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Old 05-16-2011, 09:20 PM
adigal adigal is offline
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Help!! Need tips for painting on 300 lb paper

Hi,
I hope someone here can help me! I was given a big package of 300 lb paper from a group that doesn't use it anymore. It is Arches, and it feels wonderful. Until I put paint on it!! It is so absorbent, it is worse than trying to watercolor on a paper towel. When I go to paint wet into wet, the paint stays exactly where I put it, and the colors don't run into each other at all. I am stymied on how to paint and what I would paint on this!! I would like to use it, because it was free, and as you know, WC paper is deadly expensive.

Any tips, thank you!!
Nancy
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Old 05-16-2011, 10:28 PM
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Re: Help!! Need tips for painting on 300 lb paper

Is the sizing off before you paint. Is it wet Enough ?
The color should run when wet .
June
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Old 05-16-2011, 10:39 PM
adigal adigal is offline
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Re: Help!! Need tips for painting on 300 lb paper

Hi June,
Maybe the sizing isn't off? I ran it under water but didn't soak it. That may be it. Thank you!
Nancy
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Old 05-17-2011, 04:40 AM
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Re: Help!! Need tips for painting on 300 lb paper

You don't need to soak/stretch 300lb paper Nancy, it does however hold a lot of water.

Doug
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:05 AM
adigal adigal is offline
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Re: Help!! Need tips for painting on 300 lb paper

Hi Doug,
So how does it work? When I put water on it, and put paint on it, it soaks right in. I doesn't form anything. What I mean is that I can't move the paint on the paper - it just sits. It is very tough to paint wet on and also to move the brush around on it.

What am I missing? Thanks,
Nancy
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:40 AM
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Re: Help!! Need tips for painting on 300 lb paper

Hi Nancy! It sounds as if you have rough surface paper. Is that correct? Even cold press surface has some texture to it. Surface does make some differences in paint application, particularly wet on dry.

I'm assuming this is new paper. Old paper sometimes mysterously loses its sizing, allowing the paint to immediately sink into the paper fibers, resulting in the paint not moving at all. If the sizing is gone, even wet into wet on tilted paper will not move very much.

Sizing is used for a purpose: to keep the paint on the top of the paper so that the painter can move it, create hard or soft edges, mix on the paper, etc. When the sizing is gone, there is little a painter can do other than paint shapes with all soft edges.

Arches is a very good brand, but even they have old sheets with faulty sizing.

That said, 300 lb paper takes getting used to. Once damp or fully saturated, it retains moisture for a long time==much longer than 140 lb paper. I generally always have the paper tilted when I am painting, in order for gravity to help me achieve blended paints. If I don't want blending I keep the sheet horizontal.

You should be able to take a sheet, use as large a brush as you have and dampen the surface, and thereafter apply paint in a syrupy consistency and have it run on tilted paper. To stop the run, just keep the paper level.

Wet on dry, however, syrupy paint may not run much unless it has greater water content. Those little dry fiber critters grab a large amount of paint on first application! In order to paint large areas wet on dry on 300 lb paper, without brushmarks, I find I have to mix a quantity of color in a small plastic mixing cup and apply it liberally, without stopping, to the paper. The challenge here is to use test strips to confirm color value and intensity before applying the final wash to the painting. It's very hard to tell what you've got looking at a 1/8" deep pool of color in a plastic mixing cup!

For large wash areas on 300 lb paper I generally dampen the area of the wash before applying paint. It helps the paint to spread, cover and avoid brush marks. To maintain color intensity, wait for the paper to reach the damp stage. Fully saturated paper will cause the paint to really run, and likely reduce the color intensity due to the excess water on the paper.

Painting wet on wet is my personal choice for painting medium to large areas on 300 lb paper, particularly at early stages of the painting. It does mean that there will likely be some passages that will take a subsequent workover to achieve desired color intensity and value.

Keep experimenting and let us know how it goes!

Sling paint!
Virgil
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Last edited by virgil carter : 05-17-2011 at 08:43 AM.
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Old 05-17-2011, 09:03 AM
adigal adigal is offline
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Re: Help!! Need tips for painting on 300 lb paper

Thanks, Virgil,
The paper hasn't been used in a long time, so it is old. Maybe that is the problem. I will keep playing, though, before I give up on it, using your suggestions. Thanks much!! I will let you know how it goes,
Nancy
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Old 05-17-2011, 09:22 AM
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Re: Help!! Need tips for painting on 300 lb paper

I paint on 300lb paper all the time. I think there probably is a learning curve to get used to anything new. It's been so long, that I can't remember what I thought was hard or different about using it....but I have no problems with it now. My colors mix and they are moveable - but maybe they just move and mix differently than they would on a different weight paper? Maybe you just need alot MORE water than you're used to because the 300lb can hold so much. The nice thing about that is if you've gotten it wet enough, you have more time to work on an area before the sheen has left and you have to stop.

I don't pre-stretch or soak my paper. I do keep a spray/mister bottle nearby and if I'm planning to paint a large area, I wet it down with that first. This works really well for adding additional layers/glazes, too. Once the bottom layer has completely dried (usually with a hairdryer because I'm impatient) I can mist it and apply something else on top. This prevents me from disturbing the under layer with additional brush strokes, but allows me to continue with wet into wet painting.
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Old 05-17-2011, 09:49 AM
adigal adigal is offline
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Re: Help!! Need tips for painting on 300 lb paper

Thanks for the advice, Amy. I will use a lot more water and see what happens! I love your blog,
Nancy
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Old 05-22-2011, 12:27 PM
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Re: Help!! Need tips for painting on 300 lb paper

I also use a spray bottle, masking some areas with my hand or a piece of paper, to focus the moisture. It just may take doing some exercises -- sounds like you have a fair amount of paper -- to get a feel for the amount of water needed for this particular batch of paper. Post some images of what you are doing, even what doesn't work. Seeing the comparisons might trigger some additional advice.

Good luck!

Jen
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Old 05-24-2011, 02:47 PM
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Re: Help!! Need tips for painting on 300 lb paper

I usually use 300# Arches with no problems but the last painting I grabbed a sheet of 140# and noticed that I seemed to have too much water in everything. My conclusion is that I must have gotten in the habit of using a lot of "extra" water on the heavier paper because that 140# buckled almost immediately.

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Old 05-24-2011, 08:44 PM
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Re: Help!! Need tips for painting on 300 lb paper

Nancy, I have used 300 lb Arches without experiencing the problems you are having. I wonder if the paper is improperly sized, and that is why it went unused for so many years? As an experiment, I wonder if you could take a small sample piece and soak it for an hour, then blot it off with a towel and let it dry thoroughly; try to paint on it then and see if it's taking your paint better. That's what I would do. Certainly don't let the paper go to waste; it's great that you got it as I believe with your flair for saturated color, this heavy paper is ideal. I hope you get the kinks worked out soon! Let us know?!
-Karen
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