I have been battling watercolor papers, Arches what did you do???? After using Arches 300 lb hot press watercolor papers for many years, I have been at battle with them lately. Seems my blue washes have been “speckling” to the point I felt like I was using a different surface.
First let me explain speckling. In applying a paint wash, you want to see the paint color go on smooth without streaking. When the paint pigment starts to “spot” or accumulate so it looks like freckles, its “speckling”. Maybe it should be referred to as “freckling”, hmm….. Either way, it’s frustrating. You can look at historical watercolors and see the speckles, so why am I taking issue? My blue pigments use to go on Arches hot press papers smoothly, but not lately. Hot press papers are smooth feeling with out a lot of texture, and yes, the texture would cause pigments to freckle, so I like to use smooth paper. In burning thru several sheets, and trying different blue paints (from different manufacturers) I have come to the conclusion that their paper’s sizing has become heavier then it used to be. Elements, such as sizing, are added to the paper production to help their texture, color, weight, all kinds of reasons. A great breakdown of watercolor papers is this link: http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/paper2.html Not all, but a lot of the papers have been broken down and processes have been explained. I have over the years, done my own testing, but this site actually put the words down for others to see.
So I am back to paper testing to get my blues the way I want them. I will let you know what I find.