Protecting Gouache Paintings

I started this gouache journey early last year and I haven't turned back.  I really love painting with gouache, its my favorite traditional art medium at the moment. I love the texture it creates, the matte finish, and even how it reactivates when painting on top of it.  However, that reactivation can be a problem when trying to preserve your paintings.  Accidentally get water on a gouache painting that you've finished equals catastrophe.

water droplet damage on a gouache painting

Most just preserve their paintings under glass when framed,  but I really wanted to find a better solution.  While watching TikTok  one evening, I came across @micahrauch's account (super nice guy and great artist - you should follow him).  In this video, he showed how he preserves his gouache paintings using a wax medium.  So I did what I usually do in this scenario, typed in and immediately ordered Jacquard Dorland's Wax Medium.

image of wax medium with sketchbook behind it

After waiting impatiently by the mailbox for a few days, it arrived.  I opened up my current sketchbook with gouache paintings, took a little wax on a paper towel and rubbed it into the painting.

daisy flower painting with wax medium applied with paper towel

I did notice that it changes the color slightly and it also takes a bit away from the matte finish that gouache gives you. You can see that below in the picture.  I only applied it to half of this test page.

half a page of painting with wax medium applied

However, I have to admit, I kinda like how it deepens the color.  Definitely a win in my book.  Look how the water just beads up on the side that has the wax medium on top.

water on gouache painting, part protected with wax medium, part not.

The side without the wax medium smeared and is a mess now.

showing where painting smeared when water was on the part without wax medium

I'm now applying this to all of my gouache paintings that are currently framed.  This is my first artwork outside of my sketchbooks that I tried it on.  It looks great and I'm not worried that a customer will move it from one frame to another and accidentally spill something on it. 

gouache painting of a pink frog sitting on a log in a pond surrounded by leaves and flowers.

Now to figure out how to get good pictures of my artwork so I can have prints made...maybe that adventure will be another blog entry.

Until next time!




Back to blog