Friday, May 21, 2010
"What does the poundage of paper represent", he asked.
Hmmm, "good question", I responded. "It refers to it's thickness, 300 being thicker than 140."
"But what does it actually mean?"
"Guess you have some research to do, huh?", he laughed.
"Yep." I rolled my eyes, thinking I may have gotten myself into more than I'd bargained for when I said I'd do this. So, lets get started... here's the lowdown on watercolor paper (and everything else!).
Holbein Paints are Japanese made. I chose them because of their extreme transparancy (see-through-ness), vibrancy (brightness) and color saturation (depth). They allow the artist to mix colors more freely without worrying about getting a muddy look to one's artwork. I was told, when I was using W&N watercolors, not to mix more than three colors together because if I did the hues I produced would be less clear and not as vibrant, they would take on a dusty or muddy appearance. I've never had that problem with the Holbein paints. There is so much pigment and brilliance to these watercolors that just seeing them as I add water inspires me to paint. They're like the clearest sunset, the most sparkling lake or the most brilliant gemstone. They're clarity & transparency make them a pleasure to work with. They have some really unique colors too, like Peacock Blue (a brilliant turquoise-y blue), Opera (a "flashbulb bright" pink) and Shadow Green (a black with a green undertone).
Island Blue, to choose my brushes. I can't afford the best, they run hundreds of dollars for each brush. They're made of things like Sable and Squirrel hair. My brushes are synthetic and moderately priced at $10- $50 each, depending on size. And about size... I have found that using larger brushes is easier. They hold more water and therefore you get a smoother application of paint. Mostly, I paint with a 10 or an 18 round brush (for 5x7" & 10x14" paintings, respectively). But as I move into larger sheets of paper I will move to my 30 round, any smaller would be a time waster.
And then there's water. Most watercolorists have BUCKETS of water around. For serious! Usually, instructors and books call for at least a 2 L bucket (that's 2 quarts to you Americans), usually 2 or 3!! Not me. I do it a different way. I had collected the large Kraft peanut butter containers for storing the small flowers I used to make for my wedding cakes. When I started painting, I just co-opted one of those, saved a small Kraft peanut butter jar too (after eating said peanut butter on my toast for 2 weeks.), and used those together. It works great. I have a 1L (32oz) water bottle that I pour, in small amounts, into the small peanut butter jar. When that's dirty it gets emptied into the large pb jar and can then be refilled from said water bottle. It sounds complicated, but actually prevents me from getting up all the time to change the water in the buckets. The best part is that when I'm done, one pb jar fits into another and there's lids!! So, no leaking or anything. Seriously, it works great.
Another thing, I don't stretch my paper. Ya, lazy again, plus, when I tried it, it didn't really make much difference. I prefer to use heavier paper and leave it natural. I don't even affix it to a board. I like being able to move it this way and that without the excess size of a foam-core board behind it. And if I get paint on the table? ... hey, I do have a tissue in my hand! ;o)
Well, that was the longest post ever, prolly waaaayyy too much information. :o) But, there you go. I'll be back soon with some cool art, and much less talking, I promise. Maybe the next post I should just be mute? Who the hell am I kidding? I couldn't be mute if my life depended on it!
Later Peoples. Just not too much later, K?
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- Jennifer McLean
- I'm a watercolor and mixed-media artist who blogs about her adventure in paint. Come visit me at JustAddWaterSilly.com. I also am a contributing editor for Featuring magazine, an international english language art magazine published quarterly. Previously I owned my own wedding cake business (for eight years) making designer wedding cakes decorated in handmade cold porcelain flowers. It was fun creating three dimensional real looking flowers as decorations but I really wanted to be a painter so when I moved I shut down the business. Now I paint, blog, write for Featuring and review good books for fun. It's a good life.
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