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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Tools for Watercolor = part 2 of 4 The Tools


I feel silly writing about tools.
Hundreds of pages in watercolor books and site have already advised you on this subject; furthermore, the tools used by the best watercolorists have little to do with the qualities in their works.
The color and value chords of each painter, the way he divides space, where his interest lies in the gamut between illustration and decoration, would be his own even if he painted with a sponge and a shaving brush.
I work on the ground, seated on a small folding stool.
I have reasons for doing so.
It gives the same free arm swing the Orientals get painting on their knees, and the angle of vision at that distance encompasses all of my watercolor, so colors and thrusts can be related. But, no matter how much you like my pictures, if you have a big stomach, or are rather broad astern, you will not work on the ground from a small folding stool.
When I use a pencil, a 2-B makes a mark dark enough to be seen under a wash without furrowing the paper.
You may prefer a harder or softer pencil. I frequently draw directly with a goose quill, with a ballpoint pen, or with a brush.
A few people use charcoal. A few times on location will enable you to make your own decisions. I have reasons, however, for using the tools I do. I will give you my reasons.


There is no argument here. Tube colors are best.

Anything but one hundred percent all-rag paper makes a tough job tougher. 140 lb. is a good all around weight —heavy enough to permit corrections—and it can be used on the other side. I no longer mount paper, though I will tell you how to do it.
The cost in time and effort, and loss of paper at the edge is not compensated for by the elimination of an occasional bulge—which experience enables you to handle anyWay—and if you are fussy, use 300- or 400-lb. stock. I clip 140-lb. paper to a piece of Masonite, one strong clip at each corner. A bulge can be pressed out and the clips readjusted in a second.


Here is a stretching procedure for the half-size imperial sheet. Soak 140-lb. paper (completely immersed) in cold water for one-half hour; hold it perpendicular until most of the water has run off; lay paper on board one end down first, so that no air bubbles are underneath; take strips of gummed paper previously cut to the right length and measuring from two and one-half to three inches in width.
Fasten paper to board—about two inches on the board and one inch on the paper. The two inches on the board should be dampened with a sponge; the remaining one inch should go on paper dry—there is enough water on the wet paper. Now, with a hard, smooth tool (the back of a comb or a toothbrush) squeegee the water from under the gummed paper; then, with an absolutely clean sponge, absorb all the excess moisture from the paper, including the squeegeed gummed paper. This cuts drying time in half. For a full-size sheet, which has much greater drying tensions, reinforce first gummed paper with a second strip on all four sides, overlapping on the paper by about a half inch more. Keep paper horizontal while it is drying.
external site recommended shamelessly,how-to-stretch-watercolour-paper-introduction-to-watercolour-painting-part-4_5208.htm


More experienced watercolorists usually prefer cold press paper because subtler nuances of color can be obtained. The rough paper granulations being higher, they cast more shadow on colors, but make rough brushing on surf and close-up foliage a much simpler technical problem.


There are gains and losses involved in the use of any paper. Smooth paper has virtues, but its use requires greater technical ability. The novice will lose control of washes, and get dry edges where he does not want them, because he does not work fast enough. Brilliancy and subtlety of color, impossible on rougher paper, are two of the merits of cold press and hot press, there being none of the shadows cast by the rougher stock. If you want more "tooth" to the hot press paper, wet it to raise the fiber, then let it dry.

Re-wet to work. 

A good time to start painting is when it begins to lose its glisten. "Lifts" on smooth stock are very successful. Use a clean, damp brush. Effects can be obtained by tilting the paper. For a real dark, use thick body color. Clean water in still moist areas gives a nice, textured watermark.

Glued on four edges, the wet, expanding paper has nowhere to go but up, creating undulations in which control of washes is lost.

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