I've been painting on a new paper lately, Stonehenge Aqua
. I've been using it for about a month, now, and I've been giving samples of it to my students in my recent classes and workshops. Here's how it performs...
|Beach, 11x15 watercolor $125|
The paper has a perfect amount of sizing, making it easy to lift paint. In this first painting, I used masking fluid to preserve the whites of waves -- the masking fluid peeled off easily. In the sky, I used a wet-into-wet painting technique and then lifted out the clouds while it was still damp. As you can see, the colors lifted beautifully. I also love the whiteness of the paper! This new paper is archival cotton rag, and bright white, and is comparable in color to Kilimanjaro or Arches Bright White.
|Coverdale Barn, 11x15 watercolor $125|
I made a lot of mistakes when I painted this barn, and went back to correct them after the painting had dried. Originally, I had made the roof, the trees, and the foreground all too dark. I scrubbed out some highlights on the trees to create a little more dimension. The roof was too flat in color and value, so I scrubbed out some areas to make it look like light is hitting it. The foreground was also too even in value, so I scrubbed out the lower left corner of the painting to add light on the ground. The paper held up perfectly to all this scrubbing and lifting, and released the paint easily without wearing down the surface.
|Attitude, 15x11 watercolor $145|
I used some puddling, spattering, and blooming techniques to depict the randomness of sand in this painting. This was my demo in one of my classes where I was showing how to paint animals -- you don't always have to show the face of the subject to express and emotion!
|Sandpiper, 11x7 watercolor, $85|
I painted the sandpiper dark, and then lifted the highlights and details of the feathers with a clean damp brush. I love that this paper let's me lift so easily. I painted the water with just a few horizontal brushstrokes of color. After it dried I created the round ripples that emulate from the bird by using a clean damp brush to lift a few circles.
|Looking ahead, 7x11 watercolor $95|
I used salt and paint spatters on the background to get this random and loose effect. I didn't use any masking fluid on this painting, preferring to just use lifting techniques to create the light effects and capture the details of the feathers.
|Stonehenge Aqua watercolor paper|
All of these paintings were done as demonstrations in my classes and workshops in the last couple of months. I was quite impressed with the quality of the Stonehenge Aqua
paper, as were my students. We used the 140 lb cold pressed, and the 300 lb cold pressed. The qualities that really stood out about this paper were it's color (a beautiful bright white) and the sizing -- colors were crisp and stayed intense, and yet were easy to lift off when needed. Both the 140 and the 300 lb were a little smoother than usual, with the 300 lb having about the same amount of texture as I would expect to find in a 140 lb paper. The 140 is smoother than expected, but still has some texture. It is not as smooth as hot pressed. The 22x30 full sheets have 2 deckle edges and two cut edges.
All said and done, I recommend this paper. It performs every bit as good as, if not better than, the more popular and expensive papers available. Stonehenge Aqua watercolor papers will be available at most major retailers in the coming months, and in the usual weights and textures, and I have heard that the prices will be dramatically less than comparable papers. I'm looking forward to trying the rough textures when it comes out, and I can hardly wait for it to become available in blocks!