Left: Sketch of Michael Kitchen as DCS Foyle in "Foyle's War." Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media paper hardbound journal, 11 x 14 inches. DaVinci Gouache over Pentel Pocket Brush Pen Sketch. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
On May 15 over on the Official International Fake Journal Blog I posted an update to my review of DaVinci Gouache. "Beware."
I mentioned that I was working in a Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media paper journal and the moisture from one painting reactivated the paint on the previous spread.
(My original review of DaVinci Gouache appeared on that blog on April 24, 2013. I had lots of reservations about it even then.)
Today I've posted the painting that was dry and then reactivated by painting on the next page. This has NEVER happened before to me with this paper or any other of the papers I use to make my journals. It was a shock.
I knew the paint reactivated when I put PVA on the back of my paintings that were done on thin pieces of graph paper for my fake journal, but this took me by surprise.
In the above photo you can see across the gutter to the left hand page and underneath the glassine (which was added after the fact now that I know this can happen) you can see how some of the paint from this right-hand page lifted off and "printed" on the facing page. This of course means that the painting as I left it is no longer as I left it!
Well if that weren't bad news enough this past week we've had some very humid days. I went to type a transcript of my 2013 fake journal because the handwritten text is not readable in the video I shot. (You can read the text from my 2013 fake journal here.) Happily, because I have not had the pages photographed yet (it's too large and cumbersome, and deformed, to fit on the scanner) I had placed pieces of glassine between the pages. As I turned the pages while typing I discovered that just the humidity in the air was enough to ACTIVATE the gouache and make it tacky—gouache that had been dry for weeks had been reactivated. It actually stuck to the glassine! Nothing sticks to the glassine.
Right: A scan of the painting which has been color corrected to match the actual painting. Cropped to what would fit on my scanner, which is about 11.5 x 13 inches. I only wanted to make one scan and not patch things together. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
What you may not know, or remember if you read earlier posts about my 2013 fake journal, is that it is so over stuffed with stuff that it is impossible to close it. It yawns open at about 9 inches. In order to avoid putting pressure and strain on the binding I elected to store this journal open at the center, "flat," in an archival box. (The box has arrived, but I hadn't put it in the box yet.) It has been sitting half open on a table so there has been no pressure on any of these pages, pushing them into each other to facilitate sticking.
There was just simply some humidity in the air causing the components of the paint to reactivate and become tacky again. Which in turn resulted in the paint sticking to glassine in some areas.
So while DaVinci Gouache may have little problem with cracking (and frankly I have little problem with cracking when painting with my two favorite gouache brands: Schmincke and M. Graham, so that's kind of a moot point) this is pretty much a deal breaker for using these paints in a journal: the fact that the previous page's work will reactivate when you work on the next spread, and the fact that weeks later changes in humidity can reactivate the paint.
Left: Detail from the Michael Kitchen sketch. The cheek area did not sustain too much damage from the reactivation process (that's deliberate dry brushing going on there breaking up the paint), though there are problems with the nose especially in the white highlights which were the last layer to go down. I'm unclear whether certain colors tend to pick up more than others or it's simply a matter of how much moisture comes through the paper. When I was using PVA to glue paintings into my fake journal it seemed to me that all colors lifted off equally, but then I was dealing with a lot more moisture applied to the back of the entire image uniformly in the gluing process. I just wouldn't trust any color in the line. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
I can't recommend this paint for anyone working in a visual journal anywhere on the planet, unless you're in the middle of an arid desert where there is never a rainy season!
While you may enjoy aspects of working with this paint (I've discussed them in my review; and I admit there are some fun things about this paint) I really urge you to use it only on flat paintings that will be framed. I caution you from using it in either a bound journal or a loose-leaf journal (in which your paintings are stacked in a box for instance; pages or loose leaves will end up sticking together).
If you've started in gouache with this brand, let me tell you that you don't know how much of a joy working with a great brand of gouache can be. I urge you to try either Schmincke or M. Graham gouache brands as soon as your budget allows. (And you can read why all over this blog but the Gouache Compendium will get you started.)
I forgot to mention that for this painting I worked with two filberts, one rather large (about 1 inch), and the other about a 3/8 inch wide. I'm able with the filbert to go on the side of the brush and create thinner lines of paint. Sometimes for end details I'll go in with a very fine (1, 0 or even 000) round brush, but on a quick sketch like this I never bother changing brushes just as I don't bother putting on my glasses. The small filbert I used had been severely damaged using this sticky, tacky paint in my fake journal so there are a lot of errant hairs causing a broken line. Also DaVinci gouache doesn't have a PB60 in its line so you'll notice that my darks are mixed differently from my usual palette creating blacks that I think tend to green (which I don't care for).