking very splotchy and messy. But once the initial layer dried, the next layers were MUCH easier to work with.

I also had to switch to a soft bristle brush because my normal flat brushes were too stiff, and would scrape the paint off the board rather than allow me to blend gouache into it.

However what I loved about this process is that the board was a nice sturdy surface, and less absorbent so I could really control my layers better, and add a nice thick layer on top with a palette knife.

Closeup of gouache texture on wooden board

Video Process

In this video I’m demonstrating how I paint with gouache on cradled wooden panels. It was a bit weird to paint on a board at first, but now I love it! I have a bunch of larger gouache paintings on boards in progress.

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I'm an independent artist living in Scotland. Always chasing the light, and painting the beautiful highlands.

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