View Full Version : Somerset paper for pastels?

08-04-2010, 02:37 PM
I love trying new materials, and recently purchased some sheets of somerset soft white satin paper. I watched a video on artists network and M. Katherine Hurley uses it - love her stuff so thought I'd give it a try.

However, she uses the "textured" not the "satin" somerset paper. I emailed her and she kindly responded but said she's never tried the satin so doesn't know what the tooth is like.

Has anyone tried this? I'm still waiting for the paper, should be here tomorrow.

I guess I should stop impulse buying - 10 sheets of 22x30 is a lot if it doesn't work out for me!!

Deborah Secor
08-04-2010, 03:23 PM
Sorry--all I've used it the Somerset velvet, which I love!

Paula Ford
08-04-2010, 03:37 PM
I've used Somerset velvet (black) (because Deborah recommended it :D ) and love it too, but have never tried the satin.

08-04-2010, 03:52 PM
Okay, thanks. Gee, I think I'm confused... I did get Somerset velvet printmaking paper in soft white satin.

I thought the difference would be satin vs. textured, but maybe I got neither, and got the velvet, and the color is just the soft white satin?? I don't know, I guess I'll find out! Good to know you liked the velvet. I've never worked on velvet before, is it literally velvet, or does it just have a nice tooth?

Here's the link:http://www.dickblick.com/products/somerset-velvet-printmaking-paper/

Paula Ford
08-04-2010, 04:05 PM
Kim, Yes, I think that is the one I have. It's been a while and can't remember where I ordered it. The black is definately paper. As Deborah mentioned a while ago, it has good tooth and can be ripped around the edges which is really beautiful if you want to float a painting.

Deborah, what is that called?

Deborah Secor
08-04-2010, 05:18 PM
The one I buy and love is the Somerset Black Velvet, which is near the top of the list you linked. The distributor's page says this:


Somerset has become one of the most loved and widely used papers in the world. Made at the St. Cuthbert's Mill in Southwest England, Somerset is a range of mouldmade, 100% cotton papers suitable for most fine art processes.

Go to this page (http://www.legionpaper.com/Our-Collection/By-Brand/Somerset.htm) to see the various Somerset papers. You'll see Satin sheets, Textured sheets and Velvet sheets.

I believe you have been misled by the page at Blick, since it's labeled Velvet at the top, but it looks to me like they offer velvet and satin sheets. If you clicked on one labeled Soft White Satin, I don't believe you'll receive the velvet.

But all is not lost! On this page from the mill (http://www.inveresk.co.uk/node/71) it says that the Satin is suited to pastels, as you'll see by the chart near the bottom. So I'd give it a go...though I might want to contact Blick and discuss the rather misleading page title.

Hope that helps!

08-04-2010, 05:26 PM
Thanks all - I actually did my research and visited St. Cuthbert's page too (but gee, you are really on top of it, Deborah! :)).

I wasn't sure if Dick Blick was wrong or if there was a Velvet paper in soft white satin color. I believe you are correct and I will get the Satin type of paper. Guess I'll just give it a go! I'm afraid it won't have enough tooth to layer the way I want to, though, as it states it has the least amount of texture of all Somerset papers.

I'll let you know how it goes!

Deborah Secor
08-04-2010, 07:12 PM
The velvet doesn't have any tooth at all. It's soft, cushy paper, slightly fuzzy along the edges, but the basket-weave mould marks are what give it a light texture. It loves water (printmaking papers have to), and it takes light layers. You won't be able to do a lot of layering on any paper that's not toothy, though, so you may not find that the satin is all that different from the velvet after all... In the pic on the Legion page you can see the texture of the velvet compared to the others. I'll be interested to know what the satin is like. If you can, get a good side-light pic of it for us!

08-04-2010, 07:25 PM
I'll try to take a good picture tomorrow.

When you say it loves water, does this mean I could do watercolor underpaintings? Is it stretchable like watercolor paper?

Deborah Secor
08-04-2010, 07:49 PM
Yes, the Velvet surely is! I tape it to my board and do even a rather wet underpainting in watercolors. It may warp but it won't cockle. Once it's dry it's flat again, although I usually urge it to flatten by slightly stretching and repositioning the tape.

I use it for my gouache paintings (http://deborahsecor-gouache.blogspot.com/search/label/Somerset%20Black%20Velvet), too. :thumbsup: