Adventures with Unknown Paper

September 27, 2021
I used a 1/2 inch flat and watercolor with limited water to paint on this paper. For the lavender tint I ended up adding a little white gouache.

A few years ago I stopped in at Wet Paint and there was a box of 22 x 30 inch paper on the paper counter. “What’s this?” I asked.

To make a long story short it was a mystery paper sent by a mill by mistake. When they called the mill to fix the order the mill told them to just sell the mystery paper. So what could I do? I had a project starting soon where I wanted large inexpensive sheets. Darin made me a super great deal. Even if all I did was sketch on it in life drawing the paper was a great deal.

During the downsizing a lot of things have turned up, including more than 50 sheets of this paper. (I used some for the intended project and over the last couple of years have used a sheet now and then.)

Here’s the brush pen sketch with Montana Acrylic Marker on the background.

I did this brush pen sketch and painted with watercolor on this paper a couple months ago to refamiliarize myself with it.

There’s enough texture in the paper that it breaks up the Pentel Brush pen lines to nice effect.

But everything seeps through this paper, pens (dye or pigmented inks), acrylics markers, watercolors…

I am finding lots of things to work with as I go through everything for the on-going downsizing. And with my eyes at permanent double vision and a limited amount of useful vision per day, I couldn’t see myself getting back to this paper any time soon. 

And the point of downsizing is to let stuff go right?

Here’s the painting and the palette of left over watercolors (leftover from other painting sessions) that I used on this paper. For some of the tints I added a bit of white gouache. I worked with very little water to minimize seeping—but I did work directly on the paper without gesso.

A friend mentioned she wanted to work larger. She’s working in acrylics. I knew, from my experiments she could gesso this paper and bingo she’d have large sheets to work with and no worries about the paper costs. So I called her up and arranged to drop the paper off to her. 

Maybe she will use it for her large painting explorations and experiments, maybe she’ll cut it all into smaller pieces and gel plate print on it. 

I just hope she has fun with it. I’ll enjoy seeing whatever she does with it, knowing she gave it some life.

If you have some unknown paper, play with it and discover how you can work with it. Even do a 30-day project with it like I did years ago on this paper. 

Whatever you do, don’t let it languish in your flat file. Pass it on for someone else to play with. 

P.S. I may have a video of me sketching this portrait, I won’t know until I start to get my digital archive back together. If so, you’ll probably see it here.

    • Diane
    • September 27, 2021

    I’ll bet your lucky friend is having a ball working big!

    1. Reply

      I sure hope so! I am looking forward to seeing lots of experiments! Hint, hint.

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