M Graham gouache smells good. I mean, really good.
No, I don’t expect you to sniff the paint while painting. But I’m a special case.
I’m nearly blind without my glasses. I cannot legally drive without corrective lenses. Yeah, sure are a lot of people. But, I’m even worse. My eyes are so bad that I should get arrested for driving without glasses.
My glasses are like coke bottles. They’re really thick.
However, I’ve reached that age where when I want to see something close, I have to take my glasses off. I get dizzy when I have my glasses on and I’m seeing something close.
I literally paint on the floor while painting. So here I am, painting on the floor, and painting with M Graham gouache. And you know what? M Graham gouache smells good.
Made with honey
No, I’m not an uber geek when it comes to gouache and watercolors. I know enough to get by.
I did read though that M Graham gouache is made with honey. Which is probably why it smells so good.
I know that nobody 100 years from now is going to buy my paintings because of the smell. They’re going to buy them because they think they’re beautiful. Or at least I can dream, right?
But for a guy like me, smell matters.
When you got a real bad sense, your other senses will compensate for that weak sense. In my case, my hearing and smell are both top notch.
I’m not one of those guys who can tell a $500 bottle of wine from a $50 bottle of wine. But I can tell you if your perfume or cologne is awesome or awful.
So how does it paint?
Oh you want a real review rather than just the smell? Fine. I guess I have to write for my audience.
I’ve been using watercolor with gouache for months now. I was almost exclusively watercolor at first. Then I started fooling around with cheap gouache. And let me tell you, huge difference between the cheap generic gouache and M Graham gouache. It really is night and day.
What’s the most important thing about paints? Well, why do people buy paints in the first place?
We all know the answer to this. It’s for the color. You intentionally go to the store with a certain blue in mind. And you purchase that blue.
Another pigment may catch your eye. You may buy that too. Or you may look at your wallet and say “shit, I only have enough money for one” and you put the second paint away and just buy that blue.
Regardless, you bought the paint for its pigmentation.
So most importantly, how are the pigments with M Gouache gouache? First rate! I absolutely love Daniel Smith for watercolor. But M Graham gouache is top notch for gouache.
The pigments do exactly what I expect them to do. They look exactly how I expect them to look. They perform exactly how I expect them to perform.
All these things matter, actually first and foremost, when it comes to pigmentation.
Let’s keep in mind, we use gouache for its qualities. We use watercolors for their qualities. Both have strengths and weaknesses. So I intentionally use a combination of both.
Where I expect a gouache to behave like a gouache, M Graham fits the bill. It’s like the Al Pacino of gouache. You know you’re going to get a top notch performance.
Combining with watercolors
This matters second to me. For someone who is straight gouache, you could probably skip this.
When I paint, I use a combination of gouache and watercolors. I don’t want the viewer to be able to tell the difference. In other words, they need to blend together.
My watercolors are almost all Daniel Smith but I did pick up Winsor and Newton as well. But mostly Daniel Smith.
When I used the cheap gouache, you could tell what was gouache and what was watercolor. The cheap gouache had spotty pigmentation and looked, well, cheap.
With M Graham, you can’t. They blend really well together.
Anyways, I’m not a kiss ass. If I don’t like something, I’m not going to recommend it. For instance, old Gibson SGs were fantastic. The newer versions are awful. I mean, really, really bad. I don’t know what happened to that company. Someone told me that they had to cut corners to stay in business and I believe it.
I know that has nothing to do with painting but when I’m stressed out, I pick up an electric guitar and just start playing. I had to sell my Gibson SG because it was such a piece of garbage. If someone asked me which guitar to buy, I’d ask them how much money they had. $800? Paul Reed Smith SE 24.
You see, I’m brutally honest. I might get some Gibson employee on here calling me every name in the book. I don’t care. My integrity means everything to me.
And you know what? I’m so glad I bought M Graham gouache. I’ll probably give the cheap stuff away to a student.