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.
Now that you’ve got some paper basics down, what are you going to put on it?
You need some kind of sketch that you have done ahead of time to be able to transfer to the watercolor paper. I usually do my sketches on a light velum paper, working and working till I get what I want, then transfer the sketch to the paper using graphite paper. For you novices, first place the watercolor paper on your table, floor, trunk lid of you car…….ok, maybe not. Then place your sketch over the watercolor paper to position. I then will take a couple pieces of tape and place on one side to secure the papers together so they won’t slip. Got your graphite paper? Slide it in between and you’re ready to go. Retrace over your sketch and it will transfer the fabulous artwork to your watercolor paper. One little tip- if there are a lot of lines to transfer, use a red pencil. You will see better where you have been.
Trying to decide what watercolor paper to use? There are so many out there. Thru the years I have soaked and stretched papers, tried thin rough papers, and thick smooth ones. I have tried countless brands, and continue to go back to the same one. This is not a paid advertisement for Arches, just an acknowledgement of a good product. I no longer pre-wet the paper and clamp it to dry. I don’t have the time for that. So I am interested in the 300 lb weights. You have an option of Hot Press or Cold Press papers. I still like both, but have been doing a lot of work on the Hot Press lately. The Hot Press papers are a smoother surface finish, the Cold Press a bit rougher, and then there is Rough, that is self explanatory.
The subject matter needs to fit the paper. If you are painting a forest scene, lots of branches, leaves, etc., there’s going to be so much detail the bumps in the paper seem to contribute. But if you want to paint someones portrait, using a smoother finish paper is going to be more appropriate. I will say that both types of Arches 300 lb papers, stand up to quite a bit of abuse. From using masking fluids, to scraping details in the paper that some artists do. The papers I use are not pre-stretched for my purposes. And one more observation, the smoother finish paper, or Hot Press, seems to absorb the watercolors faster. I would really recommend trying both & watch for absorbency, and how the texture affects your subject matter.
OMG, 2 posts in one day? I am making up for lost time!
So a lot of you know I am a watercolorist, and have been painting with oils lately. But most of you don’t realize I started out in oils before I picked up the watercolors. I was using oil paints back when I was in middle school, junior high (what do they call it these days?) So why did I go from oils to the h2o’s? Simple, I had a small child in the house and didn’t want her or me, for that matter, exposed to the solvents. That little girl is out of the house and I have found ways around all those lovely chemicals, where it wasn’t so easy then. I plan to continue working in both mediums, as I have found that one teaches me new tricks in the other. Do I have a preference? Naaaa
The DVD is now on Ebay. It’s 50 minutes long and is $19.95 + 2.95 shipping & handling. Yep, the shipping rate went up a bit, but I’m keeping it as low as I can.
When you go to Ebay, just type in Tamara Rymer in their search bar, and you will bring up the info.
Have a great day!
Painting The West With Water, The Bronc Rider
This is a 50 minute HD DVD of a watercolor painting session in my studio. You can test your skills at painting something a little different, by painting along with me. The materials list, and the basic sketch, is inside. You will see how I transfer the sketch, use masking fluid, and the application of different washes. You can drop me an email to purchase. The price: $19.95 (plus tax in Texas), and $2.00 for shipping.