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Old 05-10-2012, 10:03 AM
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Paper question

I bought some new Strathmore paper from Blick and received it the other day. I got Cold Press and Hot Press. Haven't even opened the hot press package yet. Anyway, I took out the cold press and it doesn't say it is two sided, but there is a rough side and a not so rough side. I assumed the side you paint on was the rougher of the two, but it is a lot more rough than my other papers I have here, that are cold press also. I used this Strathmore to paint my new beach scene with our Boston Terrier, and I am thinking of doing or trying it on the hot press because I didn't like this cold press for painting him, our BT. I wanted his edges to be a bit more crisp. He is a super short haired dog and at the angle and distance I was doing him, you wouldn't see any coat just crisp edges. I am wondering though, if I used the wrong side of the paper. How do you know which side to use? My other, cheaper paper, both sides are pretty much the same. Really wondering if I will like the hot press better, in this brand of paper. I am anxious to try it now. Hope I paint the right side of it.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:52 AM
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Re: Paper question

Hi Lisa, there is no right or wrong side of the paper for me, if it says its 'rough NOT' then the rougher side would be the intended to paint on I assume, but if you dont like it I am sure nobody will tell you different then : use the other side and see if you like it, it would be crazy not to use the paper somehow maybe at some stage you will paint something that this kind of paper will end up beeing perfect for.
As I am in stage of beginner watercolorist I dont see anything wrong in painting on both sides but only if the first one didnt work out for me, I dont want to end up with masterpieces on both sides and wonder what to do;D Its slightly possible that there will be a mastepiece on any of the sides for now but you never know!

I bought a 300lb hahnemuhle recently and its rough and 'fluffy' too, so I dont know what to do with it but I will use every bit of it!
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Old 05-10-2012, 11:31 AM
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Re: Paper question

Some papers have a watermark on the side that is supposed to be the side to use, but I don't know about Strathmore. As far as hot press, I haven't used it yet, but I have noticed that a lot of people who do animals and portraits like the hot press.
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Old 05-10-2012, 11:57 AM
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Re: Paper question

Lisa, as has been said there really is no "wrong" side for watercolor paper. The watermark, if present, shows the side that is normally "up", but many painters use either or both sides, particularly when the first effort doesn't turn out so well!

I'm one of those that thinks there are better paperss than Strathmore, but everyone has their personal favorite. There's considerable difference between hot press and the other surfaces of every manufacturer. You're doing the right thing by experiementing with different surfaces. Many online art retailers have trial paper packs with sheets from different manufacturers, if you want to try various brand papers.

When you find a paper brand you like (including Strathmore), it may be a good idea to stick with it for awhile, rather than search endlessly among different brand papers.

Hope this helps. Sling paint!
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:48 PM
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Re: Paper question

Lisa, Virgil just gave you awesome advice! I had to change papers and I got a sample pack from Dick Blick that helped me to choose my new paper thanks to tips from others here on WetCanvas.

The thing is that when you change papers, to me anyway, the learning curve starts all over again. To me, quality paper is "the most important" part of watercolor painting. I don't know Strathmore, but once you find the "right one" you will notice a huge difference. Best of luck with your paper search.
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Old 05-10-2012, 05:39 PM
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Re: Paper question

Thank you, I do plan on painting on the back too. I would only not do that, if I planned on framing it. Yes, who know's I may like the other side better. Yes, I am just trying some different brands and such. We are on such a strict budget that I can't pay a lot,so that is why I began with Strathmore. I just noticed the paint really did a lot different with it, than my other paper...a cheaper student grade, I think. Can't even remember the name of it, but it is made right here in Oregon. The bad thing is, I didn't like the way the Strathmore did with the paint. Honestly, so far, I liked my student stuff better.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:36 PM
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Re: Paper question

Which Strathmore paper did you buy?
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:51 PM
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Re: Paper question

140 lb., precut to 5x7 & 8x10
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Old 05-11-2012, 12:47 AM
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Re: Paper question

Somebody around here recently noted that you paid for both sides, use them!

The side you like best is the "right" side. If you like both, bonus! I agree with Virgil to find a decent one and stick to it; OTOH, if nothing is really feeling like magic yet, it's perfectly fine to try new papers when your budget allows and see what finally clicks for you, even if you can't afford it on a regular basis. That way, should you find yourself with a gift card or some extra cash, you'll know what to treat yourself with!
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Old 05-11-2012, 12:52 AM
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Re: Paper question

Oh, I do use both sides...I just wasn't sure how to tell which side is what the paper company is expecting you to use. LOL And since I just started, in watercolors, I haven't had a chance to try different papers yet, to see what I like. Once I find one I really like, believe me, I will stick with it.
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Old 05-11-2012, 02:02 AM
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Re: Paper question

I tend to feel there isn't ALWAYS two sides, because I have noticed a lot of papers behave very differently according to which side. I have found I like the side that faces "up" in a curve, in other words a lot of papers, when you "hang" them in your hand, reveal which side wasn't on the "roll?" sorry, there are terms for all this I just can't think of. Anyway, the side that doesn't touch the roll thingy. Some papers to me seem to fall apart when worked on the back, as though less sized somehow. I have a lot of experience with student paper. There are ways to get what you want, but it is often tedious and more of a gamble. I have used lots of Strathmore, I think it is good. But it isn't Arches, Fabriano or etc etc etc. Serviceable to say the least! For what it is worth, I have found that most cheaper surfaces are more delicate and don't handle any abuse. To help this, it is good but tedious to let the paper get totally dry, and then attempt whatever you wanted to try. Sometimes you can lift and soften, sometimes it balls up into a patchy nightmare.


Oh, and regarding hot press, it is very smooth and typically non absorbent relative to cold press. If you are looking to render a tight, dry portrait of the dog without too much wet in wet you should be OK. The shame is, so many people have a pack of hot press with one or two sheets only gone from it. Still, I would urge you to try it out. You could probably ditch it at the swap shop if you really don't like it! Same with the CP really...

Last edited by SSB : 05-11-2012 at 02:06 AM.
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:44 AM
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Re: Paper question

Thank you...I haven't had a chance to try the hot press yet. I groomed my Poodle yesterday, and that took all the time I would of had for painting. May today, after work, I will get a chance. I hope so.
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:51 AM
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Re: Paper question

Lisa, grooming the poodle was a very cool artistic pursuit! Seriously, about the samples. I received samples from Dick Blick of different papers and they were about 2" x 4" and they didn't charge me. It was well worth it. I hope they have the same offer since this was in Nov. 2011.

Best of luck. I know a lot of my detail-painting friends really like hot press. However, most have said that it doesn't like washes very well, just FYI for what it is worth. All I know is that it does take some time to find "the right paper." The good thing, IMHO is that you have the best artist paint around. Just my personal opinion, of course!
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