What Is the Difference Between Gouache and Watercolour?

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What Is the Difference Between Gouache and Watercolour?

eBay is a great place to buy gouache and watercolour art. Both gouache and watercolour are water-based paints and as such give birth to paintings. Gouache paintings are opaque and watercolours are transparent. On the Internet, there are many gouache and watercolour paintings in various styles, themes and designs. Thanks to ecommerce websites like eBay there is an extensive range of modern (1900-79) and antique (pre 1900) gouache and watercolour paintings.

The purpose of this guide is to inform the reader about the differences between gouache and watercolour paintings and explain how to purchase them from eBay.

Renowned for its great customer service, overall great user experience and the most competitive pricing on the internet, eBay is the perfect place to buy gouache and watercolour paintings.

Watercolour Paintings

A watercolour painting is produced by paints made of pigments being suspended in a water-soluble vehicle. Watercolours are made from a series of transparent layers to create depth and perspective. In watercolour paintings, the white of the paper is meant to shine through as it gives it a unique quality that isn’t found in other forms of painting.

Whilst paper is the most popular medium for watercolours, some painters also offer a variety of materials including: papyrus, plastics, leather, fabric, wood, canvas and bark papers.

Some watercolour fanatics will not use white watercolour paint as they do not feel it is authentic. Instead they work from light to dark, leaving the lighter areas free from paint whilst building up the dark areas.

In watercolour paintings, the term ‘water media’ refers to any painting medium that utilises water as a solvent and that can be applied with a brush, pen or sprayer. Besides watercolours this includes most inks, temperas, acrylic paints and gouaches.

Watercolour Paint

Watercolour paint is made up of four typical ingredients: pigments, gum Arabic, additives and solvents.

  • Pigments - natural or synthetic, mineral or organic.
  • Gum Arabic - used as a binder to hold the pigment in suspension and to hold the pigment to the painting surface
  • Additives- used to alter the viscosity, hiding, durability and colour of the pigment and vehicle mixture (often glycerine, honey, ox gall etc)
  • Solvent used to thin (dilute) the paint for application and evaporates when the paint dries/ hardens

A Brief History of Watercolour

Watercolour has a substantially longer history than gauche paintings, dating back as early as ancient Egyptian times when they were used for manuscript illumination. It is also suggested that the cave paintings of Palaeolithic Europe during the prehistoric era were watercolour.

However watercolour’s history as an art form dates back to the Renaissance in the 15th century. Watercolours at the beginning of this period were only used for creating sketches, copies or cartoons. The first watercolour experts include Van Dyck, Claude Lorrain and Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione.

Paintings depicting wildlife and botany were perhaps the first examples of watercolour as an art form. Botanical artists were regarded as the most successful watercolour painters as they possessed a unique skill of summarising, clarifying and idealising in full colour. Watercolours are still used today in museum and scientific publications because of this ability.

Gouache Paintings

Gouache (pronounced “gwash” and also spelt ‘guache’) is a type of opaque painting that consists of pigment and a binding agent. These paintings are also often referred to as opaque watercolour or body colour.

Similar to watercolours, gouache can be diluted with water and applied in semi-transparent layers. However, unlike with watercolour paintings, gouache painters can work from dark to light adding the lighter areas at the end.

In contrast to watercolours, gouache particles are also larger, the ratio of pigment to water is much higher and an additional white pigment (usually chalk) is also present in gouache paintings. These qualities make gouache paintings heavier, more reflective and more opaque than watercolours.

Gouache paintings have a quick coverage period and other qualities which is why the style lends itself to more direct painting methods and techniques than its watercolour counterpart.

Gouache is a popular painting style in commercial fields. It is used constantly by artists creating posters, comics, illustrations and other design works.

A Brief History of Gouache

Gouache paintings originate from 14th century Europe although the term ‘guazzo’ was originally given to the 16th century method of applying oil paints over a tempera canvas. This term was also dedicated to the water media of the time in 18th century France.

Gouache is significant in the field of art because it connects art and science and is an example of art’s evolution. The early uses of basic chemistry gave birth to new and improved materials which allowed artists increased accuracy and precision in their paintings.

Famous gouache painters include the likes of Francois Boucher (1703 -1770), J. M. W. Turner and Herni Matisse.

How to Purchase Gouache & Watercolour Paintings on eBay

eBay is a fantastic place to buy gouache and watercolour paintings. Whether the buyer is looking to purchase their first painting to start a collection or they’re an experienced collector looking for the final piece to add to their collection, eBay sells a large range of gouache and watercolour paintings to suit everyone.

As such an authoritative name in the world of internet shopping, eBay offers all of its customers a choice regarding purchasing.

As well as purchasing their desired item immediately (by simply clicking Buy Now), customers can also bid for their item in an auction format seeking out the best price (by simply clicking Bid Now and entering a suitable bid).

With flexible payment options, excellent customer service and user experience and the most competitive pricing found on the internet, eBay is the best place to buy gouache and watercolour paintings.

Finding the sought-after gouache or watercolour painting is easy and can be achieved in two methods: using eBay’s categories or its search toolbar.

To find the desired item using eBay’s categories: simply click onto All Categories from the homepage. From here click onto Art and then onto the subcategory Paintings. Now the buyer can browse through the generated search results before clicking on the most suitable one.

To find the sought-after product using eBay’s search toolbar: merely type in the artists name, piece’s name or the origin of the piece. Then a page of search results will appear for the buyer to browse through before clicking onto the most relevant result. Once clicked; the buyer will be taken to the products individual listings page.

Each product for sale on eBay has its own listings page. This page hosts all the relevant information surrounding the product including: a detailed specification, a product analysis, comments about the items condition as well as photographs to match.

As such a respected member of the ecommerce industry, eBay also provides information about the items seller. This information often includes the sellers: eBay rating, selling history and their location. Disclosing the location of the seller helps the buyer decide whether it is worth visiting them to collect the item themselves or if it’s better to have the item delivered.

Once the buyer has found their desired gouache or watercolour painting, they can begin the purchasing process. This can be done in two ways: customers can buy the item immediately (simply click Buy Now) or to bid for the item in an auction format (simply click Bid Now and enter a bid) seeking out the best price available for that item.

Should the buyer read all of the information on the product’s listing page and feel that they still need more information, they can always contact the seller. This can be done directly and any questions or queries can also be answered in this manner.

In the unlikely event that any eBay customer has a problem with a seller that cannot be resolved independently, eBay’s administration team are more than happy to help in resolving the issue as quickly and as easily as possible.

All transactions made on eBay are safe and secure thanks to payment authority PayPal. The third party payment scheme enables the buyer to pay the seller without sharing any important bank details or information. The secure payment method protects buyers 100% against unauthorised payments from their accounts providing complete peace of mind for all eBay customers.

eBay has one of the most comprehensive customer support services found on ecommerce websites. Customers can browse through Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), search for their query or email eBay directly with specific issues.


There are many factors to take into consideration when purchasing gouache and watercolour paintings. However with the important information and essential considerations outlined in this guide, buying gouache and watercolour paintings from eBay is easy.

A good gouache or watercolour painting is not just a great way to start or complete your art collection; it will provide a beautiful piece of art to hang on any wall in your home.

This guide has provided some invaluable hints, tips, and information on how to purchase collectable gouache and watercolour paintings on eBay and what to look for when buying these pieces of art.

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