Women creators and awash in gouache paint

February 7, 2019


As part of the African-American LA art scene of the 1970s, Betye Saar incorporated stereotyped characters from folk culture and advertising to construct palette-bright collages and assemblages. One of her most famous is The Liberation of Aunt Jemima.


Chakaia Booker studied weaving, African dance, and ceramics. These influences set the foundation for her ornate urban sculptures. Anonymous Donor is constructed of tires chopped and sliced, and then undulated around a stainless steel armature. Waste made into beauty.  


Bequest of Stephen C. Clark, 1960 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Singer in Green, Edgar Degas, 1884


Imagine sending diamond shapes of silk to 360 celebrities and asking them to sign and return. Rhode Island resident Adeline Harris imagined it in 1856 at the age of 17. She spent a decade constructing a quilt titled Tumbling Blocks with Signatures. Signatories include editor Sarah Hale, novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe, and poet Julia Ward Howe.    


Augusta Savage was a key artist in the Harlem Renaissance. She fought racial prejudice throughout her career in the US and Europe and remained a longtime member of the “306 Group,” named for her art studio in Harlem at 306 West 141st Street.


Color is a marauder, a civil servant, a Queen for the Day, a necessary ingredient, a thoroughbred of the highest order, low-key, high-key, off-key, an avalanche of swiftness and switch-up, a liar, a thief, a merchant, a rub-a-dub-dub to the soul, all of the above multiplied by a galaxy and then some. ~Hazel Letsmith, painter  


Gouache is opaque watercolor, loaded with pigment and sold in dozens of vivid colors. Pronounced “gwash,” this versatile paint is capable of laying in crisp lines, fine details, and is prized for its even spread of color.  


Gouache mixes easily and can be used for dry-brush technique, washes, or flat areas in any style—abstract, landscape, and especially hardedge. Gouache is a powerhouse for stretching the boundaries of fine art painting.


Use smooth working surfaces, like plate finish illustration board and hot press watercolor paper, with round, flat, or filbert brushes for different effects.


Agnes Martin was a Canadian-born American abstract painter who used gouache with traditional watercolor, ink and oils to create minimalist, large-scale, mind-blowing restrained art. The viewer cannot look away.


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