Greens, Grays, and Canson Heritage Watercolor PaperNovember 30, 2018
Tuesday I met up with a couple artist friends for lunch and afterwards we trekked across the street to Wet Paint, each with some art supply on our list.
For me I was picking up some white gouache to test.
Funny how that goes, I ended up sorting my paints when I got home and instead of testing the white gouache brands (something I had been planning) I looked at my Perylene Green and Green Gold paints.
My look was not exhaustive, but I put them here so you can have a peek.
Depending on how you have your monitor adjusted you might not be able to see accurately the differences that I see. You can see some notes on my swatches and also see my comments in the caption accompanying each chart. My favorites right now are the Schmincke pans. Partly it’s just that I have been using these pans a lot in the past year.
I purchased the Winsor & Newton tube colors because I wanted to compare it. I’ve been using Winsor & Newton in my sealed palette of fresh, soft paint, because it seems to be lasting longer that way without growing anything than the other brands I’ve used. I still in general prefer Daniel Smith paints, but that’s because I let them dry on my palette or make my own pans containing the dried tube paint because they rewet so nicely. But the last few times I’ve kept them fresh in a sealed palette things got moldy. I’ve been running my current grouping of fresh Winsor & Newton tube paints for over 8 months without any issues (adding new paint as necessary. I haven’t made exhaustive tests on the two brands for the mold issue, I’m just enjoying not worrying about the Winsor & Newton for now.
I had to go to another store to pick up some brands of white gouache that Wet Paint doesn’t carry. (Yep they can’t carry everything). But while I was shopping elsewhere I found that I was oddly attracted to the different gray watercolors. I knew I had a lot of them at home—I keep them around for students to work with in class. I bought a couple more and took them home and made a chart as well.
I know that lots of painters love to have premixed tubes of gray on their palettes for convenience and speed. I prefer to mix my neutrals using a complementary pair or a triad already found in the painting, on the fly, skewing the mix warm or cool as needed.
I think mixing neutrals as needed makes the paintings much richer—but full disclosure, mixing Indanthrone Blue (PB60) with Burnt Sienna (typically PR101, but it depends on the brand) yields the perfect Malamute Gray. I don’t think I need to say anything more on that—except that I really don’t like the green cast common in a lot of the mixed neutrals and Payne’s Gray offerings.
With charts like this to start discussion I then encourage the students to use the different paints I’ve brought in to create their own charts. In this way they can start to learn their own preferences.
As often happens when I make swatches I end up with a bunch of paint on my palette begging to be used. And I obliged by painting this quick portrait.
In part I wanted to use up the green paint. But also I wanted to test the Canson Heritage Watercolor paper with actual painting.
Canson Heritage 140 lb. Hot Press Watercolor Paper
While I was picking up the extra brands of gouache I happened to see blocks of this paper and picked up one to test.
It didn’t say what type of sizing it contained on the packaging. These days that’s usually a sign that it isn’t gelatin based.
I prefer gelatin based sizing on my watercolor paper. I find that in general the washes move more smoothly on a gelatin sized paper.
Sure enough, when I got home and looked up this paper I found that it uses non-animal sizing.
I’m not sure if this means they are using vegetable/starch sizing or if they have invented something new that does the trick.
What I can tell you is that all the vegetable/starch sized papers I’ve used are pretty draggy and I don’t like them.
Whatever they’ve put on the Canson Heritage is intriguing and I’m looking forward to working more on this paper to test what it will do.
I found that the brush pen (you’ll see examples of that in a future post as I haven’t scanned those) was very draggy on this paper. That’s usually a deal breaker for me. But it was the end of a day and I had to get my sketching done so I kept going and was pleasantly surprised with how the paint worked in a loose way over brush pen.
Then I sketched the green portrait you see here because I wanted to test how it blended and lifted off. I was quite pleased with how tough the paper was when I went to lift colors off. I wasn’t using my stiff lifting brush so I didn’t get back to white in most places, but I found if you timed it right (and of course depending on the staining qualities of the pigment you’re using), you can life quite well on this paper.
If you are looking for a non-animal sizing paper you might want to check this paper out. I’ll keep you posted as I work my way through my block of paper.