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Old 11-19-2007, 07:26 PM
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MickeyJayne MickeyJayne is offline
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Question too late to flatten paper?

Bear with me, I've just begun with watercolors in the last year or so, and don't know anyone else in "real life" who does them, so I may have a few questions that seem silly.
I work overnights, and try to draw or paint at work when I have the time - just for learning purposes. My hubby got me a set of W&N paints and I've been trying to just learn the properties of each one, how they handle etc, so that I have a basis in my head of what to reach for for what. Well, I was working on just a basic learning 'sketch' out of a cheap tablet of watercolor paper that I keep in my purse - didn't stretch it or anything first as it was to simply be a quick practice session - but I'm loving how the painting is turning out. When I've had it out drying at work I've gotten more than a few "Wows" over it. I'm pretty sure it's the best painting I've done in wc's so far.
So, is there any way to stretch it now? Because of course the paper is all warped and buckled. I've only been able to work on a small section at a time, so it hasn't gotten in the way of painting it so far, but I was thinking of doing a wash for the background and I don't want it to pool all over or, heaven forbid, slide over onto my painting!

Also, have a show coming up in the area that I've been trying to use as motivation to actually finish something - saying that I can get this flattened out, without wrecking it - would the cheap paper be obvious to 'real' artists? I really don't want to get giggled at if I submit it. The paper is from Office Max, it doesn't even have a weight or type (hot/cold press) listed on it, though it does say "Acid Free". I have nice, Arches, paper at home - this was just something to tote around in my purse.
Thanks! I've been lurking for the last year or so, but now that I've started posting I'm sure I'll have many more questions to come!
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Old 11-19-2007, 07:40 PM
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Celeste McCall Celeste McCall is offline
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Re: too late to flatten paper?

You might want to try this:

Get a board of some kind to clip the painting to. Make sure the board is big enough for the whole paper to be on it. Then, get one or two bulldog type of clips.

Then put the board on an easel.
Clip the very top edges of the 'face down' painting (white side looking at you...not the painted side) with the bull dog clip/s.
Then get a large sponge and wet the whole back of the painting scrubbing back and forth with the sponge.
Don't let the sponge be dripping all over the place...but wet enought to wet the entire back fo the painting being very careful to not get any water near the very top edge which would allow for the water to drip down on the 'painted side' of the painting.!
Let dry for 2 hours. Hopefully it will be flat after that.

I have also misted (with a fine mist-er) over the front (painted side) of a painting (lying flat on a table) and let it get almost damp all over....then let it dry. That has worked for me too but I wouldn't do that on a valueable painting.

I have only done this to Arches papers. It may not work on others.



If you are worried about ruining it...then take it to someone who has a vacumn/mist 'un-cockling' machine/rack...not sure what it's called exactly. That will cost about $300+ but for a wonderful painting it could be worth it.
This is how the experts who do museum restorations of watercolors would do it.

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Old 11-19-2007, 09:24 PM
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Dale Ziegler Dale Ziegler is offline
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Re: too late to flatten paper?

When I have a panting with bumps and buckles , I wet the back with a moist sponge , then put it beween two towels and weight it down with something flat ( a drawng board and books) over nite. will be perfectly flat in the morning.
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Old 11-19-2007, 10:11 PM
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Emme2 Emme2 is offline
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Re: too late to flatten paper?

Hi, MickeyJane, congrats on painting something that you like and want to save! Always a wonderful feeling, but intimidating too. I've always used wc paper, but the following steps will hopefully work for your paper.

I think I would try to flatten the paper first using Dale's method - just mist the back of the painting, it doesn't have to be really wet. Then place a paper or cloth towel on underneath and on top of the painting with painted side down. Make sure the area where you are placing the painting is dry and flat. Place heavy books or something similar on top to cover the entire painting and then let dry over night.

Check to make sure its dry (it shouldn't feel cool/damp to your touch). Once dry, I would take it and tape it to a good stiff board (foam, gator, etc.) Tape just about a quarter of an inch in. If you have it, use a good quality masking tape or artist tape (usually white). Don't use painter's blue masking tape - it probably won't hold! If you don't saturate your paper with a heavy wet wash, you should be able to get your background in.

If you need to do a heavy wash, mist the backside of your painting again, and tape it down using a dry cloth to press out any air bubbles to the side. You may also need to staple about every two inches to make sure it stays flat. Let this dry, then paint your background. You'll have to mat out the area with the tape and/or staples, but you'll be able to finish your painting.

Hope this works and I hope you post the finished product! Good luck!! ~ Emme
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Old 11-20-2007, 01:01 AM
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laudesan laudesan is offline
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Re: too late to flatten paper?

I iron mine always have done.

It is easy.

Just put a white cloth ( bed sheet in my case) down on a flat surface. Place your painting face down on the cloth and get a clean tea towel dampen it - wring it out well - place it over the back and iron. Don't use the steam function..

Cheers JJ
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Old 11-20-2007, 03:28 AM
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Re: too late to flatten paper?

Hi MickeyJane .. I'm MickeyJoe !!! You have gotten good advice. No more that I can add.
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Old 11-20-2007, 05:21 AM
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Re: too late to flatten paper?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaleZiegler
When I have a panting with bumps and buckles , I wet the back with a moist sponge , then put it beween two towels and weight it down with something flat ( a drawng board and books) over nite. will be perfectly flat in the morning.


Just what I do, wanted to say hi and welcome to WetCanvas! and to ask you not to forget to take a photo of your work and post it in the gallery when you have finished
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Old 11-20-2007, 05:46 AM
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Re: too late to flatten paper?

Hi Mickey Jane,
Welcome to Wet Canvas and the wonderful medium we love here in the Watercolor Forum.

Glad you have something happening with your painting that you like so much.

I do as recommended ^^^ when I want to flatten a painting before framing. Place it painting side down on a waterproof surface, spray or sponge with clear water on the unpainted side. Sponge off excess water, cover with a second board, weight it down with heavy books and let it dry overnight. In the morning it will be nice and flat, ready for framing.

Once you have your painting matted and framed under glass, I don't think the paper you used will matter.

As Kev said, do take a photo before putting it under the glass though so you can show us your lovely work of art here.

Since you are a newcomer to watercolor, you might want to check out some of the links in my signature line, especially the Twenty Most Frequently Asked Questions one. There is a lot of good solid info there.

Sylvia
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Old 11-20-2007, 07:52 AM
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MickeyJayne MickeyJayne is offline
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Re: too late to flatten paper?

Wow! So many responses! I've asked questions on other WC forums and had to wait a good week or so before I got a couple different responses! Thank you - I'll see what works to flatten it, and then tape it out on my board. You know, I know better than to use this cheap stuff too (it was WC paper - but with no type or thickness labelled, from Office Max, you know it's not going to be that good). I have OCD, so I will work on one painting forever and ever if I can - which is why I switched to WC, with this medium I simply can't do that without wrecking it - It's a kind of therapy for me to just have to WORK with my mistakes. And I always use good stuff - drives my husband nuts - but that's because, undoubtedly, when I'm just messing around and not trying so hard is when things actually turn out! But my nice paper was getting ruined lugging it around with me, so I got this stuff. It really did work fine - if I had stretched it at all it probably would have been perfect, again because of how 'cheap' and lightweight it was, I was afraid to rework much, and that's the only way I really finish anything!

Anyway, thank you! I'm really looking forward to interacting more with this community. I honestly have NO real life artist friends anymore - our small town is fairly 'artsy' but all the artists seem to be really young and at the university, or middle-aged, kids have finally left home and they have time to work ---- and I'm just in the middle, struggling to do it with kids crawling at my feet and my 12 year old shrieking about how unfair everything is! I also work full time. Maybe there's a reason other people just wait, come to think of it!
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Old 11-21-2007, 10:27 AM
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CharM CharM is offline
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Re: too late to flatten paper?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roun2it
...wanted to say hi and welcome to WetCanvas! and to ask you not to forget to take a photo of your work and post it in the gallery when you have finished

*nodding* I agree with Kev...

Take a few minutes for yourself each day... stop by and interact with this HUGE community of artists...
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Old 11-21-2007, 12:24 PM
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Re: too late to flatten paper?

Welcome MickyJane
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Old 11-21-2007, 03:49 PM
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Laura D Laura D is offline
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Re: too late to flatten paper?

You've gotten really good acvice above. One thing you may want to consider is to make a small book of your own out of good paper. Kinko's will bind one for you. There is also a way to remake a Moleskin book but I'm not sure how. There is a thread here about it, do a search for moleskin and you should be able to find it easily.
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