I'm waiting for Dick to get home so that he can draw a name out of the hat for the winner of the Spot-the-Robot game in my 2013 Fake Journal Video.
Meanwhile I have URGENT Business to discuss with you.
I wrote a review of DaVinci gouache here.
As soon as I post this post I will go and put an addendum on that original post—but I didn't want you to MISS THIS NEWS.
I was painting this evening in a large 11 x 14 inch Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Hardbound Journal. (It is cheaper for me to buy those journals in that size than to make journals in that size because of the sheet size I can get paper in. And as you can see from this year's fake journal I'm just working larger and larger all the time—so an 11 x 14 inch Strathmore journal seemed a nice choice).
I have worked on this paper since it came out some time ago. I love it. I make books out of it (smaller books, square books mostly, as those aren't available). I have worked on this paper in gouache before, with Schmincke and M. Graham brand gouache.
Imagine my surprise then when I was working on a gouache painting with DaVinci gouache and thought, "well that paper is getting moist I wonder if I will have the same problem that I had when I was gluing down paintings made with DaVinci Gouache." (Remember—the moisture in the glue reactivated the dry paint and it came up on the wax paper I used to burnish the painting in place! You can see a photo of this and read about it in my review of DaVinci gouache, link repeated here.)
I pulled the left page back and SURE ENOUGH the moisture from the new painting on the next spread had migrated through the paper and it had reactivated the paint on the previous spread. That "dry" painting on the previous page had started to "print" onto its facing page.
THIS IS NOT A PAPER PROBLEM.
I have for decades painted with gouache in my journals, painting on one spread on one day and then the next day painting on the back of the very page I'd painted on the day before. I have used a variety of cheap gouache brands over the years and in the past 10 years I've used Schmincke gouache and then M. Graham gouache (I don't recall exactly when M. Graham released their gouache line, but I started using it right away.)
I have never had a situation on ANY of the papers I make journals out of (and Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media paper is one of those papers) where the paint on the previous spread was reactivated by the moisture from the new layers of paint on the current page spread. The list of papers I've used includes most watercolor papers that are 90 and 140 lb., lots of printing papers, several drawing papers, you get the idea—a wide variety.
This has never happened to me before.
But here it was happening today.
It is a characteristic of DaVinci Gouache.
BEWARE OF THIS.
I would not recommend anyone use DaVinci Gouache for visual journaling because of this characteristic—paint reactivating because of moisture/painting on the next page, causing the paint to reactivate and "print" onto its facing page.
Use either Schmincke or M. Graham brands of gouache. I've never had this problem with them.
I'm not overly fond of Holbein gouache for a number or reasons you can read on my main blog but it is opaque and even if somewhat fugitive it's fun to use. I've never had this problem with it either.
Because of this moisture reactivation characteristic I would further recommend that if you do choose to use DaVinci gouache in your visual journal that you NEVER, EVER close your book with even moist glue a few page spreads further on in the book. If you weight your pages when you glue, like I do, you'll be trapping the moisture from the glue (even a glue stick has moisture) and that may migrate through the pages to your painting and reactivate the DaVinci gouache, causing it to "print" on its facing page, ruining perhaps your favorite spread, and at best altering it.
If you do use DaVinci gouache in your visual journal always place a dividing sheet (I recommend glassine for a permanent sheet, or wax paper during gluing) between two pages of a spread that have a "dry" painting on them, when you are gluing later in your book. That way if moisture from the glue, matte medium, gel medium, acrylic paint, watercolor, or gouache migrates through the paper (as moisture will do in any paper) and it reactivates that gouache painting, you'll have protected it from messing across facing pages.
I would do this even if you use gesso as a ground on your pages before you paint on them. Gesso should stop some of the moisture transfer, but I wouldn't bet on it.
I think your best bet is to avoid this gouache for visual journaling all together. If you want to experiment with it, use it on single sheets you'll only be painting on one side.
Or use it on separate sheets of paper as I did in my 2013 fake journal, cut out the painting and glue it in your journal—keeping in mind that you can't weight it as it dries, or even burnish it down hard, or you'll pick up too much of the original painting. (See my original review of DaVinci gouache as to how I did this and what happened. And keep glassine or wax paper between the pages of a spread where a painting has been glued in if that painting was made with DaVinci gouache and you are painting or gluing further on in your book.)
This is pretty much a deal breaker for me for using DaVinci gouache in my visual journals.
Again, I have had decades of using other gouache, specifically Schmincke gouache and then M. Graham, and I have not experienced this "quirk" which I would label a problem, with either of those brands, even on very lightweight paper, like Nideggen.
I had to let you know about this right way. I thought the problem I experienced in the fake journal came out of my practice of painting on loose sheets and gluing those paintings in. PVA is very moist.
I didn't realize the paint would respond in this way if another painting were painted on the reverse side.
Now I'm going to put a note on that original post! BEWARE.
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