For quite a while I have been fielding questions and listening to various watercolor painters who were /are venting their frustration about a very well known French brand of watercolor paper. In 140 lb as well as 300 lb weight, painters are complaining about D’Arches buckling before, during and after painting. In some cases it has buckled even while it was been stapled down. Many are experiencing buckling while it is still in the pack and after it has been mounted, allowed to dry and then removed for matting. The manufacturer’s specialists have offered various suggestions. So far none of the suggestions apply.
I always love the way solutions often present themselves. A few day ago an old friend called and while we were catching I brought up current paper and brush woes. Joe offered a possibility. I have 15 watercolor students in my Spring semester watercolor class. Joe Miller, most of you know about Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff, proposed a test. I readily agreed. I provided each student, most of whom were frustrated with the buckling paper, with a sheet of a new paper that was also 140lb. cold press.. I did not reveal the name to them. I just told them that I wanted them to try this new paper. Immediately I got questions about the name of the paper, etc. I replied that I would answer all of their question but first I wanted them to paint on the paper and give me their opinions. All of them began to paint. It was interesting that some of them felt of the paper and said “Hey” this is really good paper isn’t it?” I withheld my responses until AFTER they had finished layering and splashing washes. Everyone was very happy with the paper.The interesting thing from a teaching standpoint was the respect they gave these new sheets. They began to develop sketches saying I want to do something really special on a piece of paper like this.
Now they know:
Yesterday, after a couple of days with the new paper, I answered all of their questions and they know that the mystery paper is Kilamanjaro. This is a proprietary paper made for Cheap Joe by the Fabriano Company in Italy. I had said before that it was good paper. Now we have an entire class that is sold on the product. Joe it looks like you hit a home run!
Here are some of their collective comments:
1. No one disliked the paper.
2. Everyone liked the clean white appearance of the sheet.
3. All students liked the “feel” of the paper and its ability to take color.
4. Almost all exclaimed that it did not buckle.
5. The paper held up with every technique that was tried.
No one mounted the sheet in any way. Some worked large areas of wash while others used multiple glazes. That is quite a feat for 140 lb. (300 gsm) paper. One student did soak his paper briefly and then laid it down on his board. It worked nicely and stayed flat.
So if you are looking for a solution to your paper worries check out Kilamanjaro from Cheap Joe’s