Friday, September 3, 2010

Tips for choosing the right paper to paint

Watercolor is an easy medium to paint with as it does not have the hassles of having to get a separate medium and mix it to the right consistency. You just have to dab water and start stroking on the paper. But a lot depends on the paper on which the painting is made. I have been painting with watercolors since my school days and have tried painting in many types of papers and I have seen how different and beautiful the painting can look when done on a good paper. So I thought I would write on the various choices of paper for your paintings.


1. Light and Heavy Weight Paper: Weight of the watercolor paper is measured in pounds/realm. Light weight papers are about 90 Pounds/realm and heavy weight papers weigh around 300 pounds/realm or more


2. Student grade Paper: These paper may look and feel similar textured to artist grade paper but are not made of the same quality. These  papers are the best for beginners. But, these are buffered with acid which means they will turn yellow with time.


3. Machine Pressed paper: These come in three varieties: Rough, Hot Pressed and Cold pressed


4. Rough Pressed paper: This type of paper has a rough texture as the name suggests. That it the texture is toothier and painting on this paper will give a grainy effect to the painting as water runs and settles into the indentations in the paper.


5. Hot Pressed Paper: Hot pressed papers are the smoothest and have an almost glossy finish. Paint runs well on this paper and doesn’t dry as fast as it does in a rough pressed or cold pressed paper. One can use this paper for paintings that require multiple washes.


6. Cold Pressed Paper: These are also called as ‘in-between paper’ as it is just in between the hot and rough pressed paper types. It is the most common type of paper that watercolor artists use. I use a cold machine pressed paper.


7. Handmade Paper: There is nothing like it if you can afford a handmade paper! These are made from cotton,flax and hemp and are characterized by their ragged edges. Depending on its fiber concentration and absorbing capacity, the effects of painting on them can be interesting and very different.