Monday, July 16, 2012

Stretching a watercolor paper

Why stretch watercolor paper? It helps prevent buckling, or if you paper does buckle, when stretched properly, it will become flat again. It is simple enough and it can save you a lot of trouble. Here's my stretching method :)

1. Step
Choose in what you want to soak your paper. A tray or a bathtub are quite suitable. Just remember - you have to clean it thouroughly first (especially the bathtub - be sure there is no residue of a soap, condicioners, etc.). An ordinary detergent you use for your dishes is good enough for the task.

2. Step
Get your materials ready - you don't want to loose time when you're actually stretching the paper.

1. A paper you want to stretch - it's good to leave some surplus paper around your chosen size so you could attach the tape.
2. A wooden board.
3. An ordinary brown tape. I like to cut it beforehand (again, saving time).
4. Tissues or paper towels for wiping excessive moisture.
5. A bowl with water and a sponge (for moistening the tape).

3. Step
Defend your prepared materials against a cat! (Apply only if you own a cat. If not, skip this step :) )

4. Step
Fill the tub or the tray with water and soak the paper in. Different papers take different times to soak entirely - it depends on their weight, material, etc. Also, warm water soaks in faster, so you probably want to experiment a bit. I think you're always safe with cold water, though.
The paper I am using (Arches hot pressed 300 lb) doesn't like long soaking, so I usually leave it submerged for five minutes in cold water.
(If you overdo the soaking, your paper could lose its sizing and wouldn't behave properly when used for painting.)

5. Step

Take your paper out of the tub (or a tray), carefully hold it only by a tip and let drip off water.
Then lay it down on your board and with a tissue wipe off excessive moisture from the edges where you want to stick down the tape.

6. Step

With your sponge moisten the tape and stick it down on the paper. Make sure you get out all the air bubbles and run your finger nail along the edge of the paper. Repeat the same procedure with all of the sides of the paper (it usually takes four times) :D

7. Step

Now you are basically done and the waiting begins. It usually takes a few hours for a paper to dry, but it can be longer (again, weight and material come in play). You know your paper is dry when it doesn't feel cold to the touch anymore.
The paper may buckle while drying but don't worry, it will become flat again and you can paint on it without worries. The buckling is a sign that the paper could use longer soaking, though, so you may leave it in the water a bit longer next time.

I hope this will prove useful to you :)

A Long Pause

Wow, a two year gap. That's a record, even for me. My general lazziness met with finishing my Master's degree and my husband's serious illness and operation. These are the reasons I've not updated this blog, but they also caused that I haven't done much painting recently. I've painted some commissions and an occasional fanart and that's about it. Hopefully this is going to change in near future.

These are some of my "recent" works:

Kruger Impala
Watercolor, 60 x 40 cm.
Done as commission for:, based on his own photo.

Deer Patterns
Watercolor, 40 x 30 cm.

Turian Rebell
Graphite pencils, 30 x 21 cm.
Mass Effect fanart, copyrighted to Bioware.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Blogging, how original

To be honest, I never really did the whole blog thing, though I occasionally like to share my random thoughts. I don't have many radical (or that interesting opinion) which I'd need to share, nor do I believe that they would interest anyone.
I now realise that this isn't probably the best way to start a blog :D
My great passion is art, especially watercolor painting. I love to paint, and when I don't paint (or draw) I usually think about different kinds of papers, types of colours and ideas for new pictures. So I guess this is going to be my thinking about such things, put into a blog form. Odd as it may seems, I always sort my thoughts nicely when I write them down :)
Please excuse my English though, as it's not my native tongue. 
Anyway, I intend to post WIPs here and comment on my working process, which is something that my journal on deviantart doesn't really allow...

So, what I'm working on now?

This is a sketch of an impala from Kruger national park, and it's actually a commission based on the commissioners photo (follow this link: impala).
Usually I keep my sketches much more linear, but since the impala's expression is defined by the contrastive black areas, I helped my imagination by filling those areas (with messy graphite pencils, that is why the picture is so smudged :D).

Here the actual background is done, with my favourite wet in wet technique (although I like to use it mainly for backgrounds). I don't like working with granulating watercolors (which in this case is almost every color I used), because I work with lots of layers and these colours then to lift up way too easily.
I am further with my work in this point, but I didn't scan it yet (it's quite a large picture, 60 x 40 cm, and my scanner only has 20 x 30 cm, so scanning is kind of tedious process :D).
But hey, I have to save something for later, right?
Well, that's about everything... My first blog entry, wow. Perhaps someone will find it useful/interesting.
Have a nice evening everyone.