This whole week has been a celebration of International Colour Day (see my last post with a Fibonacci spiral here) and today’ll be the topper with pretty sunflowers! I’ve got some new gouache in the studio and had to get them paletted and swatched, and have been practicing with a new brush set too.

Tutorial: New Gouache in the Studio & Painting Sunflowers

A quick peek at the brands that are now here in the studio…then a little painting with the Winsor & Newton set. Sunflowers! 

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

Working with a mixing set

A mixing set like this one from Winsor and Newton offers fewer colors in general – and relies on at least a little color theory…or just a willingness to experiment! You don’t have to be elbow deep to try out mixing each of the warms and cools with each other – and warms WITH cools too. Don’t think that they have to stick with their temperature buddies!

Mixing browns is a little challenging; red blue and yellow make brown, and you can do that with 2 colors if one of them is made up of two colors….like red with green (Y+B) or blue with orange or brown (Y+R).


James Gurney, a wonderful painter and teacher, recommended these Jack Richeson brushes. So far so good! I’m getting used to short-handle brushes, that’s not what I’m used to. But they work wonderfully; you want brushes that won’t secretly hold a bunch of water to add to your paint.

Winsor and Newton swatches

As promised….WN’s Introductory set has a cool and warm RYB, a black and a thie, and a green and yellow ochre. Great colors!

Holbein swatches

The 18 color set from Holbein is quite nice – I painted a couple things with it so far and didn’t like it as much as WN or DS but I need more experimenting to figure out just what is different here – maybe user error. LOL. 

Holbein sample

On a YouTube short yesterday I painted this sweet little bird – stay tuned for the end, there’s a little moral lesson for life that I learned from it!

Daniel Smith

Daniel Smith gouache wasn’t shwn in today’s video but I’m including this for comparison to the above. Their introductory set has a red yellow and blue, and a white, not even a black…but that’s it. if you can’t mix that red yellow and blue to make what you want, you need to buy some more colors. 

That Himi gouache

In the video I showed that awful gouache – please don’t get sucked in by it! And if you HAVE been painting with it, that’s great but – you’ll be super thrilled if you ever get artist quality gouache. Just sayin. 🙂 


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  1. creatingincolors

    I’ve been reaching back through some of your older posts and videos on gouache to see if you mention anything about mold growing on your gouache. I have the same style of airtight palettes that I saw on your videos. Tonight, after months of not using gouache, I opened my palettes only to see the black fuzzies. Ugh. I was wondering if you have experienced this, what causes it, and how to avoid it. FYI – it is Arteza brand.

    • Sandy Allnock

      The less expensive brands have that problem, sadly. I’ve stuck with the artist-grade brands to avoid that so I haven’t seen that happen for me. (I had some Himi Gouache and it had the mold really fast.) Sorry I don’t have better news!

  2. Evy Browning

    Love reading all the info Sandy – I always enjoy your blog posts & your photos which are equally informative. Comparing brands is something I find fascinating & am always surprised by the difference in quality & behaviour.
    Just a quick note here – the Holbein swatch photo seems to be missing as there are two W&N swatches??

  3. Lennie Jo Barnes

    What booklet are you using for your samples? What type of paper and weight? Smooth or rough?

    • Sandy Allnock

      It’s an unknown mixed media sketchbook.

  4. Gab

    Those sunflowers just pop off the page … so pretty


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