Arteza Gouache Review

I bought the Earth Tones set which comes with 12 colors:

  • Titanium White (PW6)
  • Gray (PW6/PBk11)
  • Stone Blue (PW6/PB15/PG7/PBK11)
  • Seaweed (PY42/PG7/PB15/PBk11)
  • Olive Green (PW6/PY1/PB15/PY42)
  • Pale Yellow (PW6/PY42)
  • Yellow Ochre (PY42)
  • Latte Brown (PW6/PY42/PBk11)
  • Burnt Umber (PBr6/PY42)
  • Toffee (PW6, PBk11, PBr6)
  • Tan (PW6, PBk11, PY42, PR101)
  • Taupe (PW6/PBk11/PBr6)

Basic Information

At $0.74 (average) per tube this gouache is on the cheaper end of the gouache spectrum. The 12 ml tubes are smaller than the standard 15 ml tubes on the market.

Regarding color permanence, they provide us with pigment numbers so we can do our own research to quickly find out if there are any known fugitive colors (fade quickly). The Olive Green uses PY1 (Arylide) which is known to fade or become brown in UV exposure over time. If this is important to you, I suggest doing your own lightfast tests. I will update my Gouache Database with the results from my lightfast tests.

The company told me their binder is made with a gum acacia (which is the same thing as gum Arabic) and it’s vegan friendly which is a bonus.

Swatches

Below are the color swatches of the Arteza Gouache Earth Tones set, as well as a quick color mixing sheet to show a general idea of what you can mix.

Arteza Gouache Earth Tones Swatches
These pages have been color corrected to match what I see in person. Your monitor colors may vary.
Arteza Gouache Earth Tones Color Mixes

Performance

I was pleasantly surprised by how this gouache felt. During the color swatches, it was immediately apparent that they have a good flow and are not streaky or gummy. In fact they felt very creamy and smooth. Because it’s so opaque, I was able to fill large flat areas of color without streaks, as well as create soft gradients without a problem. My guess is that they are opaque because most of the tubes contain at least a little white – that always boosts the opacity.

They did seemed to dry extremely quickly on the palette, faster than what I’m used to. After painting, it was only about 15-20 minutes until they were rock hard and ‘crumbling’ off the palette. The larger piles of leftover paint were slightly moist, but any small piles were really crumbly. Because of how fast this gouache dries, my suggestion is to use it in a stay-wet palette, especially if you paint slowly or need the same color mixes over multiple sessions. Conclusion: I found the Arteza Gouache to be very enjoyable to paint with! I’m absolutely amazed at their performance for such a low price. Out of all the cheap student grade gouache, I’ve tested this is the best. The opacity and consistency even beats some of the professional brands I’ve tried. I would use this before I use Royal Talens or even Daniel Smith gouache. I’m going to purchase the normal color set to test my theory about the opacity.

Arteza Gouache Earth Tones Review Painting by Sarah Burns

Color Review: Almost all of these tubes contain multiple pigments. Many of them contain the same pigments which keeps the color range cohesive. The ‘Earth Tones’ is an interesting marketing idea. Although I understand these are meant for landscapes, the set includes far too many tan/brown tones and not enough blues. Blue is one of the most important colors in landscapes. You use it in skies, water, mixing greens, shadows, etc. Almost every mix in a landscape uses blue. This set only has one blue and it’s rather dull. The set doesn’t contain a red – the closest you get is Burnt Umber or Tan, both of which are not mixing reds. So you can’t mix purple or orange. The company markets this towards people who ‘struggle with vibrant tones in their landscapes’ which is interesting to me, it’s like they are doing us a favor. But this stops people from learning how to properly mix neutrals from the primary colors. I think they should have included at least one stronger blue option like ultramarine. This would increase the versatility of this set tremendously. There are only two yellows and both are very earthy. This is not as useful for creating a wider range of greens or turquoise, something I use a lot for coastal scenes.

Conclusion: This set will limit your color range and force you to stylize your color choices. So if you like the limited color range, it’s a fun challenge and has a special charm. But it may be trickier for a beginner to figure out how to paint a variety of scenes with this set. I noticed they offer a “Sea Tones” set which might round out this palette perfectly.

Arteza Gouache Earth Tones Review

The label on the “taupe” color in particular did not match the paint color.

Arteza Gouache Earth Tones Review

Creamy consistency.

Arteza Gouache Earth Tones Review
It dries faster than I expected. The dark green pile started to dry out before I was done with the painting (approx 20 minutes).
Arteza Gouache Earth Tones Review Painting by Sarah Burns

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

2 thoughts on “Arteza Gouache Review

  1. I’m 73 and just starting gouache! Fortunately I found your invaluable website for learning and have a few questions. I’m working on illustration board primed with art spectrum Black colourfix primer for a sanded surface, because I’m painting from my own reference photos taken at night with dramatic lighting set up in my garden. You know..fairies.. toads. magic..the whole deal! But my yellows all turn green(cool) on the black surface and I feel like I might need some serious underpainting for even my darker blues, greens and purples to show. So I need the opacity of gouache, light/dark contrasts, using more like watercolor soft blends. But don’t want the lighter colour underpainting to lift with layers and glazing. Have you ever used full strength casein emulsion mixed with gouache to make non-lifting underpaintings for rich color areas (like working on a white surface) but still leave the deep black primer untouched for the night ? On your advice, I bought the Arteza gouache large set and having a blast, but can’t solve the problems that a black surface creates..always like a challenge, right ?? Any help will be very much appreciated. Most sincerely..Wendy

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