I would have sworn that I had already written a review of the Expression (100 percent cotton, cold press, 140 lb.) watercolor paper I’ve been testing.
I received a block of this paper at the same time that I received a block of the Harmony paper which is also 140 lb. and is acid free, light resistant, and “features extreme longevity” but isn’t 100 percent cotton).
I have been posting work from both watercolor blocks on the blog and on my Instagram account (@rozstendahl) so when I couldn’t find a post through my search engine I assumed I was confused.
What I discovered, instead, by poking around my hard drive (I’m so glad I tag my images with paper type) is that while I’ve posted images on both papers on Instagram the reviews were scheduled for October!
The hazards of déja vu when you organize posts so far in advance.
But after planning the review posts for October I painted this portrait and wanted to post it.
Today I’m going to say just a few words about Expression, the 100 percent cotton paper. Next time I’ll review the Harmony paper.
Typically I’m a fan of 100 percent cotton papers. I don’t feel that I’m the right person to review this paper—the texture is very pronounced, as you will see when you hit the image and view the blow up. Typically I use hot press papers. Because the texture is pronounced all my paintings on it have taken advantage of that texture with opaque applications of paint.
I can’t help myself. When I have textured paper I want to use that paper to highlight what the paint can do in layers on that texture.
In today’s image in the hat, you can see transparent washes. So if that’s the way you like to paint you can see how the paper looks with transparent washes there. (Also around the rim of the hat.)
This sketch was done with color pencil (raspberry) you can still see the lines around the hood. Then I went in to a very basic outline and added the features with direct brush painting. Sometimes I laid in transparent washes first so they would show through, but most of those washes have been covered.
I found the paper to be a big more draggy than I like for a transparent watercolor paper, another reason it was great for opaque paint treatments.
I also found that lifting on this paper wasn’t easy (see the right side of the hat; the paper is fine where I rubbed and blotted, but I didn’t get a crisp release of the color). Keep this in mind if you like to lift back color to regain your highlights.
If you’re looking to add a new 100 percent cotton paper to your options for transparent watercolor I’m sorry that I’m not going to be able to give you much information on this paper.
If instead, you love painting opaquely, whether with watercolor as I did here, or with gouache. I think that you’ll enjoy this paper.