Saturday, October 20, 2012

My first experience with hot-pressed paper

Iris, Arches HP paper, 40 x 53 cm
When I painted a similar iris a month ago I wasn't happy with the jagged background. I have been wanting to redo the painting with a wet-in-wet background in which the colors smoothly fuse one into the other. For some reason I had the impression that the hot-pressed paper is ideal for that. I had never used it, but in the books they say that "it is ideal for large even washes". Well, that turned out to be the worst choice for wet-in-wet work. Its smooth, almost glossy, surface is not absorbent. The water just sits on top, waiting to run in whatever direction the paper tilts. Once some water does soak in though, the paper buckles and turns into a varied landscape of hills, valleys, rivers and lakes. So, I did not get the background I wanted, but I did learn something.

With the remaining paint I decided to try to do just a wash. This time I did not tape the paper, but soaked it wet and laid it on a plexiglass surface. Then I poured the different paints and tilted the surface a bit in different directions. Some colors fused nicely. But the sedimentary green and brown pigments just sat on top. When I think of watercolor and why I like it, the first thing that comes to mind is the wet-in-wet work, and hot-pressed paper is very unsuitable for that. It feels like the right choice for technical drawings. Maybe one day I'll find some use for it, but for now I'll stick to the rougher cold-pressed.

wash of colors poured over wet hot-pressed paper

16 comments:

Judy said...

The irises do look beautiful although it's not the background you wanted! And the wash looks great too, I see a fern leaf in it. But I know how frustrating it is to work on paper that does not do what you want. I never used HP paper though, and I think I won't. ;)

Rita Vaselli said...


Dear Blaga both lovely works! I love your wet background !!!
I work on cold pressed or "not"paper.
The Hp is difficult for use,to me, wet-on-wet.Some painters do it with blossoms that incorporate(also lovely) in their composition...
Happy Sunday and happy painting!

JOAN SERINYA said...

Estupendas acuarelas, Blaga!! He descubierto tu blog y me hago seguidor para disfrutar de tu Arte; con tus acuarelas llenas de delicadeza y encanto. Un cordial saludo y buen domingo!

Blaga said...

Thank you for the nice comment, Judy! I thought it may be useful to share my experience, although it seems one doesn't learn until one tries :)

Thank you, Rita! I am also going to stick to my usual cold pressed for now. Well, I still have some rough paper to try...

Muchas gracias Joan, y bienvenidos a mi blog!

Eva de dueñas said...

Que bonitos iris. Me encanta el humedo sobre humedo. La pintura abstracta me parece espectacular tambien. Felicidades.

Jane said...

You have done some playing with colors and paper, and even if the background of the Iris is not what you wanted the painting came out gorgeous, a really lovely flower.

Sonia Aguiar said...

Hola Blaga :) Son muy bonitos los efectos de color que has conseguido. Para mi es difícil trabajar en esta clase de papel y yo prefiero pintar en papel prensado en frío. ¡Un abrazo y feliz comienzo de semana!

Tito said...

Ciao Blaga, even if the paper was not the best, both works you did are really beautiful. The second one, say the abstract, in my opinion is a gorgeous painting, I like it. Have a good week!

renate said...

Hello Blaga:) I LOVE your iris! And the background is perfect with it. At least you try everything that's worth a lot!!

José Antonio Sánchez Rumí said...

Your great work, very well painted and very subtly.
Congrats.
Greetings.

Lydie said...

C'est toujours assez déstabilisant de changer de papier. J'en fais l'expérience assez souvent et je te dirais qu 'il faut un petit temps d'adaptation. Tous ne se travaillent pas de la même façon, ensuite quand tu connais bien les différences, tu peux choisir le support en fonction du sujet.
Tes iris blancs sont très beaux.)

Floriana Quaini said...

Ciao Blaga,
bellissimi lavori!
Il primo morbido e poetico e il secondo, voluto o no è riuscito come
un astratto molto bello!
Ciao, abbracci, Floriana

Sharon Whitley said...

how frustrating for you but a learning curve all the same - I love wet in wet as well so will steer clear of hot pressed paper! Having said that I love the results, the irises are really beautiful and even though it may not be the background you were aiming for it works beautifully, I really like it!

Liana Yarckin said...

Blaga, I love the results of wet into wet on cold press paper. I have tried hot press a handful of times, but, not with success. Also, it is interesting to study and remember how the colors mix. I love ultramarine blue and scarlet lake when they mix on wet paper.

Mercedes Ares said...

Hola BLAGA. Unos iris incomparables y muy buena la experiencia en papel prensado en caliente. Dos bellas obras!!!

Maria Emilia Moreira said...

Estes íris estão um encanto. Parabéns pelo trabalho.Uma 1ª experiência fantástica,Blaga!Abraços.
M. Emília