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?


  1. Hi Christiane - I use the 300 cp and do like it, but it's softer so if you like to glaze you may not be able to easily use as many layers - it doesn't have as much sizing as Arches. It's fun to experiment with new supports, paints and brushes!

  2. Deb,thank you for sharing your thoughts about the 300CP. I have to go back to my previous posts, but I think that the 300# Fabriano that I tried a little while ago was the HP. Good! That makes another paper I will have to experiment with.
    I have some rice paper and some yupo just begging to be worked on:-) After spending a long period on one painting, I find it very liberating to do quick little experimental paintings that will probably never get framed, but that may be the springboard for more more creative work.

  3. This piece turned out very nice, Christiane. I have used Fabriano 140 cp, and I'm so used to using Arches 140 cp with lots of sizing, that I had a difficult time adjusting. Nice that it worked for you. I'm not even sure what soft press looks like. I await your results.

    Also, congratulations on your continued successes with your Venice series -- just wonderful and sounds like people are loving the art.

  4. Mary,

    I find it difficult also to use a paper either thant the 140 lb Arches that I am so used to. I am certainly looking forward to the Soft Press. I don't know what to expect: apparently, it is somewhere between a HP and a CP, but that could mean a lot of things:-)

    Thank you for dropping by regularly. I really appreaciate your comments and your support.

  5. Hi Christiane. Thanks for dropping by my blog and for your encouraging words. I really appreciate it and look forward to your visits.
    It was neat to read of your explorations with the different watercolor papers. I have often wanted to try the Fabriano and did not know they made a Soft Press! We do get comfortable with a certain brand don't we? Mine has always been Arches CP 300lb. Your flower is beautiful and
    I think doing a little study here and there or an experimental type painting can be so refreshing after slogging it through a larger piece. Thank you for sharing your findings with us Christiane.

  6. Nice hearing from you, Ross! We certainly do get comfortable with a certain type of paper. I find that when I push myself out of my comfort zone, the results may not be as good initially, but I know that in the long run I will gain in creativity.
    It feels good to paint just to "experiment" - I don't feel the pressure I have when working on a big piece.