Coursework Part Three: Exercise 3.1 Gouache Studies

Part 2

I selected the striped textile in shades of brown, grey and blue for this exercise, which involved extending the design. I took the advice in the course notes, to make the result ‘imaginative and playful’ and chose to set the stripes free from their confinement. I started with a pencil drawing of how I wanted to extend the design, then mixed the gouache paints with reference to the notes on colours I had made when analysing the textiles for Part 1.


I made sure that I was mixing a good quantity of paint so that I didn’t run out, and worked on one colour at a time, as it took two evenings to complete, I was therefore able to mix fresh colours on the second session. I kept some scrap paper nearby for testing the colour first. On this further acquaintance with the textile, I noticed that there were slight ‘shadings’ to some of the colours where printed areas of colours on the textile had overlapped. One colour – a pale taupe brown appeared in only one ‘stripe’. Shades of grey were in the largest proportion, followed by the blues/red ochre and finally that touch of taupe. The pale grey markings, that reminded me of couching stitches, on the original textile, bring the design alive. I decided to keep the background white (whereas none shows in the original) to emphasise the ‘new’ design.

I was quite pleased with this piece and enjoyed painting it, although it took longer than expected to complete.

Part 3

For the second piece, I picked the most interesting of the three neutral samples. This ex-duvet cover has pleating, beading, over-sewing, and, when not glued down, the pleated areas open up in various configurations. The image below is taken under yellowish, artificial light.


For my first attempt, I decided to paint from the original piece of fabric (sample shown above) that wasn’t glued to the paper and showed more pronounced shadows and highlights.


Oh, dear! I find that I had over-exaggerated the shadows and creases in the darkness of the greys I mixed and painted. Back to the drawing board. I decided to ignore the ‘loose’ textile and just concentrate on the glued down section this time.


I felt that this was more representative of the sample, with pale violet chromatic grey and that touch of peachy colour under the stitching. Still far from perfect, but I was much happier with this attempt.


I approached the task by referring back to my notes taken while mixing colours for Part 1 and aiming to recreate those colours. This helped me to start from the correct set of hues in the paint tubes, but it still took time to mix the correct proportions and, as can been seen in my first attempt at the neutral textile, was not always successful. I think I got caught up in trying to recreate the texture rather than concentrating on reproducing the colours with that one. With the second attempt at the neutral, I refocused on the colour of the sample. I think that I have a natural tendency to exaggerate colours, that had to be reigned in on this occasion.

I much prefer working with colour to working with neutrals, and painting the ‘dull’ textile was less enjoyable to me. However, I realise that getting the tonal values correct is important to achieving balance in a composition. A useful exercise that has helped me to observe colours and colour palettes more closely in a textile. I think that analysing a landscape, for example, and extracting the colours to use in an artwork or textile pattern could be interesting.

Seeing the textiles and resulting paintings under artificial light (yellowish), then daylight (bluish) has shown how much they vary with different light sources.

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