Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Successes and experiments

After a few days off I had the best day ever at the studio for sales. Painting was not that successful. But I did do an interesting experiment.

I am often asked why its important to use good quality paper and why cheap paper is not ok. I find it hard to be specific as I haven't used anything but good quality paper for years, and to be honest, I couldn't really be sure it wasn't just my inexperience and bad technique when I last used it, that was as fault. After all how bad can it be??? So off I went and bought some cheap, watercolour paper from a hight street store.

It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be .........

..........It was a lot lot worse

I wanted to see a true comparison, so I stretched 2 pieces of the same weight paper. straight away I had problems as the cheaper paper did not want to dry.
I then wet the paper to do a wet on wet background. I used 4 colours and mixed up enough to do both pieces. I splogged them on, then when it was still wet. I splattered paint to get a spotting effect. I then left it to dry. The colour sat happier on the more expensive paper and so dried, brighter and more vibrant, but the cheaper paper, just seemed to absorb all the colour and the green seemed to completely disappear before my eyes. Also as I splogged the paint, the surface of the cheaper paper seemed to lift and there was bits of paper peeling off and sitting on the top of the paint.
I then used a leaf from outside and covered it with paint to print onto the paper with it.

I thought the printing was better on the cheaper paper as it seemed to be a crisper print, but as it dried it didn't hold its form as well and started to look a bit blurred.
I then finished with a splatter of dry paint with a hard brush, the better quality paper ended up with little individual drops, but the other paper, had bigger longer dots as they joined together as the paper seemed to stay wet for a massive amount of time.

So I am sure by now you can see which was which, I know the photos aren't that good, but just in case you don't know, the bottom one is the cheaper paper and to be honest, it now looks like a bit of tatty old kitchen paper, it has lost its shape and never dried flat regardless of stretching it. I also couldn't cut it to neaten up the edges, as it just kept ripping.

So lesson learnt and I have the samples to now show people.

Now Another Meet the neighbour.

Ka Designs specialises in hand crafted jewellery and Luna clay flowers. Using Stones and agates to create a beautiful range of bespoke jewellery.

Ka makes the jewellery and her husband helps look after their beautiful baby daughter and the studio.

You can see details here

Some of the paintings are from Greg one of the other Artist on site


  1. Really interesting examples. I have always disliked attempting to paint with watercolours, it may be because I am pretty heavy handed, but maybe it is the paper. Oh yes, that sounds much better :) If I was to dabble again, what paper would you suggest?

  2. My personal choice is Bockingford 300gsm NOT (cold pressed) finish, but that thickness is a bit of overkill, Cotmans is a good mid range and 190 gsm should be fine. Hot pressed paper is great for detail and rough is great if you are very expressive and like lots of texture

  3. It's always great to have an experiment though, right? so you know what works and what doesn't =]
    Interesting post


  4. There is quite a big difference, so in this case you really do get what you pay for!
    I stopped using cheaper compatible inks for my printer after some photos I'd printed went all yellow/green faded after about a year. Photos I printed with proper Epson inks are still fine more than 10 years on...

  5. Thank you Janice! I always wondered what the differences, in the different types of paper were :) I have made a note, so when I get round to it, I will know what I am looking for :) Much appreciated, thank you! x

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