To frame or not to frame my gouaches

SusanWellington_Night Sky 2_gouacheonpaper_2012

I’m continuing to work on these abstract gouache paintings.

I suddenly remembered- after I’d finished a few- that that you have to protect them from water… as they’re extremely dissolvable.

You can pick them up- a couple of years down the track- and continue to work on them. If you want.

But if you’re selling them, you really have to warn people to protect them.

It’s not a good idea to put them in the bathroom uncovered, for example. Apart from mould and what not… they will change colour before your eyes.

Red diamond Sky gouache on paper by Susan WellingtonThe Search for the Truth…

Normally gouaches are always displayed behind glass.

But they’re so much more vibrant without the glass…and it’s quite dicey posting things with glass.

So, I thought I’d do an internet search… to see if their were any new products you can use to protect gouache paintings – cutting out the need for glass framing.

Winsor and Newton

Since I use Winsor and Newton gouaches, I thought I’d try their site first. Of course, they suggested ideally you should frame behind glass, as using a fixative drastically changes the depth, darkness and finish of the work.

So according to them it’s not a good idea and there are no products recommended.

Wet Canvas

Next, I had a look at what artists are saying on Wet Canvas.

Many of the artists said they use some kind of fixative on their gouaches. There was some interesting before and after shots here.

No one could suggest any fixatives that definitely don’t change the work.


I kept searching… and discovered that Schmincke makes a Universal Fixative.

It is non-yellowing, age-resistant and colourless according to them.

(Schmincke also produces great gouaches – perhaps not as opaque as Winsor and Newton, but on the plus side I found that they don’t dry out as quickly as W and N.)

There is no mention of colour shifts because of the application of Universal Fixative on gouaches. They only say to definitely test it before you use it.

It sounds good and I may order some online… as I bet you won’t be able to get it in Sweden.

We’ll see.

…more gouache stuff below…

My blogpost  ‘what’s so good about gouache?’

Landscape painter Stephen Quiller’s website

On painting with gouache by Peter Worsley

James Gurney’s youtube playlist plein air gouache painting

‘Trying to force creativity is never good’.

Sarah McLachlan


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