Thursday, 27 February 2014

Watercolour Paper : Watercolour Washes.

 Two glorious watercolour washes on my easel to depict Spring, detail will be added next to find the flowers in each piece. Please note, these are only placed on my easel for photography purposes. They were created while the paper lay flat.

 I have been asked so many questions about the watercolour paper that I am using so  thought I would take time out to share here. Firstly there are many watercolour papers available ranging from student quality to the more expensive paper surfaces that professional artists opt for. I can really understand the new beginner trying to cut costs and  practise on cheaper brands but the problem is this  can often lead to you believing you can't paint or giving up trying altogether. Cheap paper buckles when dry. During the painting process,  puddles can form rather than pigments flowing beautifully across the surface as you work.

Watercolour is a magical medium.  Pigments interact during the drying process which can lead you to some incredible patterns and effects. Good results are best achieved on the most suitable watercolour paper. I use smooth surface paper for floral work and I find Bockingford 140lbs perfect for this, where I would be leaving a lot of the paper surface white. However when I work on larger paintings  or know when I am going to be covering the paper with heavier applications of water I increase my paper weight.  This is where I would move to Saunders Waterford 200lb and possibly a rough surface to gain more texture in my results.

Gorgeous flowing watercolour wash where colour has flowed across the paper surface beautifully. Pigments have interacted to create patterns during the natural drying process and whilst I haven't deliberately painted daffodils yet the subject is  appearing by thoughtful application of colour and brush marks.

Without going into heavy theory I highly recommend you buy the best paper that you can afford. I have used Saunders Waterford 200lbs for the washes in this blog post, to capture the feeling of Spring. I am influenced by the stunning variety of daffodils in my garden. I have used W&N Cadmium Yellow , Winsor Violet and Cerulean Blue . The  daffodil centres are in Cadmium Orange which is quite a bold colour to work with but it sits well and creates dramatic watermarks when left to dry alone. Please note: I never use a hair dryer as although this technique speeds up the drying time it also kills  patterns that form during a natural drying time.

A daffodil appearing in the wash, Cadmium Yellow, Winsor Violet and Cadmium Orange. 
All by Winsor & Newton

On one of my workshops last week I gave one of the artists a piece of my paper. They couldn't believe the difference in their results.  I also gave them some of my colours which they described on their blog. You can see their work  and read what they thought  on the day via this link

Give yourselves the best chance possible for creating great paintings by starting with the right materials.  I will share more on my blog but for now here is a wonderful web site that tells you how  paper is made and all about its surfaces. 

 Enjoy !

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