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A Word About Paper...


My mom, god bless her, loves my artwork and bought me some watercolor paper for Christmas. She went to the local art store and, at the direction of the salesperson, spent a mint.

One of the items she bought was watercolor canvas, a concept I'd never heard. It is essentially that: very thin canvas, supposedly designed to be used for watercolors. I've never tried it, and my initial thought was, "Gee, how does that stuff stand up to water??" But I figured I would give it a go in painting the guy and his plants.

Some of you have written to me and mentioned in the comments that you might try your hand at painting. As you can see, "watercolor canvas" can't even stand up to the most simple of washes. Watercolor canvas is an oxymoron and a product disaster. Unless you're hoping that your paintings turn out in 3-D relief, skip the farce of this "paper."

My recommendation: go for the 140 lb paper. I've been using Winsor & Newton paper, and it's fine. Use 300 lb for finished works that you want to hang somewhere. But steer clear of anything else.

It wasn't all wasted effort though... I'm getting better at drawing this guy and I'm strengthening my sense of how I want to paint this.


Read the whole story of "Gardener Kneeling"
Tags: painting
by Brett Rogers, 3/26/2005 11:32:35 PM


Hmmm..good advice. I have not tried watercolors and I am wanting to. Acrylics, also. My husband bought me a huge sheet of 140lb paper on accident the other day and it got the wheels turning for me as to what I want to paint. I think there is a freedom with watercolors that you just don't get with oils. I will most likely cut the paper down into some smaller sheets to try out before I work on a big piece. AND I LOVE THAT NEW ART BOX!!



Posted by The Artful Blogger, 3/28/2005 8:02:43 PM

I couldn't agree with you more. I won't use anything less than 140 lb paper any more, and 300 lb for when I'm serious about a subject. Good quality paper makes all the difference in the world. I'm probably going to start ordering it from the internet, however, because I don't like wondering how long paper's been sitting in a store collecting even the teeniest bit of moisture and finger oils from other people thumbing through.



Posted by klywood, 3/29/2005 9:01:11 AM

Oh, and one more thing... why is it that the best paper has to be made in France?!? Can we not produce something as good as Arches here in the USA? Just sayin'.



Posted by klywood, 3/29/2005 9:01:54 AM

I've never tried Arches, but your comments dovetail with others who've shared your opinion.

And ordering from the Internet - I never thought of that. That is a great point, Kris!



Posted by Brett Rogers (, 3/29/2005 5:37:53 PM

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