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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Watercolor Stretching Boards

So I have been experimenting with different methods of stretching watercolor paper and have come back to the support that I originally had but was not using properly, isn't that always the way!

The first method I had tried was using the drawing board, paper stretcher board or hardboard soaking the paper and then taping it onto the board with the gum tape and then stapling to corners (optional). While this was the most consistent method to keep the paper smooth, it is very time consuming & messy. The tape works well but is a real pain to get off the paper and board once the painting is completed. Later I found a foam board that worked very well for this but the tape was wrecking the board when I removed it.

I then tried to build myself a paper stretch, well I had my father-in-law build it...anyway, it worked very well. But, always a but, I found the texture of the paper so tight that it made the paper much rougher than I am used to. Which would be great for landscapes I am sure and very wet in wet painting. No matter how much water I threw down, the paper seemed to go back into shape and buckle very little.

Then I heard about foamcore or gatorboard and that you could just use 3M masking tape to tape the paper down and then peel it off. I tried a foam board that was 3/4" thick but was not dense enough so it warped the paper a bit, but still worked well. I was working very dray though and the tape still lifted off in areas. When the painting was finished, I misted the back lightly with filtered water and lay it between paper towel and foam boards and then weighted down with books for 2 days and the warps came out very nicely.

I then read, on the package, of the board that I had purchased years ago, an incredible board, and had been using gum tape and heave duty staples on that if you just use regular office stapler, that is all you need. Of course it works like a charm :) It is just a dense foam core or gator board but it is all I could find in Canada locally. It is called Incredible Art Board and is available at Opus Art Store and can also be ordered online. I purchased the larger size for the full sheet of watercolor and used it for my latest commission and it was a pleasure to work with. Very light and sturdy which is really nice as I tend to move my paintings & drawings around alot when I work.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Watercolor artist Linda Kemp is known for using a plexiglass sheet to place her wc paper on. Both sides of the wc paper are brushed with water and that keeps the paper in place on the plexiglass:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emodgZxaYDk

Costescu said...

Yes I have tried that method as well but it always seems to buckle as it dried for me. I have also heard of artists that do this and use bull clamps as well but never works as well for me as the staples. I tend to work over a long period of time so maybe that is why it buckles for me.