Thursday, August 4, 2016


Sharing different water media painting surfaces...

There are countless materials to use for watercolors, acrylics and mixed media. I have been enjoying the variety over the last number of years, each surface giving a different result. As I remind my students, “Change one thing and it changes everything.” There are so many choices that I can only scratch the surface on this topic. There are never ending additions to products on the market to keep us experimenting to find our favorites.

In my studio I have a large variety of materials to choose from that are of the best quality I can purchase. Some brands are not as good as others. I constantly research and test different materials to find what I like best for the creative process, as well as the products that have longevity and archival properties for the painting.

Here is a short list of some of my favorites. 

Painting on Watercolor Papers 

  • Arches or Winsor Newton Watercolor paper weight 140lb or 300lb cold pressed, hot pressed, and rough are among my favorites, by the sheet 22”x30”or by the roll. These are very durable and can be for watercolor alone or mixed media. 
  • Fabriano Artistico- cold pressed, hot pressed, soft and rough 140lb or 300lb 
  • Lanaquarelle- cold pressed, hot pressed, and rough 140lb or 300lb 
  • Saunders Waterford -cold pressed, hot pressed, and rough 140lb or 300lb 
  • Arches Watercolor Blocks – cold pressed, hot pressed and rough, weight 140lb- 300lb 
  • Yupo synthetic paper – I prefer the 74lb or 144lb 
  • Masa Rice paper- I mount Masa rice paper on Arches watercolor paper at different stages in the painting process

(Arches watercolor paper,arches watercolor block, absorbent ground (pear image) gold gesso canvas, watercolor paper mounted (tulip) claybord, aquabord (rose). )

Painting Information -What I don’t use for my paintings
My painting education, my time and outcome are worth using best materials for best results.
So, I only use sketch pads for sketching ideas, …never to test my watercolors. I do not use any of the watercolor pads or sketch books that state they are for watercolor, which tear off or snap off a tablet or pad. They are generally a lower quality than my sheets or blocks of paper. I test paint colors on the same kind of paper on which my original will be created on.

Painting on canvas
I prefer a quality gessoed canvas over the canvases professionally made for watercolor. To prepare the regular canvas for watercolor I use Absorbent Ground from either Golden or Daniel Smith and paint it on the surface. I apply several coats. Gesso in white, black, gold or other colors work well for a primed surface for acrylic or mixed media.

Wood Painting Panels and Cradled Wood Boards
Wood panels can be flat or cradled with a profile edge of ½” to 3”. I like 1 ½ and deeper for the profile edge so they can sit on a shelf or hang when finished. The panels can be painted on or mounted with watercolor paper.

Ampersand Aquabord or Claybord Yes, Ampersand spells both products as shown! 
Wood panels flat or cradled with 3/4” to 2” profile that have a clay surface. Aquabord is textured and Clayboard is smooth . I use these for watercolor as well as mixed media.

I enjoy watching artists in my workshops create on many of these and other surfaces. I hope this inspires you to try something new as well. Paint on…Linda 

-As seen in the August 2016 edition of the IWS Newsletter. 
Copyright Linda Aman

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