This week’s featured artist is Ralph Parker, a gouache painter from Texas who specializes in simple, classic landscapes.
Despite being both a former draftsman and architectural illustrator, Ralph’s paintings are loose and “painterly”—which is primarily what drew me to them in the first place.
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There’s also something inherently uplifting about an image like this one, with its golden fields and swirling, brilliant skies.
Using gouache, Ralph can paint with thicker, more opaque strokes of paint than if he used regular watercolors. This leads to works of art that more closely resemble oils than watercolor.
Personally, I enjoy the texture, but it seems like the opacity of gouache helps to boost the purity of color in his paintings as well. (Note the light pink and deep green hues in the painting below, and of course, the vividness of the painting above.)
I also can’t help but think that many of his paintings would make perfect storybook illustrations—they have a certain timelessness to them that is reminiscent of great illustrators of the past.
For instance, Road to the Back Forty offers the viewer a chance to escape into the painting by wandering along a well-worn path.
Certainly, Ralph is using a time-tested compositional tool here, yet the painting is no less honest or appealing because of it. . . and in a way, that pathway leading up and over the hill almost feels like an old and trusted friend.