Watercolor Gate and testing watercolor paper

A few days ago we woke up to temperatures in the 20’s but today it is in the mid 70’s!  That’s how it is in northwest Florida. And because of the beautiful temperatures I am still in springtime mode with watercoloring.

I am really such a beginner at watercoloring, and while stamps help I struggle to control the water, often ending up with just blobs of color.  My craft room contains many different brushes, several different brands of watercolor paint and a variety of watercolor paper.  All range from the very cheap to the more expensive.  The biggest impact in helping me do better however is the type of watercolor paper.  I’ve found that the better quality paper will allow better control of the colors and blending.  Here is my unscientific test of two brands of watercolor paper.

The stamps are all from Art Impressions.  I used the same stamps, same brand of water based markers (although in slightly different colors) but two different watercolor papers. Here is what I used – the unfinished card on the left uses Artist Touch, the finished card on the right uses Saunders.

Artist Touch Watercolor (the small blue tablet) – 140 lb weight cold press made in China.  Twelve 4 x 6 sheets for $2 at Hobby Lobby (before coupons, taxes etc). Aside from the price I choose this because it is a nice bright white color and most watercolor papers are more off white.

Saunders Waterford – 140 lb cold press, 100% cotton made in England.  A block of twenty 12 x 9 sheets for about $30 at Dick Blick. I purchased this based on the recommendation from an online watercolor class I took.

The results?  While I like the bright white of the Artist Touch paper, I found it difficult to work with.  Even the smallest amount of water would spread the color around quickly.  I ended up throwing away two pieces before I was able to get one I was reasonable happy with. I was able to work much longer with color with the Saunders paper.  The card on the right with the Saunders paper was my first try – so there was no waste.

About the cost…while the Saunders paper is more expensive, let me break it down to what it costs for a 4 x 6 piece.  The Artist Touch paper breaks down to about $.17 per 4 x 6 sheet.  With Saunders, breaking down the price of the block of twenty 12 x 9 sheets works out to about $.38 per 4 x 6 piece.  While Saunders ends up being about double, I think $.38 for a card front is well worth it.  And I had no waste when I used this brand.

Now, I think the less expensive brands have a place in my craft room – I will use them for practicing and testing colors.  I also like using watercolor paper as card bases and using the cheaper versions will work just fine for this purpose.

Thanks for stopping by today.