Holbein Acryla Gouache
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    Holbein Acryla Gouache

    Hey hello!

    First post Sorry if I'm posting this in the wrong forum...

    I've got a question about the Holbein acryla gouache. Have anyone used them? I bought some in ebay and I'm a little bit dissapointed about them. But perhaps it's only that I don't know how to use them properly.

    Holbein acryla gouache are gouache paints that once dried are not water-soluble, just like acrylic paints. The thing is that I put the paints from the tube to the palette and they dry very fast, and also, I don't like that you can't reactivate the paint in the palette once it has dried. I don't see the benefits, but I've read about some artists that use them (Tony Diterlizzy and I think Rebecca Guay) so there has to be a reason...

    Also, by the way, I'm currently trying to learn to use the gouache. Are you supposed to always mix it with a lot of white? I tried transparent colors but they didn'nt seem right in gouache.

    Thanks a lot, any advice will be appreciated!

    Cheers!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emigre View Post
    Holbein acryla gouache are gouache paints that once dried are not water-soluble, just like acrylic paints. The thing is that I put the paints from the tube to the palette and they dry very fast, and also, I don't like that you can't reactivate the paint in the palette once it has dried.
    Yeah, that's what acrylics do. You can get a stay-wet palette, or squeeze your paint onto a strip of folded damp paper towel, and regularly mist your palette with a spray bottle.


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    Thanks, I didn't know about the stay-wet palette, and perhapas I can try the spray bootle or the paper towel.

    Cool horse, by the way. : )

    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Yeah, that's what acrylics do. You can get a stay-wet palette, or squeeze your paint onto a strip of folded damp paper towel, and regularly mist your palette with a spray bottle.


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    I just happened to buy a tube of these today to try out.

    So far it does really seem to be in-between gouache and acrylics. It dries faster than regular gouache but stays somewhat blend-able at least a couple of hours later. Dries matte, so it seems less out of place beside watercolour/gouache than regular acrylics would. Handles more like gouache.

    Have you tried normal watercolour/gouache or acrylics? These seem like they definitely have their purpose but perhaps if you don't have context of other paints handling these would seem a bit weird.

    In terms of how to use them, just experiment. Maybe try building up thin layers like watercolour, and then using thicker layers on top of that. Or however, there are multitudes of ways you can use this kind of paint.

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    Yes, I have used watercolors and gouache. Acrylics too, some years ago.

    The thing is that I could use the spray or the special palette as Elwell sugested, but why bother if using regular gouache is just easier?

    I'm curious about what are the benefits that you get using the acryla gouache. They are expensive...

    I don't know, perhaps the fact that they dry fast and stay dry in the canvas is convenient when adding several layers of paint? For me it wasn't big deal, but perhaps it's that I don't have a lot of experience painting with it so I can't really appreciate it.

    Thanks for your advice!

    Quote Originally Posted by Misplacedhippos View Post
    Have you tried normal watercolour/gouache or acrylics? These seem like they definitely have their purpose but perhaps if you don't have context of other paints handling these would seem a bit weird.

    In terms of how to use them, just experiment. Maybe try building up thin layers like watercolour, and then using thicker layers on top of that. Or however, there are multitudes of ways you can use this kind of paint.


    Last edited by Emigre; August 12th, 2011 at 07:25 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emigre View Post
    ...Also, by the way, I'm currently trying to learn to use the gouache. Are you supposed to always mix it with a lot of white? I tried transparent colors but they didn'nt seem right in gouache.:
    You don't need to use white. That is a carryover from when there wasn't any gouache manufactured and artists made gouache out of watercolors by adding white pigment ("Chinese" white or zinc with kaolin) to give the paint more body and opacity. It also turns the original colors into tints, obviously. Properly made gouache paints now don't need this.

    The only thing gouache about acrylic "gouache" is they dry with a matte sheen. Everything else is acrylic. What makes them slightly different than regular acrylic paints is they handle more like watercolors, being able to be diluted more and take slightly longer to dry. Their acrylic binder also makes them stronger than real gouache, and can't be re-wetted with water after they dry. This makes it possible to apply multiple glazes which can't be done with real gouache. It's not recommended that real gouache be used on a flexible surface, like canvas for example, but that's not a problem with acrylics.

    As for being expensive, they're actually less expensive than many brands of regular gouache. Holbein makes a real gouache also which has a list price of @ $2/ml for their cerulean blue, for example, but their Acryla Gouache is $.43/ml.

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    Thanks a lot!

    I've stopped using white and the results are way better. In fact I was mixing them with regular gouache from another brand and it didn't work well at the end.

    Now they are behaving like acrylic inks. Very bright colors, I really like that. As you said, they are different to gouache. You've done a very interesting and useful description of them, by the way.

    I'll keep trying and getting used to them. I'm starting to feel more comfortable.

    Cheers!

    Quote Originally Posted by dbclemons View Post
    You don't need to use white. That is a carryover from when there wasn't any gouache manufactured and artists made gouache out of watercolors by adding white pigment ("Chinese" white or zinc with kaolin) to give the paint more body and opacity. It also turns the original colors into tints, obviously. Properly made gouache paints now don't need this.

    The only thing gouache about acrylic "gouache" is they dry with a matte sheen. Everything else is acrylic. What makes them slightly different than regular acrylic paints is they handle more like watercolors, being able to be diluted more and take slightly longer to dry. Their acrylic binder also makes them stronger than real gouache, and can't be re-wetted with water after they dry. This makes it possible to apply multiple glazes which can't be done with real gouache. It's not recommended that real gouache be used on a flexible surface, like canvas for example, but that's not a problem with acrylics.

    As for being expensive, they're actually less expensive than many brands of regular gouache. Holbein makes a real gouache also which has a list price of @ $2/ml for their cerulean blue, for example, but their Acryla Gouache is $.43/ml.


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    You're welcome.

    I should clarify on my price comparison above that the main reason the Acryla Gouache is so much cheaper is that it doesn't use genuine cerulean pigment. It's instead a mix of Phthalo Blue and Titanium white. It's important when you make price comparisons to make sure the pigments are the same (apples to apples, as it were.)

    A particular problem I have with most genuine gouache paint (and this acryla gouache too) is it's sold in very small tubes, like watercolors, as though you're expected to use it the same way - thin washes. If you want to use it opaquely you will go through a small tube in no time.

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    Thanks for your replies David, as a user of regular gouaches I too was curious about the acryla gouaches. Do they mix with regular gouache? Can you paint over them with regular gouache? I like to blend gouache on the paper after blocking in the colours, dark to light.

    Thanks again.

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    Cobster, you should be able mix the different mediums together to some degree since they're both water soluble. I've never tried to do so or ever needed to, so I can't speak from experience.

    I have used the acrylic gouache underneath genuine gouache and it works okay with some exceptions. The acrylic binder in this gouache is weaker than regular acrylic paint, so if the covering gouache is heavily diluted the acrylic can lift some. Otherwise, the acrylic gouache is porous enough to accept regular gouache even if it's an opaque layer. Be careful not to get the acrylic underneath too thick, however. Another thing you could consider trying is acrylic ink or shellac inks for your undertone.

    Turner is another company that makes a decent acrylic gouache brand; although, their pigment mixes are a bit odd. There's also a vinyl based paint from Lefranc called "Flashe" that works the same way and comes in larger sizes.

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    Yes, I have mixed both but as I don't have a lot of experience I can't say if the results are good or bad.

    Also, as David says, you can paint over them with regular gouache.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cobster View Post
    Thanks for your replies David, as a user of regular gouaches I too was curious about the acryla gouaches. Do they mix with regular gouache? Can you paint over them with regular gouache? I like to blend gouache on the paper after blocking in the colours, dark to light.

    Thanks again.


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    By the way, any idea about how is it that the white tube in the 'Master Set', is bigger than the rest?

    At first I thought that it was because you mix white with everything, but if that is not the case, I can't think of a reason.

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    White is the most heavily used pigment, so people tend to want more of it. If you look at other paints, white is also offered in large size tubes.

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    Sorry, english is my second language, so I don't get exactly what you mean with 'heavily used'... Could you elaborate a little bit on that?

    Quote Originally Posted by dbclemons View Post
    White is the most heavily used pigment, so people tend to want more of it. If you look at other paints, white is also offered in large size tubes.


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    Used the most.


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    Aha... that was my first impression, but since David said that you don't need to use white I thought I was misunderstanding something.

    So people usually mix colors with white, then, to get less saturated colors, instead of diluting them with water?... :-?

    Quote Originally Posted by Black Spot View Post
    Used the most.


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    Yup, just like you would with acrylics or oils.

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    I'm a little confused, excuse me, I'm trying to learn to paint with this on my own and have a lot of questions... David said no white:

    Quote Originally Posted by dbclemons View Post
    You don't need to use white. That is a carryover from when there wasn't any gouache manufactured and artists made gouache out of watercolors by adding white pigment ("Chinese" white or zinc with kaolin) to give the paint more body and opacity. It also turns the original colors into tints, obviously. Properly made gouache paints now don't need this.
    So I assumed the way to go was watercolor-like. :-? Isn't it?

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    Two different reasons to use white:

    1. For making watercolour paint more opaque. In which case you would be changing the value and characteristcs of the paint without really wanting to do so. I think this is what David was referring to.

    2. To change the colour characteristics of already opaque paint, when you actually want the colour to change.


    You can use them only like watercolours, but then I would rather just use regular watercolours. The strength of this kind of paint is that it can be very opaque.

    But use them however you like...

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    Thanks. Cheers!

    Quote Originally Posted by Misplacedhippos View Post
    Two different reasons to use white:

    1. For making watercolour paint more opaque. In which case you would be changing the value and characteristcs of the paint without really wanting to do so. I think this is what David was referring to.

    2. To change the colour characteristics of already opaque paint, when you actually want the colour to change.


    You can use them only like watercolours, but then I would rather just use regular watercolours. The strength of this kind of paint is that it can be very opaque.

    But use them however you like...


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    Let me try to clarify what I've said here about using white paint. An early term for gouache was "body color" for watercolor paint that was given more body (opacity and thickness.) This was created by adding white pigment with kaolin clay. The clay created a "mud" from which the term "gouache" is derived, and the white pigment gave the watercolor paint more opacity. Now days properly made gouache paint, at least in the higher quality versions, does not need either white or clay added to it. The opacity comes from a higher pigment load and larger sized aggregate particles. Some companies may still use an inert filler of kaolin or barium but it isn't necessary. In fact, there are companies that sell "opaque watercolors" that are essentially the same thing as gouache and can be used the same way. They're usually more expensive, but you get more color options. The Da Vinci brand, for example, sells both opaque watercolors and gouache.

    A common watercolor technique is to use the white ground of the paper as the white of your painting, left bare if you will, such as for bright highlights or clouds. Another option is to use white paint that has a thicker more opaque aspect. A white watercolor, usually called "Chinese white," is sold for this purpose. Gouache paint can be diluted very thin like watercolor, or painted fairly thickly. If it's laid down too thick the weak binders won't hold and it will crack when it dries.

    As for why the larger tubes of white, it's because it's the most used pigment, generally speaking, on a painter's palette, so it's offered in large sizes at a lower price than if you just bought more of the smaller tubes. Black is also offered in large sizes.

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    UK Stockist Help

    Hi,

    I'm resurrecting an old thread to ask for support from any UK would-be-users of Holbein Acryla Gouache. I have made a request to Great Art to stock this paint which they have said they would consider if there is a demand. Please express an interest on their facebook page, under my comment (Claire O'Brien Art): http://www.facebook.com/MyGreatArt

    Thanks for your help.

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    Hi Claire!

    I mailed the Holbein Customer Service asking them about where could I buy their Acryla Gouache in the UK. This was their answer:

    Hello,
    For Holbein products in Europe please contact -

    Jacksons Art Supply
    1 Farleigh Place, Farleigh Road
    London
    phone: 207 254 0077
    e-mail: sales@jacksonsart.com

    If Jackson's can not assist you or if you would like to mail order from the United States please contact Black Horse Fine Art Supply through their website - www.black-horse.com.

    Thank you for your interest in Holbein products.
    Regards,
    HK Holbein Customer Service

    Maybe this can help you too. I have not contacted Jackson's Art Supply yet, but I think I will one of this days. They don't list the Acryla Gouache in their web but perhaps they can get it from the distributor if asked.

    Sorry, I don't have a facebook account, so I can't help you with your facebook initiative. But I think it is a good idea!

    I used the gouache and now I like it, it's nice. This thread helped me, as I had no idea of how to paint with it. So thank you everybody!

    I have used other brands of gouache and I think they are perfectly fine too. But I was also very happy with Holbein's acryla gouache performance.

    Cheers!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cobster View Post
    Hi,

    I'm resurrecting an old thread to ask for support from any UK would-be-users of Holbein Acryla Gouache. I have made a request to Great Art to stock this paint which they have said they would consider if there is a demand. Please express an interest on their facebook page, under my comment (Claire O'Brien Art): http://www.facebook.com/MyGreatArt

    Thanks for your help.


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    Thanks Emigre, I did ask Jackson's as part of an order I made for regular Holbein Gouache but I got no reply. I'll try them again, thanks again for contacting Holbein, that was really kind of you.

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    Oh, never mind, no problem at all, in fact I received that mail a couple of months ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cobster View Post
    Thanks Emigre, I did ask Jackson's as part of an order I made for regular Holbein Gouache but I got no reply. I'll try them again, thanks again for contacting Holbein, that was really kind of you.


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