Joan Richmond

Observing nature and painting on site is a challenging and rewarding experience. An artist can experience the effects of light first-hand and translate those visual and emotional responses directly to paper or canvas. I particularly enjoy painting in northern Michigan. This region contains all the elements of a sublime landscape: vast skies, clear water, sandy beaches and verdant hillsides. I paint on location when the weather and time permits but also bring sketches, color notations and photos (what the French painters call “aides de memoire”) to my studio to complete paintings or to revisit a scene.

Gouache [French, from Italian guazzo, a place where there is water, from Latin aqu?ti? , watering] is a water-soluble, opaque paint. I enjoy working with this medium because of its rich, saturated color and flat, velvety even surface. Unlike transparent watercolor, gouache allows the artist to work back into its surface, change color and repaint sections. Once used by many illustrators for its strong chromatic characteristics, gouache fell by the wayside once the use of computer-generated illustrations became a standard in the industry. Gouache is now enjoying a resurgence of popularity with fine artists who choose it for its ability to be both opaque and transparent depending on the amount of water added to the pigment. I like to add just enough water so that the mixture resembles a thick cream.