Sunday, January 31, 2010

Another experiment with 300lb Hot Pressed Watercolor Paper

Two posts ago, I communicated the results of my first experiment with 300lb Hot Pressed Fabriano watercolor paper. I was not pleased at all with my experience - I felt that I had no control over the paint. However, many artists love this paper - I was obviously doing something wrong. Yesterday, I gave this paper another try. The results may not be too great, but this time I actually had fun painting on this paper. I used less water, I lifted paint with a tissue, I created texture with  paper towels, with salt. and with a sponge.
As inspiration, I used another of my photos from last year's trip to Venice.  Here is the photo:

I cropped the picture and painted only a part of it on a 11"X14" Fabriano HP. The paving stones did not come out the way I intended, but I am fairly happy with the two silhouettes.

I think I need a break from my experimenting and will go back to my old faithful, Arches 140 lb CP watercolor paper before I forget how to paint on it.

Have a great day.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Experiment #2- Arches 300 lb Cold Pressed Paper

Last week, I painted a quick sketch on Fabriano 300lb Hot Pressed paper that I was using for the first time. You can read in one of my previous posts that I was not totally enchanted by that paper. However, I will try it one of these days for a floral watercolor.

In my search for that perfect watercolor paper that would not need any taping or stapling and still would not buckle, I purchased some Arches 300 lb CP  paper. Today, I redid last week's sketch of a Venetian balcony:  I spent about the same amount of time on the painting and used very similar colors.

What is the verdict? Have I found the perfect paper for ME? Let's see...
The Arches 300 lb CP is very sturdy - I don't think I would have to stretch it even for my pours. It seems to be quite forgiving and allow some lifting of the wet paint without damage to the paper. I like that! This paper gives me more control over the flow of the paint than the 300 lb HP Fabriano. It reacted beautifully to the use of the salt technique....better than the Fabriano and better than the Arches 140lb CP. However, the paper is more heavily textured than the Arches much more that I went back and checked my bill to ensure that I had not bought Rough paper instead of the CP. This texture does have an impact on the application of the paint...drybrush effects are very easy to produce...even when that is not quite what you want to do:-)
The paint dries much lighter on this paper because of its blotting effect have to use more paint.

Do I prefer this paper over my regular Arches 140lb CP? Certainly least I am not used to it enough to prefer it over my old standby. I like the sturdiness of this paper, but I have not succeeded, at least in this first experiment, to achieve the luminous quality that I can sometimes get with the 140lb.

I still have over 3/4 of a sheet of this expensive 300 lb paper...I will certainly experiment some more with it. , but may not use it for my next larger painting.

Any comments about this paper and tips about the best ways to use it?

Laundry Day in Venice is still popular at Red Bubble's

My Laundry Day in Venice placed in the top ten in a Red Bubble challenge in the group The Other Side of Italy". There were not very many entries in this challenge, but I am still pleased. 

I have started to experiment with the 300lb Arches CP and I will report this weekend on my observations. Have a great Saturday.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Experiment with hot pressed watercolor paper

This year I want to try new watercolor products and techniques. I usually always use Arches Cold Pressed 140lb watercolor paper and have decided to try other types of paper.

Today, I experimented with 300 lb Fabriano Hot Pressed paper. This paper has no texture whatsoever - it reminds me of certain matboards. The paint flows very well on this very smooth surface - perhaps too well for me! You can lift the paint fairly easily, but I found that any scubbing damaged the surface of the paper. Salt technique worked moderately well to create texture, although it takes a long time for the paint under the salt to dry. I really like the feel of that paper once painted.  However, after painting on it for about 30 minutes, I had  reached the conclusion that this paper did not suit me: it does not offer me enough control and the paint seems to float too much on the surface.  However, to be fair to it, I should try it again - maybe for a floral watercolor. The sketch below of a Venetian balcony is the result of today's experiment. After this disappointment, I went out this afternoon and splurged on a sheet of Arches 300 lb cold press....I can't wait to try this new surface. Any comments or advice?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Beautiful gift from R.H. Carpenter

  Around Xmas, I was the lucky winner of one Rhonda Carpenter's generous give-aways. I have just received from Rhonda a beautiful package. It contains an assortment of little treasures: hand made watercolor papers, samples of Strathmore Artist Trading Cards paper, stickers with paintings from my favorite artist, Monet. Most of all, the package contained the beautiful painting below by Rhonda: :"Tufted TitMouse". It is gorgeous and I will frame it this weekend. Thank you so much, Rhonda. I will treasure all of these and I am so happy to be starting my collection of R.H. Carpenter originals!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Venetian Street -Almost finished- WIP

I consider this watercolor almost done. I may come back to this painting - I still have some work to do to differentiate the left hand side of the far building from the sky seen between the building; the first balcony needs to be straightened out etc...I took the picture below tonight with a flash - so the colors may not be quite exact.  Under glass, this painting really does not look too bad - the eye is really attracted to the light at the end of the street. At the moment, I feel like painting something new...I may give that 300lb HP Fabriano a try.
Have a great week everyone.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Venetian Street: Second Update -WIP

I have worked some more on my Venetian Street watercolor and have posted the progress picture below. As you can see, I have removed all of the masking and the contrast between darks and light are more visible especially at the end of the alley. The side walls, windows and balconies are also coming along. I like this painting better now, but there still remains quite a bit of work to be done.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Venetian street- first update

I have started to work on the painting inspired by the picture I showed in my previous post: a Venetian street.

The painting is at a very ugly stage. I see several errors: some  that I will do my best to fix ( such as the perspective of the bridge), others that I will have to live with. I don't think that I will be very happy with the results - it looks rather messy to my eye.

I used my usual Arches, 140lb CP half-sheet. During the weekend, I purchased a sheet of Fabriano 300lb hot pressed. I have never used this type of paper. I am very tempted to start this painting over using that paper to see if I prefer the effect. Any comments about this Fabriano paper?