Thanks for the advice about exploring what the paper does naturally, Sandra Strait! I tried an exercise where you put paint down and then dripped clean water on top when went to create blossoms on purpose – the idea being to let it dry and then make flowers around the drips. On the paper I was using – Fluid 100 – it didn’t really want to work at all! Then I learned that some paper is mostly or all cellulose and some is part cotton, and some is all cotton – I didn’t find paint or water flowed easily at all on the cellulose paper, especially when it was really wet. So some techniques may not work on some papers. (I also found the Fluid 100 paper really buckled a lot when dry. I am glad I only got a couple of sheets of it as I don’t enjoy using it all.) I think some people may give up if they have materials that don’t act the way they are hoping, but it isn’t their fault it is a property of the materials.
Yes, the price certainly does play a part. Someone said it is best to stick with a fairly decent paper to start with so it behaves the same all the time. I saw a video on youtube where someone showed how the purely cellulose paper swells unevenly and the paint doesn’t spread very well. I looked around and found a 100% cotton store brand – I am not sure what it is the rebrand of, but I’ll stick with it and watch the sales in the meantiime. For swatching some seem to like to use the paper they paint with (the backs of failed pieces perhaps) and some do it on a lesser quality paper. Do you have a preference, Sandra?
I actually like using all kinds of papers. My favorite brand is Hahnemühle and most of the time I use their cellulose watercolor postcards. I just know not to try doing certain things and can take advantage of the way the paper works. I will caution – it isn’t just about cotton vs cellulose. Papers are ‘sized’ – that is they have coatings both internally and externally – that can make a big difference. The weight and texture can make a difference. Watercolor comes in three common surfaces – cold-pressed, hot-pressed and rough and that also can affect what the paper will do or not do. I’d rather use a good cellulose over a bad cotton. There are certain techniques that I will only try on cotton, though. Most of the papers that you find in the stores are cold-pressed. It is the most flexible surface and most commonly used.
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