Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Watercolor Stretching Boards

So I have been experimenting with different methods of stretching watercolor paper and have come back to the support that I originally had but was not using properly, isn't that always the way!

The first method I had tried was using the drawing board, soaking the paper and then taping it onto the board with the gum tape and then stapling to corners. While this was the most consistent method, it was also the most consistent with keep the paper smooth. The tape works well but is a real pain to get off the paper and board once the painting is completed. Later I found a foam board that worked very well for this but the tape was wrecking the board when I removed it.

I then tried to build myself a paper stretch, well I had my father-in-law build it...anyway, it worked very well. But, always a but, I found the texture of the paper so tight that it made the paper much rougher than I am used to. Which would be great for landscapes I am sure and very wet in wet painting. No matter how much water I threw down, the paper seemed to go back into shape and buckle very little.

Then I heard about foamcore or gatorboard and that you could just use 3M masking tape to tape the paper down and then peel it off. I tried a foam board that was 3/4" thick but was not dense enough so it warped the paper a bit, but still worked well. I was working very dray though and the tape still lifted off in areas. When the painting was finished, I misted the back lightly with filtered water and lay it between paper towel and foam boards and then weighted down with books for 2 days and the warps came out very nicely.

I then read, on the package, of the board that I had purchased years ago and had been using gum tape and heave duty staples on that if you just use regular office stapler, that is all you need. Of course it works like a charm :) It is just a dense foam core or gator board but it is all I could find in Canada locally. It is called Incredible Art Board and is available at Opus Art Store and can also be ordered online. I purchased the larger size for the full sheet of watercolor and used it for my latest commission and it was a pleasure to work with. Very light and sturdy which is really nice as I tend to move my paintings & drawings around alot when I work.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Stretching Watercolor Paper

I have been getting ready for a couple of exhibits and have perfected my process of stretching my watercolor paper so that I almost enjoy it. I have heard it is not necessary to stretch good quality paper 140lb paper, I am using Arches, but I find it gives me piece of mind to do it even if it does not need to be done! I have tried watercolor blocks twice but both times they buckle even with a wash that is not very wet, I don't use a huge amount of water so they should be able to withstand my washes...

I float the paper in a pan of filtered room temperature water for 45 seconds and then hold it from one corner until it stops dripping. I then tape each side with watercolor tape, 2 times, 1 piece overlapping the other for strength. I then give each corner a quick staple and wait for it to dry overnight.

I only have a few more pieces to do for my first exhibit I am preparing for and just discovered the perfect paper stretcher, not my opinion, that is it's name. It has been around for a long time so I do not know why I have not heard about it sooner as it seems to work quite well from reviews I have read. I found a video of it's description on uTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Z2zeS0oVi4 The guy, not sure if it is Ken Bromley, the creator is quite funny. So I am going to have to give it a whirl and see how it handles. It would be so nice not to have to muck with that sticky tape anymore. Not sure which is worse touching it wet, yuck, or scraping it off the board after the painting is finished.

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