This is one of several studies that I completed for a recent portrait commission. It was painted on white watercolor paper with a limited pallet of gouache paint.
What the heck is gouache?
Gouache is similar to watercolor; both are water soluble in a gum arabic based. Gouache is different in that it is opaque.
In watercolor, it is the white of the paper that you see through the paint that gives the painting it’s lights. With gouache, white paint is added.
It is an ‘additive medium’, meaning that the painting usually starts with painting the darks and builds up to the lights, adding light as you go. This is opposed to watercolor, which is a ‘subtractive medium’, meaning that you would start with the lights, the white of the paper, and things get darker and darker with the more paint you add.