Saturday, April 24, 2010

Experimenting with Soft Press - Going Wild!

Yesterday was my of those big numbers. Consequently, today I decided to show that I was still young enough and go least with my Fabriano SP paper and my paints :-)

The following sketch represents a lot of "first time" for me:
  • for the first time, I used a ink sketch as starting point (micron pen)
  • for the first time, I used Inktense pencils ...well, just one, for the door
  • for the first time, I used metallic acrylic : Golden fluid, fine gold and fine copper
  • for the first time, I used white acrylic for a lot of my whites.
  • for the first time...but this was by mistake...I used iridescent acrylic in the spatter: I grabbed the wrong container and in the evening light, did not notice immediately that I was not spattering white acrylic:-(
  • for the first time, I used neutral tint to darken a color: I used it to darken the ultramarine blue used behind the metallic grid over the door. is this strange concoction, which I entitled " Golden Door". As usual, it is from one of my Venice pictures.

Don't hesitate to say that this is my ugliest's probably true. Anyway,  I had a lot of fun painting this today and with one more birthday behind me, I should now be mature enough to take it :-)

Take care and have a nice weekend.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Experimenting with Soft Press Paper - Part II

I have played some more wiith the Fabriano's 140 lb SP paper.
In completing the  Gondola sketch  I observed the following:
  • Removing masking over painted areas also removes the paint. This is the downside of the fact that this paper allows for such easy lifting techniques.
  • In the same way, the smallest addition of water to a painted area will immediately disturb this first layer.
  • I tried an automatic eraser on this paper and was pleased to see that it did lift out paint without any apparent impact on the paper: this is a good way to add highlights in small ares.
  • The colors seem to remain more vivid than on the cold press paper. This picture was taken with a flash inside - so the colors are not true.
In conclusion, I will certainly use this paper again. I now know that if I use masking, it has to be to retain whites and not to protect already painted areas. My next experiment with this paper will probably be combined with my attempt to develop my floral painting skills.

As you can see, I am still procrastinating before starting a larger, more demanding painting:-)

Have a great week!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Experimenting with Fabriano's Soft Press watercolor paper

I am continuing my experiments with various watercolor papers. This time, I have tried Fabriano's Soft Press 140lb paper. I think this is going to be a winner!

Fabriano states that the soft press is somewhere between its hot press and its cold pressed paper. I wanted to try it out for myself with a quick sketch. I started the most typical Venetian scene possible: gondolas facing San Giorgio's. I may or may not complete this small  5"X 7" painting, but I am ready to share the following observations :
The soft press paper:
  • has a texture similar to most CP papers: in other words, it is not as slick as most Hot Press. You don't have the impression of being on a skating rink.
  • allows for extremely easy lifting of paints.  For example, on the main gondola cover, most of the highlights were achieved by lifting of paint, either while wet or once it had dried.  I loved that feature of this paper. This probably makes the paper closer to HP than CP. 
  • should be ideal for florals
  • is probably not the best for texture , although this is only an assumption on my part since I have not yet tried to achieve any special texture effects on this paper. Any comments about this?
  • is a lot more economical in Ottawa, Canada than any of the Arches paper ( almost half the cost of the 140 lb CP Arches).
I really enjoyed working on this paper and this is definitely a paper that I will try again.

I would be very interested in reading comments from those of you who have painted on this Fabriano 140 lb Soft Press paper.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

New experiment with watercolor paper:Fabriano 140 lb cp extra white

Some weeks ago, I tried out several brands, types and weights of watercolor paper. I have just bought some 140 lb Fabriano Artistico extra white in two types: CP and Soft Press, a paper between HP and CP.  Below is a waterlily that I have painted on the CP Fabriano to test out this paper.

-I used some masking in the center of the flower: the masking came off easily without any damage to the paper.
- I lifted off color on the petals with either a damp brush or a Q-tip: I was really pleased to see how easily the watercolor lifted.
- Using a wet-in-wet technique, the paint flowed very easily and blended very well on this paper. The picture does not show up very well any of the shading unfortunately,
- I used some acrylic over the water color in the center and then added some more watercolor
- In the background, I experimented on the right - hand side with granulating medium: tiny fishs cales appeared, but I did not really like the texture. I added more paint on top to cover up the texture.
- For most of the background, I simply flooded the paper and dropped in paints: I liked how the colors blended easily.

I found this paper very forgiving, very easy to use. For florals, I think it offers more soft blending possibilities than my favorite Arches CP.  I will certainly use it again...and it is much cheaper than Arches, at least in my area.

Next time, I will try the Soft Press.  I believe that Fabriano is the only company to produce this paper. I'm quite curious to see how it will handle. Have any of you used it? Any comments or advice?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Change of pace

After all that time on my last Venetian painting, I badly needed a change of pace. Like Ann Buckner I followed the super watercolor petal workshop by Ruth on Painting Friends. I used  Arches 140 CP and W&N paints. I think that this would have been a good time to use the bright white Fabriano in either the CP or HP.  I am fairly pleased with the petals, but the background ended up rather muddy.