Gary Geraths refers to his technique of using gouache — or opaque watercolor — as “throwing it around.” In part that’s because gouache can be used quickly on location, and in part because the paints are fast-drying and forgiving.

For someone like Californian Gary Geraths, who is passionate about outdoor sports and painting, gouache is an ideal medium. He can take a sketchpad, brushes, and a pan loaded with opaque watercolor whenever he is mountaineering and rock climbing in Europe, Canada, Alaska, and the Western United States. Because gouache is opaque, it doesn’t require the careful build up of transparent colors as in watercolor, nor does it obligate an artist to haul solvents as oil does.

Geraths is a full-time professor at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, involved in the foundation and digital media department, where he teaches figure, animal, and landscape drawing and painting. For more information, visit

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  1. Larry, so agree – “Art is Art”! I like to varnish my watercolors and frame them with oil frames, so I’m happy to hear I’m not alone.

    I’m really glad to see a plein air watercolorist featured here! Beautiful work Larry!

  2. It is wonderful to read about another watercolor artist plein air painting. And I agree that we cannot stretch the paper ahead of time if it is to be stamped. The jury rules of must see the stamp to enter into competition does not allow for matting and backing of the painting. Committees of competitions need to think that one out or have a table where any work with mats and backing can be taken apart and no dust, etc. can get under the glass.

  3. Larry, love your work – well done! I’ve made the observation for years that watercolor – in a plein air setting – demands mastery of the medium, and a large measure of intestinal fortitude! Glad to see the comments about framing. For the past 6 years, I have been archivally mounting watercolor paper on 1/8 hardboard or larger work on 1/4 gatorboard, sealing with a clear acrylic (matte finish with UV inhibitors) and framing without glass. Since abandoning the “traditional” mats & glass presentation, framing is a “snap” at quick draw & plein air events. Watercolor can now be viewed from across a room full of windows or get-your-nose-in-it up close without the glare or barrier of glass.
    Steve & Eric…Let’s see more features about watercolor in the field! There’s a bunch of us out there!

  4. Great work by Larry Cannon!

    I also enjoyed seeing the work of Raleigh Kinney in the online edition. Raleigh was the head of the high school art dept. where I did my student teaching in Minnesota MANY years ago. He’s not only a wonderful artist, but a great person too. I’ve run into him several times over the years & enjoy keeping up with what he’s doing. I learned a lot working under him.

  5. Mr.Cannon- You are simply a joyful pleasure..your work reflects
    careful use of value and shape- sometimes difficult outdoors.
    I have taken over fifty workshops with Charles Reid (two a year)
    and your work equals or perhaps surpasses in(plein air). You have a bit more “punch”.Charles is a good friend of mine and
    I admire his loose style. Do you also do portraits and still life?

    Do you give workshops? I also admire the late Robert Woods’
    I agree about the mats. I think they are a distraction.
    Suzanne Geller

  6. I’ve admired your work, Larry, many times. Now I admire your gumption to speak up for watercolors. I’ve held 90 year old CA watercolors in my hands that sing with contrast, luminosity, and immediacy that will hold up next to any oil. The technical abilities required to create great watercolors on location are under recognized and you do it beautifully. The great watercolors from the past are now hidden so much in the dungeons of museums to preserve them for I’m not sure what. Even Degas’ pastels can be relegated to a dark corner with no life to give. Perhaps the public notices little because it sees so little and has a misconception about longevity.

  7. Alright! Finally Watercolor! Larry Cannon’s stuff is beautiful. As editor of Hot Press, the newsletter of the Northwest Watercolor Society, I have wanted to refer my readers to your publication but could not in good conscience do so when it contained no watercolor. Plein Air is huge in the Northwest.

  8. Great article Larry!!! Your work is magnificent, and puts me right at the location of your creativity as you saw it visually. Linda and myself say, “Keep up the beautiful work!”

  9. Just wish to say your article is as amazing. The clearness in your post is just nice and i could assume you’re an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission let me to grab your feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the gratifying work. – Forex online trading


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