Natural Pigment Gouache Gum Tempera Botanical Set


From the French "gouache" or Italian "guazzo" translating as "muddy pool", in English traditionally this type of paint is known as "body colour", in essence watercolour with a heavier body, where all colours are rendered with equal opacity. This is achieved with the addition of blanc filler (or barium sulphate) in addition to the gum arabic (and base pigment obviously) usually found in watercolour. This helps register a flat and velvety matt finish, effectively gouache can be thought of as an opaque watercolour, very similar to Japanese Gansai (where pigment is mixed to a white chalk base for opacity). 

As both watercolour and gouache formulas are both water based, they can be happily combined fusing transparent and opaque areas, where gouache is more light absorbing over watercolours reflecting properties. Of course gouache, as a water-thinning paint system can be watered down to produce transparent washes they will yield less glowing and intense colour than watercolour. 

In modern-day mass manufacture paint makers, gouaches have been known to be formulated using acrylic polymer emulsions and starch binders which alter the traditional texture to a more flexible dry paint film. In the face of such declining quality two artists, Rebecca Wallace and Pip Seymour, began making paints to their own tastes and recipes looking to emulate art materials from the past, with more variable grain and natural appearance.

With the above notes in mind, we are pleased to offer Pip and Rebecca's unique gouache formula which features the addition of a small oil to emulsify the pigment and lessen any chalky feel to the dried finish. Nevertheless these do not require any turpentine - they can and should be diluted with water only. On drying, the colour is fixed and permanent, and can be used on any art paper or gessoed panel.

The pigments selected for this 18 tube assortment have been designed with botanical painting specifically in mind.

Material: 18 x Gouache 20ml tubes (prepared using 100% natural pigments from plants, earths and minerals) - see details of pigments in the pigment notes below.
Lightfastness: Permanent once dried.
Included: A wooden presentation box
Vegetarian: No (contains pigment derived from crushed cochineal beetles)
Vegan: No (contains pigment derived from crushed cochineal beetles and honey binder)

Paintbrush Pairing and notes: because Goauche contains extra filler it tends to wear down soft hard brushes more than watercolour and thus sable brushes should be employed with care. Ox and horsehair, which are still soft but stronger are more well suited. 
We recommend our Japanese Special Brush as well as brushes No. 1, 2 and 3 from our Premium Japanese range. For laying flat areas of colour, large soft hog hair brushes are ideal. 

When the painting session is over, wash brushes carefully. Paint tends to get lodged in the base of the brush hair, where it meets the ferrule, which can cause the hairs to splay if not washed properly. Hanging paintbrushes upside down for drying can be helpful too to prevent this. 

Weld - a light, lemon yellow which is hand processed from the reseda luteloa plant, commonly known as 'dyer's rocket' for its use in the production of weld which is a natural dye thought to have been used since the first millennium BC.

Stil de Grain - formerly known as 'pinke', this transparent yellow is rich and warm. Made from buckhorn berries which are processed by hand, it is rare to find this natural pigment (which is not out of place on medieval illuminated manuscripts) in modern paint recipes.

Gamboge - This is a resin that is extracted from the Garcinia tree which is native to India and South East Asia. It is a mustard yellow that has been used to dye monks robes in Buddhist tradition. 

Orange Madder - This pigment is made from the roots of the madder plant and it is one of the most stable natural pigments. The madder used by Wallace Seymour is from artisanal crop cultivation and traditional, organic harvest and processing methods. 

Madder Lake - madder is a pigment that has around since antiquity - It can be found in ancient Egyptian artwork - commonly found in mummy portraits and cloth dyed with Madder was even found in the tomb of Tutankhamun.

Carmine - this pigment is derived from the cochineal beetle which is native to South America. First used by the Aztecs and brought to Europe in the sixteenth century it is a rich, deep red. 

Cochineal Munich Lake - a pinker tone to the above; again derived from the cochineal beetle, all of which are farmed for purpose in these natural pigments. 

Carmine Red - this lighter red tone includes natural ochre alongside the carmine. Ochre is a natural clay pigment which is mined from a working quarry and has been around since antiquity. 

Carmine Purple - this deep red-purple is a mixture of carmine and indigo which is a pigment commonly used in textiles (best known as the pigment used to dye blue jeans!).

Maya Green - This deep teal is named after the Maya people of ancient Mesoamerica as this colour was found used in many of their wall paintings, this particular shade is derived from indigo which is sourced by Wallace Seymour from India using traditional methods. 

Kendal Green - A mixture of indigo and weld is used to create this grassy green; named after the Lancaster town of Kendal which was once a market town known for its export of woollen goods, and in particular a hard wearing wool based fabric of this colour (known as Kendal Green!). 

Vert Cambodge - Translating into English to mean ‘Green Cambodia’, this rich green is made up from gamboge and spirulina blue. 

Indigo - Commonly used in textiles it is also known as woad in European production, true indigo however is the pigment derived from the leaves of the Indigofera tinctoria plant (woad is made from Isatis tinctoria - of the same family) 

Spirulina Blue - Made from spirulina, a blue-green algae that is also used as a dietary supplement and has been consumed by humans since the Aztecs! It is a bright, royal blue. 

Maya Blue - This is a specialist form of Indigo wherein a fibrous clay and magnesium silicate are mixed with the blue pigment; Indigo is known to fade in sunlight but with these additions the colour is preserved for longer. 

Walnut Marron - A light brown which is harvested from artisanal crop cultivation; no chemicals are used and it is foraged in small batches, using traditional techniques. 

Whitby Jet - A brown-black with good granulation and texture, this black is derived from fossilised plant material; more specifically ‘jet’ refers to a mineraloid which is fundamentally wood that has been changed under extreme pressure. 

Vine Black - Pure carbon pigment made from charred vines.