Meet the Artist: Ruth Wilshaw

Ruth is a self-taught artist specializing in painting landscapes with gouache. In her work you’ll find both realistic landscapes plus ones with a hint of magic; a nod to her deep love of fairy tales and adventure stories. Her creative journey began with explorations in other mediums, including charcoal, oils and watercolor before she discovered and fell in love with gouache. She found that gouache provided the ideal combination of bold, opaque color with the flexibility of a water-soluble medium; perfect for the modern artist! She now spends her time teaching others about this quirky medium through an online painting school, and with her book: Creative Gouache. 

Kingart asks: We’re not sure when you began your on-line classes but in light of the recent pandemic it seems particularly inspired! Can you offer any tips for teachers who may be just getting into doing on-line classes and for students to get the most out of on-line classes? 

I started my online classes during the pandemic, in September 2020. I had found so much joy from learning to paint with gouache and I wanted to share that enthusiasm with as many people as possible. I set out to create a 'gouache adventure' with a new selection of projects to paint each month that showcase all the wonderful things you can do with a few small tubes of these unique and vibrant paints.

My advice to teachers and students would be the same thing; for the best results, find something that you're excited to do! For artists wanting to teach, this means being true to your creative self and finding a style and medium that makes you excited to sit down and paint every day. For students looking for online classes, find an artist that inspires you and makes you want to pick up your brushes every day!

Kingart asks: We love that you describe gouache as a “quirky medium” and to be fair it probably one of the ones that people know the least about. Can you tell us 3 things that might surprise people about gouache paints? 

- Gouache is not a new medium, it has been found on paintings and illustrations as far back as Ancient Egypt.

- It's great for speedy painting as it dries so quickly- particularly useful for capturing landscapes when painting outside.

- Traditional gouache is permanently water-soluble, meaning you can reactivate dried paint with water. This is great for fixing mistakes when you're learning to paint. It also means you can rescue a paint-filled brush that has accidentally been left to dry!


I have 4 favorite brushes that I use for nearly everything- the 1/2" angle shader, size 8 filbert, size 4 round and size 2 liner - all from the Original Gold Series. These are the perfect combination for both large and small marks for painting my magical landscapes in gouache! I also love the size 6 round petal brush for painting plants and foliage. 


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