View Full Version : I'm late to New Wallis

10-14-2008, 05:15 PM
Looked through threads briefly, but I know this is an old subject and I didn't see what I wanted in searches. My unhappiness is spilling over.

I was lucky enough to have plenty of Old Wallis on hand. I use it in Dakota Arts KOOOL Binders and usually have a couple binders going at a time. I work mostly en plein air.

Close to being out, I recently placed an order with Dakota for KOOOL Binder refills. One pack of 10-11x14 is $51, so each page is over $5. I contemplated buying larger Wallis and cutting it down, punching holes, etc, but the price drop was only about 10%, so I didn't consider it worth it.

I also purchased two packs of 8.5x11. IOW, I have a small fortune in this New Wallis and I forgot completely about the change over in texture.

Can anybody help with this stuff? I know I will not purchase it again, but I HAVE to use what I own.

I've done three paintings and was extremely frustrated. The paper was so coarse, it ate up my pastels ridiculously - I keep half of a half stick/color in my French Companion and, each time with New Wallis, I have used up almost all of several - that is doubly expensive, then. At the same time, it left scads of it loose, so it was messy and infiltrated and settled where it shouldn't. I would try to fill in a sky and would either have white dots or, if I tried to fill them, I had saturated paper that looked lumpy.

I can do nothing subtly, it feels. I have to press so hard for coverage, then the tooth is filled. When the tooth isn't yet filled, I feel like I am chasing the white dots in order to fill them in. My painting style is severely influenced, both stylistically and time-wise. Now it takes too blamed long to finish a plein air painting in a sitting.

How do you make your way around this? I'm sure there's a lot of experience with it here. My plan is to do an underpainting and tone down the white. I have a jar of collected pastel dust, which winds up a medium purplish gray, but I fear that will be too dark. When I do an underpainting in oil, it is a raw sienna, pale orangish.

If you do underpaintings, what do you use? I'm at a loss, but I honestly do not want to buy anything else at this point. I have some acrylic. Would that work?

All in all, how have you coped? By taking your dollar elsewhere? I'm sorry to be harsh, but I am gobsmacked by dealing with this three days in a row. I don't even have a painting I'd like to show.

10-14-2008, 06:46 PM
myself, i'd of sent it back for a refund or exchange it. you could still do that with the rest. my last attempt at using wallis was similar to what you are talking about--the old stuff was nice but the new was so difficult, almost as if there was a plastic coating on it, so i went searching for something else, found colorfix and have been painting happily with that since. its cheaper, i believe it uses up my sticks less even than the old wallis, works with underpaintings very well, comes in some really great colors, and there is a primer made of the same stuff i can use on papers/boards of my own. its also easier on the fingers should a person decide to use them to blend.

i choose to not fight with my materials--painting, esp. plein air, is difficult enough, my materials need to work with me, not against--they are my employees and if they dont' work well, they're fired! good luck

10-14-2008, 08:20 PM
Thanks so much, Chewie, for your reply. I may look into sending back the 8.5x11s. I don't think I've used any of them.

Has anyone tried doing a tinted pumice mixture over the top to make it sanded? Would that buckle the page?

In that same order, I got a sampler of Uart to try - 2 sheets per each of four grades for $18 - 8 sheets for $18 is lovely! I can cut them down and punch holes, so they'll fit in the smaller KOOOL Binder. I'm kinda putting all my eggs in that basket hoping it works.

Anyone have Uart preferences?

10-14-2008, 09:12 PM

I am so sorry to hear about your issues. I really like more uneven surfaces and I've used Wallis, but I don't think I've gotten any lately or at least haven't noticed problematic issues for me. I've been trying to do watercolor underpaintings with pastels so that the entire surface has some color before I apply any pastels, but I know you can use acrylic paints watered down for underpaintings, too. You have to water them down enough to keep enough of the tooth available, but if you can also lay another coat of transparent gesso with pumice, or matte medium with pumice, or the transparent ArtSpectrum Colorfix medium. If you haven't already, check out Richard McKinley and Albert Handell's wonderful pastel work over watercolor and oil (or acrylic) underpaintings. Most of that work is absolutely spectacular, and it sure inspires me.

You might try to trade the Wallis or sell it on Ebay maybe. I might be interested in at least getting a few pieces, because I'm curious about what it's like, and I probably could give you a decent trade for it - but you'd have to wait until I get another consulting gig lined up (hopefully, it will be in a few days - please keep your fingers crossed for me!).

Maybe there is someone else here that might be willing to give you a good trade on it, too. Hope this helps and maybe gives you some ideas. I usually don't get too frustrated, and tend to look at most things as a challenge. I also usually have a few different types of surfaces to work on so I don't get overwhelmed if something seems out of sorts for me. I'm glad you found ArtSpectrum ColorFix to be to your liking too. Oh well, hope this helps and maybe gives you some ideas.

10-14-2008, 09:48 PM
Old Wallis was sanded and obvious about it. New Wallis has this gummy, squiggly surface on it. You'd know, I'm sure.

To be clear, when I got the new stuff, I was excited, figuring *I* would not succumb to the new surface that everybody else complained about. I liked the challenge. However, after three days and chewed up pastels, I know I can't continue without changing it somehow.

Chewie mentioned Colorfix. I've certainly used it, have some in KOOOL Binders even, but I found it inferior to the Old Wallis for grip. It filled too quickly, but it was workable. Compared to New Wallis, it's a gem. Just feeling the texture of the Uart makes me anticipate I'll like it - the feel is sandy like the old Wallis. In the sample pack, there's 400, 500, 600, and 800 versions, but old Wallis is nearest 400, I think.

We can work out a trade or something. Contact me when you get the funds.

10-14-2008, 10:49 PM
I've been using the Uart, lately, and really like it. The #500 is very good for more detail but the #400 is excellent for landscapes. It takes an oil stain beautifully and you can also use a watercolour wash. I haven't yet tried the #600 or #800. In my opinion, it has a softer grit than the Wallis and is more even. I find it better for layering than the Colourfix.

As well, I've tried the Uart with oil pastels and enjoy using it.

Please let us know how it works for you...


10-14-2008, 11:23 PM
Hi Bonnie,

I haven't experienced this yet, still working with the old stuff, but this has been a hot topic in a few threads... Here is one that Kitty came in on...


I can't find the other thread, must be in my imagination. Hope this helps some!


10-14-2008, 11:39 PM
Thanks for looking, Carol. I appreciate people's take on inconsistency, but my concern is with the make up of the surface itself, but you already knew that. I'm glad you found that reference.

Actually, I don't really know how this new stuff could be called sanded paper. Of course, I have the utmost respect for Kitty Wallis and appreciate her as a painter, too, but I do not understand an inferior product going out when the previous one was so well received.

Someone on that thread mentioned patterns. After I've worked the paper, I see lines and distinct swirly impressions, issues that are distracting to my image. With them, I again alter my usual painting technique to work against the paper and then clog it up. Actually, they go well with the white dots that won't cover up.

10-15-2008, 02:17 AM

Yikes - that surface sounds very odd. I think I've only ever seen the pretty evenly sanded Wallis. I just had to check some of the bigger sized Wallis paper that I got from sharing part of a roll with a few other MAPS members last year, and it looked okay. The only issues I've ever seen for any Wallis paper was with the binder that attached the pumice - for some of the production, it wasn't completely waterproof or maybe even turpentine proof, so it would come loose - I think I remember reading that. Anyway, I am sorry to hear about your issues. I would think any surface that looked like it had a repeating type of pattern would be distracting. It's probably completely better for me that I've sort of switched over to making my own surfaces for the most part. If you get too frustrated, I would completely recommend that you switch over to making your own surface - I really like the pumice medium on cold press watercolor paper - and it worked great on 300lb Arches cold press with Golden's Fine Pumice Gell. Again, sorry to hear about your issues.

10-15-2008, 02:40 AM
I remember a complaint that even regular Colorfix or regular Wallis was still too toothy for them. There was a suggestion to try sanding the paper down a bit with fine sandpaper. I'm sure it takes an even hand to do this. Maybe it's worth sacrificing one piece to try it. Maybe it's too much prep work to use up the rest of your stock.

Another experiment, less work. Perhaps fill in some of that tooth with gesso.

Hope you fine your solution.

10-15-2008, 07:23 AM
It sounds like you got a faulty batch. It should definitely still be a sanded paper, and not a gummy swirly one. As Kitty is on WC, I'd ask her directly.

The factory may have sent out stuff they should have tossed.

10-15-2008, 09:49 AM
After I've worked the paper, I see lines and distinct swirly impressions, issues that are distracting to my image. With them, I again alter my usual painting technique to work against the paper and then clog it up. Actually, they go well with the white dots that won't cover up.
Potoma, could you please post a few pictures of the bare Wallis paper that shows these "lines and distinct swirly impressions". I have a new pad of Wallis and I do see some vague patterns in the coating and am wondering if it's my imagination or if I have the same situation that you have.

Thanks in advance!


10-15-2008, 10:44 AM
Wow, that was a challenge for first thing in the morning. It made me do comparisons, which is a good thing.

On the left is the new professional version I've been using the last few days. On the right is old Museum Grade.


Detail left

This exercise strained the abilities of my camera, but you can see the irregular textural differences on the left. You can pick up the lines and swirls, too, which I didn't really notice until I'd worked it. To be sure, the old Wallis also has a pattern, but it's more like elongated dents and shallow divots than cauliflower swirls.

Turns out, I got 2 11x14 and 1 8.5x11 packets from Dakota, instead of the other way around. The one on the left is from one 11x14 and the version on the right more closely resembles the other 11x14 packet, but I haven't worked from that or the new 8.5x11 packet yet. (Those pictures didn't turn out well enough to post.)

You made me dig around and I realize one envelope is very different than the other two, so it is either a QA issue or I got Old Wallis in the other envelopes. I'll try working from the other new envelopes and see if that is like (or is?) the old I loved so much.

Thanks so much for your responses; your input has really helped. I'd felt like I lost a dear friend; now I know I need to investigate more.

10-15-2008, 11:06 AM
The new UART in a 600 grit is like the OLD wallis and the 500 grit is closer to the new wallis.

10-15-2008, 12:26 PM
Wallis paper through Dakota (and probably other outlets) was defective this spring. A friend talked at length with Dakota and Central Art Supply (we had ordered from both). The professional paper had an orange peel texture that didn't hold pastel, showed a distinct texture, and with watercolor wash wouldn't hold color evenly.

Send it back and get new stock. Museum is a better texture than professional for the texturally challenged (like me). Wallis is still good paper - they just had problems with production.

10-15-2008, 12:53 PM
I recently received a pad of 12x18 Wallis Pro white and I can't see any of the irregularities that you have been describing. Maybe it was just a bad batch from Dakota. I ordered mine from Dick Blick.


10-15-2008, 01:13 PM
So, is this an issue or no. Looking at the previous thread (see link above), Kitty indicated that they have a commitment to QC and will replace defective product. If there was an issue, was bad stock recalled, or are the Merchants just hoping to run through it. I do not recall ever seeing a run number on any package of Wallis Iíve bought in the past so how would we know if itís part of a bad batch. I used to purchase stock for a large printer. When a ďpaper problemĒ was reported to me by the Pressroom. That (run number) was the first thing asked to get along with samples. Iíve liked the paper so far and use it almost exclusively. That said, Iím starting to stock up for a future Workshop as well as my day to day use. Iíd hate to be on location and find I have material to fight.

10-15-2008, 01:50 PM
I don't know if what I got is defective or if it's new Wallis. I am hoping that the good envelopes aren't old Wallis and there are more surprises.

I'd have to assume they track runs, but I've never seen an indication of it.

I emailed Dakota of the problem and asked how they remedy it.

10-15-2008, 02:47 PM
I just heard from Dakota and they'll be replacing mine, plus some. At first, I'd asked for Museum grade as replacement, but she said that's the stuff they'd had trouble with. It doesn't hold pastel, but it doesn't look any different, so the problem is sneaky. I decided to stay with the Professional, because I can do a visual of it for the texture and know if it's good or not.

She also assured me that everything I have is new Wallis, that they have a significant turn over and stock doesn't last long. I think I can handle good new Wallis, but I need to try it out for sure.

10-15-2008, 05:43 PM
That's good news and good customer service. You don't always get the later these days.

Kitty Wallis
10-15-2008, 09:09 PM
Hi Potoma,

Please send us your 'rough' stuff. We will replace it. Now and then something slips thru our quality control. We do inspect every sheet, but some flaws don't show up until the artist works on the paper.

Kitty Wallis
[email protected]

10-15-2008, 09:55 PM
If there was an issue, was bad stock recalled, or are the Merchants just hoping to run through it. I do not recall ever seeing a run number on any package of Wallis Iíve bought in the past so how would we know if itís part of a bad batch.
This is indeed a bit odd. If Dakota knew they had sent out bad paper (granted, after the fact) and never notified any of the recipients to recall it, that's a bit odd indeed. Maybe I misunderstand. Dakota is otherwise so great, seemingly.

But maybe as Mike says, there is no way to identify a bad batch since there are no run numbers. So the merchants decided to rely on each individual artist's expertise and experience to detect defective stock that they had (possibly) received.

So, if the only way to know is by comparison to older stock, then those of us newbies, that don't have older stock, remain clueless. Except for Potoma's pix! Thank you!


10-16-2008, 09:05 PM
I want to update that this morning I went through all the Wallis I received from Dakota a few weeks ago. Out of 30 sheets, four were affected and Dakota is replacing those and more. As luck would have it, those four were the pages that I'd begun with in my binder, so I didn't know if that was the new paper's configuration or not. I realize now that they were an aberration and that the rest are good, something about which I am very happy.

I would suggest that if you get an envelope of paper for your KOOOL Binder that you check and compare them when they arrive.