Last week I purchased some new watercolour paper. And not just any pulp/cellulose paper, but 100% cotton paper. Some of the watercolour artists that I follow o youtube swear by this paper, and I thought I would see what they were talking about.

I knew that the paper was going to be expensive, but I was still a little shocked at how much more expensive than 'normal' watercolour paper they were. That is maybe also due to that I have become used to that almost all the artist material that I buy here in China is so much cheaper than back home, that I thought this would also be cheaper. And when I come to think about it, it probably still is much cheaper than back home. I have to check when I am back in Finland this summer.

The paper that I bought was Arches 100% cotton, one block with hot pressed sheets, and one block with cold pressed sheets. So far I have only tried the cold pressed paper, and it is quite different from cellulose paper.

I did find a local brand of cotton paper that was 10 times cheaper. So I bought that one as well so that I could make a comparison. I have now tried them both, and with this first attempt, I can not find any big differences between them. So I will, of course, buy the local brand while I am here. Then again, if I find out that the Arches paper is a lot cheaper here than back home, then I will buy a small stack to have when I leave China.

And I do understand what the watercolour artists are talking about now. It is a beautiful paper to paint on. It behaves totally different (in a good way), and it looks gorgeous. It does feel a little like I have to start learning watercolour all over again. Then again, some of the issues I had with watercolours, are now almost non-existent. First I thought I had a bad brand of paint, but I have now learned that having good quality paper is more important than having a good quality paint. I am using the Winsor and Newton Cottman watercolours, and they are a great set for when you are learning to paint in watercolour. They are, however, only a student grade paint. If I will continue to paint in watercolour and also start selling, then I would like to invest in watercolours like Daniel Smith or Scmincke (artist grade).

Back to the paper: I will continue using the cheaper cellulose paper for studies and sketches, but from now on I will use cotton paper when I paint my finished paintings.

The hot pressed paper is a very smooth paper with very little texture that I still have to try and paint on. The cold pressed paper is quite textured, and it literally soaks in the water and the paint, absolutely beautiful for layering!

Orchids. My first attempt at painting on the cotton paper. I learned that you do not need a lot of pigment to stain the paper. And it 'bleeds' very well and even. Easy to get the wonderful 'watercolour feel' to your painting.

Wagtail. This wagtail is from a photo I took last summer out by our summer cottage. Or a few summers ago. I don't remember. Anyway, he came every day to the same spot to keep a look out over his domains. Or maybe he just wanted to keep an eye on us invading his territory, I don't know. I got some great shots of him anyway.

After the other two, I decided to paint a seagull swimming in the water. I have quite a couple of great shots with this seagull I named Jonathan (after Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, a novel by Richard Bach) from our island. He came every day to see if we had any leftovers for him. He was fairly unafraid and came very close. I got some really nice closeups photos. Great to paint from.

My desk today.

Final result. The picture could be better, but it was already dark outside by the time I was done painting.

I'm quite excited to paint some more watercolours. So I will do just that!


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