Bruce’s paintings are created using gouache, an 800-year-old technique originally used by monks for illuminating manuscripts. From the Italian “guazzo,” meaning “water paint,” gouache differs from watercolor in one very important way: it is semi-opaque. Watercolors are transparent so the artist has to work from light to dark being very careful not to build up the paint, which would cause the color to lose its vibrancy.
Bruce’s work is created by crosshatching multiple layers on top of each other, slowly rendering the image in a process more akin to traditional oil painting or charcoal drawing. He begins with a light wash drawing, much like the start of a watercolor, then he blocks in big shapes, shadows, and large areas of color. Once completely dry, he renders the image layer by layer, gradually deepening the color to accentuate the darkest shadows and the whitest highlights, elements that give the work its sparkle. A careful look at every one of Bruce’s paintings reveal an even texture created by the multilayered crosshatching. This technique energizes the entire surface making the canvas visually active, engaging, and compelling.