Looking at Canson Heritage Watercolor Paper

February 6, 2019
On a 9 x 12 inch block of Canson Heritage watercolor paper—Tombow Fudenosuke brush pen and Schmincke Pan watercolors, using a 1/2 inch flat watercolor brush.

This past fall I purchased a block of 140 lb. hot press Canson Heritage Watercolor paper. It is a 100 percent cotton paper with a non-animal sizing. (Yep, I am not happy about the sizing, but there you have it.)

Since then I’ve been working on it to complete a project. I haven’t posted sketches from that project yet.

But I’ve been thinking about the lengthy process of reviewing papers and decided that rather than hold onto all my thoughts about this paper I would release non-project related pieces.

Right now my feelings about this paper are that I’m quite fond of it.

What I Don’t Like About Canson Heritage Watercolor Paper 

The number one thing I don’t like about it is that it does not have a gelatin sizing. I find that paints don’t move as easily on vegetable, starch, or synthetic sizing as they do on gelatin sized papers. Also on non-gelatin sized papers I notice that there is more drag on the brush, and when I painting I don’t care for that.

Also this paper doesn’t remove easily from the block. When you do remove it the black padding glue remains on the paper and is fussy to remove.

What I Do Like About Canson Heritage Watercolor Paper 

Here is a list of likes:

  1. It has a soft surface that is a fairly bright white. 
  2. It has a “non-animal” sizing. As non-gelatin sizings goes this one is less draggy than most.
  3. The paper has a lovely absorbency/drying time dynamic—meaning that I found under cold winter studio conditions of dry air that even wet washes dried fairly quickly.
  4. In other pieces not shown today I’ve worked in color pencil on this paper. The paper is toothy enough for me, but not so toothy as to break up the pencil line in a stridently noticeable way. Also repeated applications of even burnished color pencil were possible on this paper. (If I don’t paint much on it going forward I would keep some around for color pencil sketches.)
  5. The colors look very bright and saturated on this paper.

What I’m Still Working On Understanding About Canson Heritage Watercolor Paper

Detail of today’s sketch.

I haven’t found out how sturdy Canson Heritage Watercolor paper is yet.

I have scrubbed off a little bit of paint and it went well, but in this painting I then painted over those areas so it’s hard for you to see—top of ear, top of both eyelids under brow. I’ll have to experiment more with a range of pigments (comparing staining pigments with others). I’ll get back to you.

I also need more time to decide how I like it with my favorite Pentel Brush pens; and of course how I like it with ink wash.  

Here’s a fun, short video showing some washes and strokes on this paper by artist Serge Di méo, put out by Canson.

I will keep you posted as I work more with this paper. I will eventually purchase some sheets and see how it folds and works for binding.

    • Eleanor
    • February 6, 2019

    Roz, your work blows me away, so does your energy even with so much going on. Thank you for being! I love love this portrait! The video was pretty cool. Was that just watercolor? Loved watching the paint interactions.

    • Paul
    • February 7, 2019

    Thanks Roz! Good to know there is another decent watercolour paper out there. That hot press surface sounds like it might be ideal for a mixed media paper. I will need to test that out.

    1. Reply

      I’m looking forward to getting some sheets and seeing how it binds up. I’ll keep you posted.

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