Fragrant Peony…and Learning to Paint with Gouache

An Altenew Collaboration

AD:  Collaboration Post

Hi there!

Today I’m sharing the first of 2 card projects where I try my hand – for the first time EVER – painting with gouache.  If you’re like me and have never heard of gouache before, here’s my quick description:

Gouache (pronounced goo-osh) is a water-based paint, similar to watercolor paint, but, because of the binders added to it, it loses its transparency and becomes more of an opaque paint, like acrylic.

This post is being done in collaboration with Altenew!  If you’ve been around my blog for any length of time you’ll know that Altenew has the most amazing products –I especially love their florals!  They also have some fantastic artist-grade inks, paints, and other supplies! Today I’m using their (somewhat new) Artists’ Gouache!  

As part of the collaboration, Altenew is generously giving away a $25 Altenew gift card to one of my followers over on Instagram – so be sure to head over there for all the details and a chance to win!  Giveaway ends October 10th!  You can find my Instagram here:

I thought the easiest way to get started learning about gouache would be to paint die-cut images where I didn’t need to be perfect in my color placement. This allowed me to get an idea of how the paint moves around on my watercolor paper, how much/little of water to use, and how to mix color to get some variation.

For my card today, I’m using Altenew’s Artist Gouache set called “Strolling Through New York”.  This set has all the colors in the rainbow, plus a few extras, which allowed me to get some great color mixes and expand the palette.  

I started out by swatching all the colors to get a feel for how they looked when dry and, boy, am I glad I did!  The color becomes much flatter and darker/more intense when it is dry.  This is typical of gouache but was a bit surprising to me! 

Once I played around with the colors and mixing with water to see how they worked, I decided to start on my card.  Here are the details on how this card came together:

  1. Die cut all the pieces for the fragrant peony and leaves from watercolor paper.
  2. Use the gouache to paint the first layer of color on the different pieces – I first put down a layer of light lavender on my flowers and pale green on the leaves.
  3. Let that dry completely (note that since gouache is water based, rewetting will reactivate the color to some degree).
  4. Add in more water to some areas and darker colors to others to get a nice variation in the petals and leaves. 
  5. Once you’re happy with the color and all the pieces are dry, you can assemble them with liquid glue.  Note:  For the flowers, I only added glue to the center of each petal layer.
  6. Optional: Add some highlights and lowlights to the petals and leaves using colored pencils.
  7. Slightly bend and form the petals to give dimension.
  8. Die cut a panel with a stitched rectangle die.
  9. Arrange and adhere your flowers and leaves to the panel.
  10. Splatter the panel with watered-down white and black acrylic paint.
  11. Adhere the panel to a card front using foam adhesive.
  12. Stamp and die cut your sentiment and add it to your panel with foam adhesive.
  13. Add a few gems for some shine.

A couple things I observed:

  1. Gouache is fairly forgiving.  You can reconstitute it on your paper and remove color if needed.  I’m not a gouache expert so I’m not sure if this is unique to Altenew’s gouache or if this is true of all gouache.
  2. The “flatness” of the color surprised me – in a good way!  I think I’m used to the depth and transparency of watercolor and the shininess of acrylic, so this was completely unexpected but also delightful!  

I hope you like this project and that it inspires you to try something creative and new!  Stop back next week for my second attempt at painting with gouache – this time using a detailed image!

And don’t forget to head over to my Instagram for details on the Altenew $25 gift card giveaway!

I hope you have a wonderfully creative day!



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designer & content creator

I fell in love with card-making many years ago and I’ve been hooked on it ever since. I love trying out new techniques and finding the perfect color combination for whatever I’m creating.

By nature, I am an uber-organizer and a steadfast planner, but as you’ll see, my creations are much more fluid. And while I love color theory, the concept of lights and shadows, and the importance of depth and perspective – these are not things I worry about when it comes to my creations.

I simply find joy in creating and delight in sharing.

I hope that by sharing my cards and other art with you here on my blog I can inspire you to create something you love!


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