View Full Version : arches watercolor paper

04-07-2000, 10:38 AM
I was told that Arches was the best watercolor paper, so I bought a rough and a cold-pressed paddle of that brand.
I use to paint wet-on-wet, working on paper in order to mix wet colors and, when dry, apply wet brushes in order to get shadows. On other paper, such as Fabriano or Winsor&Newton it works very well, but on Arches (both types)I had dreadful results, as it acts as blotting paper, absorbing water and colors and avoiding color mix. It also forms little ramifications on the contours where I paint.Where am I wrong?
thank you and bye,

04-07-2000, 10:46 AM
I think the Arches has too much sizing and that's why it does that. I get a handmade paper fron India from Dick Blick's that is wonderful for working the way you describe. You can push the paint all over the paper. I always heard that Fabriano is also good for that, which your experience seems to confirm. I think Arches is good for repeated glazes and scrubbing...

Cindy Agathocleous

"What if imagination and art are not, as many of us might think, the frosting on life, but the fountainhead of human experience?" - Rollo May from The Courage to Create

04-07-2000, 11:08 AM
paper is personal preference , like anything else. you're not wrong. find something you like. i like fabriano hot press

04-07-2000, 08:34 PM
Up until a shipment that arrived this week, I have always used Arches...
This new paper is Winsor N...seems much smoother and softer - I don't do a lot of wet on wet, so will just have to see what difference it makes. I had terrible results using Kilimanjaro....inconsistent surface and some spotty trouble areas when using masking fluid. I had taken all the usual precautions and still ended up with "holes" ! Cheap Joe now says they have re-formulated that paper.

04-10-2000, 01:21 AM
I was steered to Arches too and that is what I have the most of. Maybe that explains why I don't always get the results I want.

04-10-2000, 02:41 AM
I use arches and saunders paper, but I always soak in bath and stretch paper. This probably also redistributes and removes some of the starch, I don't get patchy problems with either,

Watercolours from New Zealand (http://www.artistnation.com/members/paris/rod/)

04-12-2000, 04:19 AM
Thank you for yours replies.
a special thank to Rod, as i did't strech my arches paper as I bought 140 lb weight, thinking it waas just a crumpling and ondulation problem. Yesterday night I tired on streched paper,and I got very better results!
Maybe I've found a way to use my arches paddles with no problems!
bye, rapolina

04-12-2000, 05:25 AM
Your Welcome Rapolina,
Glad it has helped, Happy painting,

04-12-2000, 04:27 PM
I usually stretch 140# and lighter paper, but I'm taking a class right now where the instructor (Jesse Reinhold) is having us use stretcher bars after soaking the paper rather than a board. I love it! It really makes the paper feel different to paint on. It's Arches paper, which I usually use, but it really seems like something different.



04-12-2000, 09:24 PM
I had used Arches 300# for years. When I started doing demos it was too expensive for demos so I started using 140# rough and CP. They are very different ,to me, in how they perform. It took some adjusting.
Now,I work almost entirely on Arches 140# Cold Pressed in 22 x 30 sheets (NOT the WC Blocks)
I work mostly wet in wet with some glazing as the painting progresses. I don't stretch or remove the sizing. I soak it if I want it to stay wet for a longer painting time...or wet it only on one side if I'm doing a demo or want to work with quick strokes and a larger brush. I find that working vertically vs horizontally will also effect the results.
The blocks are sized differently and I find that the pigments "sit on top of the paper" more than I like and they look dull in color as they crystalize on the surface. In teaching WC, I have found out from using other brands of paper that my students bring to class that I do have to adjust my technique with the other papers...so a standard quote in my workshops is "use what works for you." Don't invest big bucks in a paper until you've sampled it to see how it works with your style. There are several atist material companies that have sample pack of various papers to try. They are worth the $$$ spent to experiment...try before you buy.

SUSIE SHORT www.susieshort.com (http://www.susieshort.com)

[This message has been edited by susieshort (edited April 12, 2000).]

04-13-2000, 11:36 AM
In Italy I have never heard about the "stretcher bars" mentioned by Gisela. What are they? Can someone explain to me something about? I would like to try with them and my Arches paper...
thank to all of you for the many useful advises.

04-13-2000, 03:39 PM
The stretcher bars I have that were used with watercolor paper are the same bars used for stretching canvas. Is that what you have Gisela?

04-13-2000, 10:03 PM
Just wanted to ask if anyone has tried using their watercolors on museum board ?! I did a large painting on black museum board, and was thrilled with the way the paint worked on that surface... http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif Purists may cringe when I admit I used white watercolor to create a huge magnolia ...but the end result was a nice painting, and nice sale. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

[This message has been edited by oleCC (edited April 13, 2000).]

04-13-2000, 11:00 PM
Rapolina and MSue,
I used the same stretcher bars as are used for canvas. 14 and 20 inch work well for a half sheet of watercolor paper. I soaked the paper for 10 minutes and then stapled the edges tightly to the bars. Tight as a drum when it dries! Another nice thing about doing it this way, is that you can use the stapled edges to test your paint colors.



11-25-2003, 11:39 AM
If you use the Dick Blick stretchers for 12x16 inch paper would you have to buy 10x14 inch in order to fold over the edge and tack or staple? Also they have 3 types good, better, best. Do you think the cheaper good would hold up under the stretching pressure?


11-25-2003, 11:42 AM
Another thougt I had was if you use the Arches blocks the paper doesn't warp.


11-25-2003, 01:33 PM
I just finished using my last sheet of Arches block paper and I am ordering more block paper in a few days from Cheap Joe's but it won't be Arches.

I like Arches blocks but to me its expensive.

The stretcher board I've seen advertised is for 1/2 sheet and whole sheets. Check this out: http://www.watercolorboard.com/

11-25-2003, 05:30 PM
Wow. the stretch looks great but a bit pricy for 1/2 sheets. $65 + S&H. Ill buy the blocks of WC paper. Sylvielu tell me what you think of other WC paper. I think Arches is expensive also.


11-26-2003, 02:19 AM
Why don't you just stretch paper on plywood?
So much cheaper.
Get pieces cut to size.
you can set up many pieces ready to go

Blocks are so expensive compared to sheets.

Any 140# will work with stretching.
It is a bit of a hassle but you save so much money
And you can have a lot of boards waiting for work.

I know here the philosophy is to get the very best supplies.
But I work with student paper and paints to burn thru stuff.
I find it very difficult to experiment with expensive supplies.
What do I care if I am using cheaper stuff.

And the difference in using artist quality supplies is worth the while.