Pros and cons

Up to now I have been fortunate enough to have had a stock of old Fabriano 5 to work with, that’s pretty much used up now apart from small pieces. I have to get to grips with some new paper, so I’m going to write down my thoughts as I try out papers and I will assemble my notes or come back to this to add to it as I try out other stock.

Arches, 300gsm (140lb) HP

I have been trying out Arches, I don’t think I have painted on Arches since my evening class days at RBGE, Generally it’s good, I enjoyed working on it initially, but got a bit fed up with it after working with it for a few weeks!

Painting on the watermarked side:
Pros
Nice weighty feel
Good movability of paint
Slightly soft velvety feel when you apply dry brush, also a con*
Crisp lines in some areas, but not consistently…

Cons
It’s a bit too cream coloured
Graphite can stain it once the surface has been drawn on and rubbed out a lot
*The water in my brush seems to get sucked out into the paper without the pigment, and then I have to rewet it as the pigment won’t leave the brush, so lots of rewetting
The edges seemed to bleed, so it was hard to get crisp edges

Summary
I don’t want to paint on this again

Fluid 100,300gsm (140lb) HP

An American paper, 100% cotton, one side has little subtly textured patches (very hard to define), I’ll paint on the other side

Painting on the smoother side:
Pros
Nice crisp lines, was able to paint fine details
Was able to lift and move paint quite happily
Quite white, though not as white as Fab 5

Cons
Feels kinda’ thin (although it is 300gsm)
I could see where I had rubbed out by the change in the paper surface, not too much but slightly
Seems to be slightly hard to get hold of here in the UK

Summary
I would be very happy to work with this again

Botanical Ultra Smooth, 300gsm (140lb) HP

From St Cuthbert’s Mill, 50% cotton, designed to replace Fab 5
I have another piece of Botanical Ultra Smooth from my previous Ken Bromley sample pack and the paper is a darker cream, has a smoother surface and the mesh marks are a lot less noticeable – so I don’t know if the manufacturing process has changed, or if this paper tends to vary across batches…

Painting on the smoother side (which shows mesh marks but doesn’t have that wavy pattern across it):
Pros
Takes wet on wet really nicely
Quite white, though not as white as Fab 5
Good weight

Cons
Need to load the brush with water to get a smooth gliding line, otherwise it skims the surface and leaves a broken line…
After working with this I found that the finish on this paper was less satisfactory, I couldn’t get a thin defined line, and the texture of the finished painting is not as crisp and smooth as with the Fluid 100 paper
Lifting with a synthetic brush was not that successful, but quite soft and smudgy, I couldn’t lift fine lines

Summary
I’d rather work on the Fluid 100

Hahnemuhle, 300gsm (140lb) HP

I used to use a Hahnemuhle for large format digital printing, so I was hesitant to try this out, but its pretty good!

I’m painting on the side that shows the mesh imprint slightly as the other side looked a bit rougher, but I think I should probably also try the other side:
Pros
Good weight
Really nice fine clean edges, and I have been able to create some lovely fine lines
I have been able to really just forget about the paper and get on with painting

Cons
A bit creamy
slightly fluffy to begin with

Summary
I’d use this again