Further exploration of smooth paper.

Having discovered a new love of Arches smooth paper, I’m working on controlling the pigments on this paper by viewing old paintings that didn’t work and reworking parts of them. Poppies are a subject I’ve worked on a number of times, often from reference photographs of blooms in our garden. This evening I started reworking an old version that had been painted far too timidly on Arches smooth. I’m much more comfortable with letting the pigments go to work on their own now that I have a better idea of how to deal with the smooth paper.

Oriental Poppies (watercolour WIP - dry)
Oriental Poppies (watercolour WIP – dry)

What I didn’t anticipate is how the colours in the shadows would blend and merge into a much lighter mid-toned green when they dried. I know that watercolours get lighter as they dry, and that pigments continue to merge for some time after they’ve been laid on the paper. But this was a dramatic difference.

Oriental Poppies (watercolour WIP - wet)
Oriental Poppies (watercolour WIP – wet)

So much so that I think I’m going to need to add a layer of glaze to the painting to get these lovely rich dark tones back. They do make the petals sing.

All part of the learning process.

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4 thoughts on “Further exploration of smooth paper.

  1. Interesting about the smooth paper Vandy, I just can’t get on with it at all. The colour mixing on the paper just doesn’t seem to happen in the same way and for me at least the at seems to dry faster? Don’t know if different makes of paper work differently and I have tried a few but can’t get results I like with any of them!

    1. I know what you mean, Judith. I tried and couldn’t get on with it for ages. Then I took a break and went back to it with a more relaxed approach which seems to be getting there. More work to be done though.

  2. Dear Vandy – this looks like you are having fun as well as learning. Thanks for the close up pictures – it really shows the difference in the background and the deeper colors you have achieved. Take care and have a great day.

  3. I really love Arches hot pressed paper and paint mostly with it. I find the colors stay more vibrant and I like using a lot of texture using granulation medium which seems to work better with this paper. I admire your poppy paintings – flowers are something I struggle with. I need more practice.

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