Do you have a favorite watercolor paper? I’ve had several, and lately, I love Strathmore Plate Finish Bristol paper. The surface is hot pressed, and sized, so it’s slippery-smooth, and luminous under the pigments, and it’s perfect for lifting watercolor. When I paint at art festivals, watercolor artists strolling the shows frequently ask about the paper I’m using, and they usually reply that they’ve never heard of bristol plate finish. When I ask what they use if they want the option to lift color, the unanimous answer is that they just don’t. Well, I make lots o’ mistakes, kids, so I Do. Lift. Often. #powerlifter Plus, I like to lighten & “bling” parts here and there as a last step in the painting.
Paper selection has a huge impact on all art-making; drawing, painting, printmaking, etc. And within each media, the materials you choose (EX: for drawing – if you use pencil, vs conte crayon, vs charcoal) will attach to/release from each type of drawing paper with so much variation, it’s worth the time to do a little testing to find the surface that works best for your style. So, in watercolor, beyond the differences in each manufacturer’s pulp recipe, there’s cold press, hot press, rough, plate finish, weight, sized or unsized, hand or machine made, etc. Which ones have you tried?
I’ve posted a video (below) to demonstrate why I love plate finish and hot pressed papers, and how they differ from cold press and rough papers. If you don’t see the video window below, you can watch the clip on my youtube channel here.
You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.