View Full Version : Wow! Working on paper is so different!

10-13-2014, 09:35 PM
All these years, I've never painted on paper, only on canvas and raw fabric. Well, not since grade school and that was so long ago, I don't remember :eek: . I just bought some Canson paper and oh my! what a difference! Not sure I like it. Brush marks all over the place, and blending seems more difficult.
A new challenge :rolleyes: . Any advice welcome :thumbsup:

10-13-2014, 09:53 PM
depends on what brushes !! if you use the coarser bristle brushes that you use for canvas there is very little tooth to the surface so canvas brushes are not as good you are better off working more like watercolour with more diluted paint and softer watercolour brushes to give a more watercolour effect

done it once for a car painting and very effective too !:thumbsup:

Lady Carol
10-14-2014, 12:18 PM
As with most things, there is a learning curve. Keep at it for a bit and maybe you will get it sorted and grow to like paper.

10-14-2014, 01:23 PM
I done a few on paper with acrylics. I like using 300# Arches HP. It's a good heavy paper and doesn't buckle. I used a large soft brush to start with and then changed to a palette knife to finish up.

Don't be shy and give it a go. Be bold and dance with the brush.

10-14-2014, 04:14 PM
I love painting on paper, especially gessoed bristol. Bristol comes in different textures. I used to miss the texture of canvas which I still enjoy, then I found that I could create some texture in the gesso to give the painting more depth.

10-14-2014, 05:07 PM
Thank you all for the advice :). I'm still playing with it.
Mary, that's beautiful!

East Sun
10-14-2014, 09:30 PM
What brilliant colors.

Van Gogh would have loved it.


10-18-2014, 02:35 PM
I started out painting on paper, but once I tried canvas, I never looked back.

Paper doesn't have the long range durability that canvas and hardboard has.

But it's a personal preference.


10-18-2014, 03:53 PM
I think I have to agree with you. I bought this paper to have something cheap and portable to play with. I'm using it for studies and practice runs. Not worried at longevity as I don't think my work is worth keeping for future generations.

10-22-2014, 11:22 AM
I think I have to agree with you. I bought this paper to have something cheap and portable to play with. I'm using it for studies and practice runs. Not worried at longevity as I don't think my work is worth keeping for future generations.

The problem is that blending on paper is much different than canvas, just as blending on Masonite is different.

For myself, I screw up enough canvases to have some for studies. :D


10-22-2014, 11:28 AM
What??? :confused: I'm supposed to blend :eek: ???

Yes, much harder even with medium added. And I keep messing up because I keep going back over what I just painted, which just takes off a layer... gonna learn, eventually :crossfingers: .

10-22-2014, 12:41 PM
So true, blending does get tricky with overworking on paper. I find if I'm patient enough to move on to other areas of the painting while the paint dries it's not much of an issue. I was taught in college to always work the entire painting to the same level. This kind of forces me to do this.

I also don't work very thick and always gesso my paper. Ideally, gesso both sides of paper so it's more stable and doesn't curl. I only work with water and no mediums. After my underpainting, I try to work thin layers. Just kind of work with what the materials want to do. They make papers just for acrylics though I like any thick paper.

Some thoughts to try and play with!

10-22-2014, 06:49 PM

Thank you for the tips. The paper I bought is for acrylics and I also tend to paint thin layers. I'm trying a bit of water instead of medium, and I'm surprised at how much watery i can be without affecting the paper.
I have to work on the patience bit, lol, and getting more organized as you explained. I kinda jump here and there randomly.

I did find some softer brushes that I had forgotten I had, so that should help too. This is certainly a learning experience after textile painting where you have to push the paint into the weaves.

10-22-2014, 11:51 PM
Haha well sometimes the organization of working a whole painting is "I have red on my brush, where else can I use red before rinsing it off." Though with the fast drying time of acrylic it's economical and adds unity. Or at least I tell myself this so I don't feel so lazy

10-23-2014, 12:01 AM
I often paint with acrylic on watercolor paper. It gives me the freedom to paint a few thin layers before going thicker. Sometimes I start with watercolors and then add acrylics.

Harold Roth
10-23-2014, 01:40 PM
I always paint on paper, although I have some boards and panels in the wings for when I want to give that a try. But I came from painting with watercolor. To prevent curl, just use masking tape to tape the paper to a masonite board. The great thing about using acrylics on paper--and what won me over to switch from watercolors--is that you can do endless layers without messing up the lower layers and getting something muddy. You can also thin the paint as much as you want, according to Golden, and I have found this to be true. This is if you are painting in a watercolor style where you do not make use of brushmarks or impasto. The other thing is that I have not noticed the difference in paper quality with acrylics that I did with watercolors. If you varnish it when you are done and you are using a good quality archival paper, you do not have to worry any more about paper than you do about canvas.

10-23-2014, 03:24 PM
Oh Brian, I do that too! Hate to waste paint :).