Review-Hahnemühle William Turner Watercolour Cold Pressed Block

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    Sandra Strait

    My take on the Hahnemühle William Turner Watercolour Cold Pressed Block.  You can read the full review at my Life Imitates Doodles blog.

    No. of Sheets-10
    Bound-Glue & Webbing to ensure flatness when wet
    Color-Natural White
    Weight-300 gsm/140 lb.
    Type-Matt/Cold-pressed/Grain Fin
    Content-100% Cotton Rag
    acid free
    age resistant

    There are certain problems that can occur in a watercolor block – paper that puffs up so that the paint pools, surface sizing that is different from the sheet versions of the paper, and difficulty cutting the paper from the block without tearing.

    The William Turner paper puffed slightly with the first heavy wash, then flattened. I didn’t get any darker areas from pooling paint.  It is not surface sized, though it is internally sized. According to the Marketing Services Manager, this means “less experienced painters will find that William Turner absorbs the water a bit faster.”

    You do need to take care when cutting the paper free,  but while I have cut paper from other blocks as easily, I’ve never cut any that were easier.

    If taken off the block before painting, the paper does buckle somewhat, but not significantly.

    In this image you can see the texture of the paper.  The scan exaggerates it a bit, but not by much.  The top image shows a test done with highly reactive and staining colors.  The second shows less reactive (but still reactive), non-staining granulating colors.  All of the colors flowed easily, and the granulation was excellent.

    I put tape, a cheap masking fluid and a good masking fluid on the paper, added a nice juicy wash and left overnight.  The tape came away with no visible damage, as did the good masking fluid.  The cheap stuff tore off chunks (it does with most, but not all papers).  I slapped on strokes of paint to highlight the damage.  There was some slight change of color around some areas where the good masking fluid had been. I’m not sure if this was from the masking fluid, or oils from my fingers.

    Either way, it would be wise to test your masking fluid before using it on this paper.

    I like to destroy the paper during my tests, so that I can find the limits and know what I can get away with.  Usually, I try to make sure I won’t fall in love with what I paint so that I don’t regret the destruction.  I had regrets this time, because I really did love the look of the paint on the paper just doing washes.

    The colors were highly staining (M Graham Phthalo Blue, Qor Transparent Pyrrole Orange & Indian Yellow), and lifting after the paper was dry only gave me ghostly images.  I used a fountain pen to draw the rose, knowing the nib would catch on any damage that the eye missed.  I didn’t find any.  I painted the rose (smearing the non-waterproof ink), scrubbed without be able to lift much but some of the ink, added white ink, repainted, scrubbed — really worked at it until I did get some damage.  It took me quite a while.

    For the next quarter, I used a wash of highly granulating colors.  This paper really loves them!  These were non-staining colors (Daniel Smith Lunar Blue, Mayan Blue and Rhodonite).  I let them dry, and started lifting color. I was able to get to white almost instantly in some areas, and considerably lightened others.  I had planned to do more, but dad-gum it! I like the Silky Chicken in a Top Hat that appeared, so this painting was saved from a gruesome overworking.

    So far, I’d done my lifting and scrubbing on dry paint, so for the last quarter I concentrated on working with wet paint.  I kept adding more paint to wet and damp areas, and scrubbed at it until it was overworked.  I’d rate the paper a little higher than average in that regard.

    So then, I did a full page painting.  Since the quality I was most impressed with was the ease of lifting color, I chose a subject matter where I could take advantage of it.




    Debra “Kate” Powell

    My takeaway is good paper but do not buy cheap frisket!

    Sandra Strait

    Exactly!  I use it mainly for these tests.  It does say something about the paper if it doesn’t tear, and there have been a few. A very few. Surprisingly… although maybe not surprisingly, they are usually cheaper papers that don’t do that well otherwise.  My thought is that if the paper is formulated to be that tough, it isn’t formulated to handle watercolor very well.


    Thanks for this review. Not sure how this paper differs from their Cezanne paper.

    Sandra Strait

    I’ll be reviewing the Cezanne next so I’ll have a better idea soon.  I do know that the Cezanne is surface-sized where the William Turner is not.  That means the William Turner absorbs the paint faster.  Some people hate surface-sizing and some don’t so people will have different preferences between the two.

    Teri Casper

    Thank for the review. I’ve been wondering if I should run out and buy some!😄😄

    Sandra Strait

    I really like it.  You might want to check out their watercolor books too.  The paper is totally different but it’s still good paper.


    Susan Cuss

    Thanks Sandra. Good information. Looking forward to your review on the Cezanne paper. Love your quirky chicken and your fog painting.

    Sandra Strait

    Thank you, Susan.


    Vintage Paper Co

    This is a great review, comprehensive and informative. Nice painting too! 🙂

    Sandra Strait

    Thank you!

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