Welcome to International Fake Journal Month 2013!

What is IFJM?
Please read the page "What Is IFJM" for details.
Learn the difference between Faux, Fake, and Fake Historical Journals.

2019 IFJM Celebration
IFJM has been suspended indefinitely. Please read the pinned post about this below.

Participants who Post Their Journals
A list of 2018 participants who are posting their fake journals this year will appear near the top of the right side bar of this blog around April 6. Lists of participants who posted their pages in 2010 through 2017 appear lower in the same column. Please pay them a visit and check out their fake journals.

View a Couple of Roz's Past Fake Journals
Roz's 2009 fake journal takes place in an alternate Twin Cites, where disease has killed the human and bird populations. (It ends up being an upbeat tale of friendship.) Watch a video flip through of Roz's 2009 fake journal here.

Read an explanation of Roz's insanely complex 2011 fake journal.

Tips on Keeping a Fake Journal
Click on "tips" in the category cloud.

Remember, "Life's so short, why live only one?"

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

DaVinci Gouache—A Review and Why I Used It in My 2013 Fake Journal

Left: The plastic palette I set up for working with DaVinci gouache for this project, and a bag of tubes of DaVinci Gouache. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Note: My favorite gouache remains Schmincke Gouache. You can read numerous posts at Roz Wound Up describing why I love to work with that wonderful paint—not only because the line contains PB60. If I can't work with Schmincke gouache I will work with M. Graham (but that line is severely limited by the lack of PB60). Read this review to learn if DaVinci holds promise for your working methods. I will continue to use DaVinci off and on for sketching until I empty the tubes but I will not use it for my paintings and I will not recommend it to students wishing to study color theory.

Sometime in March I went to life drawing and finally tried the four tubes of DaVinci gouache I had purchased in February 2012! (I know I purchased them then because I date paint tubes when I bring them into the studio.)

I put the plastic palette on which I'd laid out the pigments into a plastic bag (like the one shown in the photo) and left them for a week while I did other things at home. I was amazed a week later that the paints were still soft-ish. That got my mind thinking.

Then I decided to do "ugly paintings."

I'm not stingy with paint. And I don't feel reluctant to use it when I am painting. However, I intended during April 2013 to paint for hours each day and run through a lot of paint. I thought it would be useful to have a less expensive paint for this process. The lesser quality of the paint didn't matter to my character—she doesn't care about archival issues and lightfastness and such the way I usually do.

I thought the 2013 fake journal would be the perfect time and place to spend some concentrated time and effort getting to know this line of paints.

I decided to go out and purchase some additional tubes of DaVinci gouache for the 2013 fake journal. Since the line doesn't include PB60 I was forced to use their Phthalo Blue and Ultramarine Blue. Because of that I also picked up additional colors not in my usual palette, such as Raw Sienna. I wanted to push the color choices into areas I don't usually go—further distancing myself from this paint and the color palette.

I used the following colors listed here in no particular order, well actually the order in which I pulled them out of the bag: Venetian Red, Red Violet, White Titanium, Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna, Raw Umber, Burnt Umber, Ultramarine Blue, Phthalo Blue, Magenta, Red, Red Rose (Quin), Yellow Medium, Yellow Ochre, and Yellow Light Hansa. You can find a listing of DaVinci Gouache and the pigments each color contains at their website. I purchased my tubes at my favorite local art supply store Wet Paint, but they are available in numerous locations across the country if you wish to try them.

My methods and rationale for working the way I did in this year's fake journal will be discussed at length in a later post but I wanted you to see some images of one spread in which I used a DaVinci Gouache sketch today.

It was my hope that I would take many progress shots of the elements in this journal. Unfortunately the quick circumstances under which I was working didn't always allow for this, but I have almost a full set of the components that make up the process of the "clown" spread.

(I've made arrangements to have the final book shot with good lighting, but for now I have these photos  taken as I was working through the book.)

Click on any image to view an enlargement.

Left: I began with a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen sketch on Fabriano gridded paper. I had 9 x 12 inch sheets and they weren't large enough so I taped two pieces together with washi tape (red berry pattern visible in some areas along the seam). I then painted using DaVinci gouache. Then I cut out the image. 

Left: A detail of the clown face.  
Left: Additional detail from the clown image.  
Above: The journal page spread before any art was added to it. This is an acrylic paint monoprint made using the Gelli Arts Printing Plate, and also additional paint added by rolling the brayer across the page.  

Left: The Clown painting glued into place on the page spread. Note that the book was already so full at this point in the project that the painting wraps around a bulge to get down into the gutter, thus distorting the image slightly. I like that, or rather, my character did.  

Left: I was gluing collaged items into this book with PVA because I knew I would be painting on future pages and the moisture from paint on a future spread would seep through the page and potentially dislodge a painting added with something simpler like glue stick. What happened when I used PVA surprised me. The PVA put moisture into the painting through the back of the sheet I was gluing. Then when I laid it in place on the spread and positioned a piece of wax paper over the painting to burnish it in place I found that enough moisture came through the paper that it softened the paint and the paint lifted off onto the wax paper. (This happening in only a few seconds; less than a minute.) The remaining painting often lacked final details as they came off on the wax paper. A very interesting phenomenon totally in keeping with the process and desires and attitudes of my character. The painting had been completely dry when the image was glued. Sometimes there were days of drying before an image was glued into place. I routinely paint with Schmincke gouache and glue down those images with UHU Gluestick. It doesn't have sufficient moisture to reactivate the paint. I will have to do additional tests at some other date to see how PVA effects Schmincke gouache. Click on the image to view an enlargement. 

Left: The final page spread shows the sketch glued in place with additional collage material glued at the side and rubberstamped text.

Problems I Encountered with DaVinci Gouache:

1. The line doesn't include all the pigments I enjoy working with specifically PB60. This forced me to be experimental in my color mixes and it's good to push out of your comfort zone sometimes.

2. The gouache is very stiff after only a little bit of working and I ruined two quality synthetic brushes. (I would recommend that people working with this paint use stiffer brushes like a Bristlton). I found it was fun (not a bad thing) to keep pushing the paint around, but the result was bristles bent beyond repair. I could compensate and add more water in more quickly, but I did enjoy pushing the paint around even though I knew I was ruining a brush. (The paint pulled and "stuck" so much when I was moving paint around that one side of a filbert actually curled away from the main body of the brush. The other brush was a round and was quickly worn and splayed.)

3. Thick layers of paint tend to dry with an almost slick surface which is indicative of how they are formulating their paint. If you're used to a matte gouache that isn't going to be achievable. I think the slick surface might be caused by the type of gum Arabic used, or some other binder additive I'm unaware of being included in this paint.

4. Mixing even pigments I'm accustomed to mixing I found the results were muddier than when mixing Schmincke gouache.

5. Washed out glazes of these paints are not as rich and saturated as either Schmincke or M. Graham brands of gouache.

6. There is a "cloudiness" to the washes of color when used lightly.

7. The tackiness of the paint is a distinct disadvantage when you are painting on non-typical surfaces, particularly toothy ones like the sumi paper I used for a background for this painting of a French Bulldog on a different spread. I found it was difficult to control the strokes in my normal fashion.

Fun Things I Encountered with DaVinci Gouache:

1. The slick surface mentioned in item 3 above is something I actually became fond of. I could rub my finger over the dried surface of the painting without marring it. The impasto created allowed for more showiness/messiness in the brushstrokes which my character (and I) loved.

2. Even in thick applications of paint the gouache holds well to the page, even when that page is repeatedly bent. It is a flexible paint film for gouache.

3. The paint stays softer on the palette longer than other brands I've used. If you're going to use an inexpensive, lower quality paint I recommend you use this brand instead of Lukas, Holbein and such. I think you'll get more out of your paint because you won't have to reconstitute it as much and it won't be crumbly when you do. (Note: when I rewet Schmincke and M. Graham I do not have problems with crumbling.)
Note: If you think that M. Graham gouache has a tacky consistency and you don't like that you will find that DaVinci is even more tacky, as expressed in the comments in both the problems and fun categories of this list. I think that M. Graham has a smooth and even consistency and is slightly more tacky than Schmincke (which I also feel has a smooth consistency). However DaVinci is much more tacky thank M. Graham. It will have the benefit of staying soft on your palette longer, but I think it's downright sticky compared to the other brands.

4. There is good opacity in this paint, though often I had to paint a first layer and then let it dry and paint an additional layer. Most of this I believe was due to the unsuitable paper on which I was painting. Some pigments were less opaque than others as is true in any line.

5. There is no unpleasant binder or other smell in this paint. (Winsor and Newton Gouache has a chemical smell that bothers me. So does Lukas.)

Additional Comments

You can find a color chart with lightfastness ratings and pigment numbers on the DaVinci site. They provide Cobalt Hue and use PB29 to do it, which is the pigment used for French Ultramarine Blue. They are doctoring it in some way to come up with a less expensive Cobalt paint. If this is a pigment that matters to you you'll have problems with that. The yellows are disappointing to me in range and in lightfastness. I would not recommend this paint to my color theory students if they wanted to have great success mixing and discovering colors they love. But if someone wants a less expensive gouache that doesn't stink and has a bit of room for some play in brush handling he might like this paint.

Get a limited number of tubes (a red, a yellow, a blue) and test them. (Oh, and the year old paint I had, it was just fine.)

Just don't try to wet the backs of your paintings with PVA and glue them down!


Since finishing the fake journal I haven't used DaVinci gouache until this past week. Tonight I was working in another journal with it on the back of a previous painting made with DaVinci gouache and I experienced the same REACTIVATION of dry paint that happened when I applied PVA to the backs of my loose sheet paintings.

You can go to the emergency post about this characteristic here.

What you should know is that I do not recommend DaVinci gouache for use in a visual journal because of this. (But if you should decide to use it my new post has some recommendations for you.)

I have NEVER had this problem with either Schmincke or M. Graham gouache brands and so of course I can still heartily recommend either of those two brands for anyone interested in working with gouache in their visual journal.


Anonymous said...

The excitement builds. I can hardly wait to see the big reveal of the entire journal. Looks like your character fully explored new directions. The gelli plate monotypes add a dynamic element.

Roz Stendahl said...

Thanks Lynn, I am hoping to make a not great but OK video of the entire book later this week so people can look through the whole thing. Because of scheduling problems I can't have the book properly shot until the end of May. I'll post some other partial things after the video and before the good photos, but I hope you'll check back in May when the good photos are up too. I'll also write more about my character in the interim, and my experience creating this year's fake journal. I just wish I could get the kind of detail I'd like to show right now. That will teach me to work in an un-scan-able book! It has mad so much extra work.

Gelli plates are great fun. I can't say enough good things about them. I think everyone should try them.

ELLEN said...

It is great to find out about some less expensive materials that have some successful applications. On that note: I received a Faber Castell " Connector" series pan gouache set, initially marketed to children. I contacted Faber Castell and they confirmed a high lightfastness rating! I used this inexpensive kit for much of my journal and was pleasantly surprised by how much a simple tool can do!Part of my goal was to use up stuff hanging around the studio, anything that has not been touched in over 6 months.

Roz Stendahl said...

Ellen, I do not know of the "Faber-Castell Connector Series" pan gouache set. I will have to try to find this. I'm glad that its got high lightfastness rating—always fun to find inexpensive materials that do.

I love the goal of using stuff you have hanging around the studio. I think anything we can do to focus and create some boundaries makes the choices that happen in IFJM or or regular journals more intense and useful.

At the beginning of the year I started a journal project (still on going) to use a particular paper that I had not been using as quickly as I thought I would be using. It's been great on so many levels.

Dianne said...

really enjoying your character's way of working...the collage is fascinating and I am enjoying the way you've combined it with your paintings!

Roz Stendahl said...

Thanks Dianne.