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Old 10-13-2012, 04:38 PM
PainterTyer PainterTyer is offline
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Canson Watercolor Paper

I'm still navigating myself around the site but I have a question relative to Canson Watercolor Paper/XL Series. It is 140 lb, cold press and acid free. I tried to stretch a sheet via the traditional technique (i.e. soak and then tape to a board). It immediately buckled with the first wash and was difficult to use. So, I made my own wood paper stretchers from information posted on the Flickr website (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kwhcoaster) and they seem to work well. The paper lays flat with no buckle; however, I have not tried using a masking medium on it. My question: Is this paper suitable for a beginner like myself? If not, what papers would be recommended for beginners? I like the price and I feel that I can practice on it prior to moving on to better quality papers. It seems to perform well with repeated washes but I wonder if I'm missing something by not using better quality paper.

Marcus
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Old 10-13-2012, 05:17 PM
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Laura D Laura D is offline
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Re: Canson Watercolor Paper

Hi Marcus,

This is a student grade paper often used in the classroom but more and more instructors are vereing away from it, saying that the quality has gone downhill. I would suggest taking one sheet and putting it through it's paces. How many layers can you put on it? Can you do any lifting? Can you use an eraser to lift pencil lines (and paint!) without the surface pilling? Will it take masking fluid? (Remember to stir the mask well!) Do colors sit on top or soak right in? Do you get good movement (dispersion) of transparent paints?

If you find yourself hampered in what you want to do I'd strongly suggest getting some higher quality paper. I know it's hard to justify the expense at first but using quality materials keep you from fighting with your materials while trying to learn to use the medium.

The thing I found when I upgraded to quality materials and tools was that I had to re-learn a lot of techniques because I didn't have to tip-toe around issues I had with cheaper stuff. It was nice to find that paint would flow right across the page and I could do so much more with this brush or that but I did wish I'd started out with the good stuff.

The basic rule of thumb is if your budget is limited get the best paper you can afford. Then worry about upgrading the other stuff.
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Old 10-13-2012, 08:41 PM
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hblenkle hblenkle is offline
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Re: Canson Watercolor Paper

I use Arches 140 lb. CP. I use both sides using a quarter sheet. So one full sheet I get 8 paintings. Some peoplle even use 1/8 sized sheets so they get 16 panting from one full sheet. Seems more economical that way of looking at it. Paper is the most important thing so worth getting the good stuff. Also I like to take advantage of sales and coupons to help further save.
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Old 10-13-2012, 09:26 PM
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virgil carter virgil carter is offline
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Re: Canson Watercolor Paper

Marcus, what they said!

Usually best prices for artist-grade, 100% cotton paper is from the online Internet art retailers. Many have periodic sales and free shipping (sometimes tied to a minimum order).

Find affordable artist-grade 140 lb, cold press and stick with it. There are various manufacturers and lots of threads here about "favorite" papers.

Good luck!
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:14 PM
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Re: Canson Watercolor Paper

Hi Marcus... making decisions about your materials as an emerging artist is really difficult...

Here in Ontario, the Curry's Art Store regularly sells their paper as a loss leader. Their store brand, which is identical to Saunders Waterford, is 200# paper priced at about $4 a sheet... Arches 140# paper usually sells on sale for about $5...

Or, I can order it online and they'll absorb the shipping costs if my Order is greater than $75. Considering that the store is an hour from my home, I'll spend about $40 in gas to get there and back!

Buying 10 or 20 sheets at a time is pretty daunting... But, if you try a sheet of this or a sheet of that until you can make an informed decision, it's not really a huge expense.
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:16 PM
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Re: Canson Watercolor Paper

Quote:
Originally Posted by hblenkle
I use Arches 140 lb. CP. I use both sides using a quarter sheet. So one full sheet I get 8 paintings. Some peoplle even use 1/8 sized sheets so they get 16 panting from one full sheet. Seems more economical that way of looking at it. Paper is the most important thing so worth getting the good stuff. Also I like to take advantage of sales and coupons to help further save.

Some others say brushes or paints are more important but i say paper is when i remember one cheap Canson what i used. and second thing is brushes.
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Old 10-14-2012, 06:21 AM
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painterbear painterbear is offline
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Re: Canson Watercolor Paper

Hi Marcus,
I agree with what has already been said about the importance of a good paper. Unfortunately, from my personal experience with Canson, it doesn't fit the bill. I advise my beginner students NOT to buy Canson but to watch for better brands when they go on sale.

Using sheets as described above makes them economical vs blocks which tend to be expensive and not as easy to divide (unless you take them apart first and thus defeat the purpose for buying them).

Check out the Watercolor Handbook section on Papers for lots of interesting discussions about various brands.

Sylvia
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Old 10-14-2012, 04:30 PM
PainterTyer PainterTyer is offline
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Re: Canson Watercolor Paper

Thanks for all of your insight.

LauraD: That's what I was afraid of, having to relearn brush and paint application techniques with a better quality paper. Maybe I'll just use the Canson for tonal sketches and for pencil/ink sketching on location. Should be OK for this, huh?

I like your idea Hblenkle. I did buy some 300 lb Imperial sized Arches pure white CP paper. No need to stretch this but I will definitely cut it into smaller sizes and use both sides.

Virgil: I'll search for that thread. I'll take your advice and find a paper that I like, or likes me, the best!

CharM: I agree. I'll selectively buy different brands and go from there. Those are some good prices for paper at Curry's.

JPQ: I have decent brushes, but I am wondering if upgrading to 100% sable brushes (whatever these are) at some future point is worth it.

Painterbear: I'll search for the section. I do have a 1/4 imperial sized Arches block paper, 140 lb. CP. It will buckle somewhat when used "on the block".

The consensus is "no" to Canson and "yes" to better paper. It's really not an affordability issue with me so I'll direct my WC spending habits on better paper and less on other materials. Thanks again.

Marcus
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Old 10-14-2012, 06:00 PM
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painterbear painterbear is offline
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Re: Canson Watercolor Paper

Marcus,

Go to The Watercolor Handbook and scroll down through the list until you come to the section called *WATERCOLOR PAPER AND OTHER SUPPORTS*. That is where you will find lots of threads talking about the different kinds and brands of watercolor papers and what people think about them.

Check out the Loew-Cornelle taklon watercolor brushes. They have the feel of a sable and cost less than $20 for the largest size. Great value for the money.

Sylvia

The link to The Watercolor Handbook is at the top of The Learning Zone or in my signature line.
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Old 10-14-2012, 06:51 PM
M.L. Schaefer M.L. Schaefer is offline
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Re: Canson Watercolor Paper

I agree with what was said above! Brushes, we can make do without expensive sables...paint, as long as it's artist's grade, we don't have to buy the most expensive. But, ah, paper. I know it has been a struggle for me to find just the right paper! And, I continue to try new papers. Paper is the bug-a-boo for many of us. Many, many of us!

But, please, try some artist's grade, it doesn't have to be the most expensive, but something that you can truly learn with and improve with. I've heard say that you should also use the best artist's grade for even your study and practice work...I agree! BUT, many of us are hampered by expense, and I do use a lower grade artist's paper for much of my study work. I found a lower cost paper that "mimics" my expensive paper to a high degree. And that makes me quite happy! (VERY happy, actually!)

Kiwi
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Old 10-14-2012, 06:55 PM
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Re: Canson Watercolor Paper

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharM
Hi Marcus... making decisions about your materials as an emerging artist is really difficult...

Here in Ontario, the Curry's Art Store regularly sells their paper as a loss leader. Their store brand, which is identical to Saunders Waterford, is 200# paper priced at about $4 a sheet... Arches 140# paper usually sells on sale for about $5...

Or, I can order it online and they'll absorb the shipping costs if my Order is greater than $75. Considering that the store is an hour from my home, I'll spend about $40 in gas to get there and back!

Buying 10 or 20 sheets at a time is pretty daunting... But, if you try a sheet of this or a sheet of that until you can make an informed decision, it's not really a huge expense.

If you buy full sheets, how do you cut it? Do you have a paper cutter that handles large sizes or do you use a scissors?
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Old 10-14-2012, 06:57 PM
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GeorgieB GeorgieB is offline
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Re: Canson Watercolor Paper

While in Maine this last summer, I bought a pad of Canson Watercolor Paper/XL for a super low price, around $5 for an 8 1/2 x11 pad of 20 or 25 sheets (I forget exactly). And found that it's worth just about that.

I usually use Arches in the studio, Strathmore 140lb sketchbooks for plein air and thought that the Canson would be useful for watercolor scenes. But the pigments did not seem to penetrate the paper, and actually looked 'blotchy' when painting washes. So I gave up on using it for watercolor paints, but found it worked fairly well for ink and watercolor pencils.

Other than that, it was a waste of money.
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Old 10-14-2012, 07:00 PM
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Re: Canson Watercolor Paper

I hate Canson paper, even Montval. I use what I have for color charts. I am only a beginner but I can tell bad paper right away. I just posted something in the Learning Zone a few minutes ago about my experience today with cheap paper. No more!
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Old 10-14-2012, 07:07 PM
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hblenkle hblenkle is offline
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Re: Canson Watercolor Paper

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Izy2gzlua_A

I fold and tear my 140 lb. CP Arches watercolor sheet into half or quarter sheet. I have a couple 300 lb. and folded and cut, but if you have a problem with the stiffness of the paper just mark with a ruler and pencil and cut with heavy duty scissors.
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Old 10-14-2012, 07:12 PM
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PaintDoodles PaintDoodles is offline
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Re: Canson Watercolor Paper

Quote:
Originally Posted by hblenkle
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Izy2gzlua_A

I fold and tear my 140 lb. CP Arches watercolor sheet into half or quarter sheet. I have a couple 300 lb. and folded and cut, but if you have a problem with the stiffness of the paper just mark with a ruler and pencil and cut with heavy duty scissors.

Thank you. I think from now on I will buy full sheets and tear/cut into the size I want. I think you get the best price for good paper this way.
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