Fluid 100—An All Cotton Watercolor Paper

April 13, 2015

150404_BlackModelBLeft: Gouache painting on Fluid 100 cold press paper. A black actress who popped up in a TV show I was watching. I couldn't resist stopping to sketch her regal head. I think she was going to die in a few minutes in the story line, but I got interrupted and wasn't able to watch the rest of the show. No black paint—just mixed neutrals. Schmincke Horadam and M Graham gouache.

A couple months ago I learned that Fluid was coming out with a 100 percent cotton rag watercolor paper. So when I saw some in the store I bought a couple packages (it was on sale at an introductory price I don't even recall).

I've painted on it a couple times since then. The only things I've posted are today's image and this portrait of a woman with light washes of gouache.

I began today's sketch with a light pencil sketch of the large shapes in the face—not much more than a sort of contour drawing.

I dove into developing the face too quickly and needed to paint over the profile edge with dark background which I then lightened up with a lighter layer of paint. I like the edge that I left. (Maybe that's my way of compensating for having no Pentel Pocket Brush Pen lines to paint over like I usually do.) 

I was working with paint already out on my palette so there is a lot of helio blue and cobalt blue here. All the blacks are mad mixing complementary colors. I added the green tones on a whim when a color mixture didn't turn out as expected and I decided to push it  even further.


Left: Detail of today's image.

I think you can see the texture of the paper, especially at the edges of the background near the time and date.  

I meant today to write a more comprehensive review of this paper, but I can't find my notes. I will say this, unless you are getting this paper at a deep discount and you're unhappy with the paper you're already using I wouldn't purchase this paper.

Don't misunderstand me. It's a good paper. It may even be better than the paper you are using (but you see that would come under the "I'm unhappy with the paper I'm already using category"). I just didn't find that this paper stood out in any remarkable way. 

I know I will enjoy painting on the rest of it that I have on hand, but I found it was a somewhat grumpy paper to work on. All over you can see little flecks of the white paper showing through the paint. That's because the paint wouldn't smooth over the surface it as easily as on other cold press papers I've used. 

I haven't done any scrubbing on this paper, but it does take lots of layers if you allow drying in between applications (we are talking only 60 seconds of waiting—which you can do while working on another area of the painting).

You can see in the detail image where I reworked the profile negative space. It was mostly here that I felt let down by the paper. It felt as if the sizing of the paper had all been scrubbed away with very little action.

I also felt when laying in watery washes in the beginning of my painting process that the wet washes didn't move as smoothly across the surface as they do on other watercolor papers I really enjoy.

I may still come to love this paper for other characteristics, but right now I'm just suggestion caution as you move forward. The list price is at least as much as some of the other watercolor papers I use so there isn't an incentive to buy this sheet at its regular price at this point for me.

I was going to fold and tear one of the sheets, and if that went well I was going to bind a book with my remaining sheets.

I'll let you know how that goes and keep you posted as I paint on more of this. I just wanted to give you a heads up to proceed slowly.

As to how it works compared to other Fluid papers that are not 100 percent rag, you can search my blog for Fluid Watercolor Paper, for other posts but this link will take you to one and link some others. For me the non-100 percent cotton paper has always been such a good buy that I've used it quite a lot. It's very fun to work with a variety of pens on either the cold or hot press versions of that paper. Don't assume that because you like their non-100 percent rag papers that you'll love this paper. Just get a couple sheets and test slowly.

  1. Reply

    Thanks for all the great information!

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