Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Azaleas (video) and paper tests

It's been a long time since I wrote my last post. But I am back. I have painted quite a lot of paintings since the last time, but not many of them can be categorized as botanical art. They all are just floral paintings. 
But among them there are two botanicals. Both of them depict Azalea flower. I painted them after a long break and I had a lot of fun! Especially when I was painting pink Azalea I felt that this was something that I just love doing - painting in botanical style.

Both of these painting were at the same time tests of new papers. The first one was Moulin du Roy HP. Unfortunately, I have to admit that it was very difficult for me to paint on it. It reminds me Arches Hot Press paper. They are very similar and both very challenging. The biggest problem I had with softening the edges and glazing. While applying another layer I was lifting the previous one, which was quite annoying. Instead of easily softening the edges I was getting blooms all the time. Never again and I don't recommend this paper.

Violet Azalea on Moulin du Roy HP paper
My second Azalea I is painted on Saunders Waterford HP paper. It's magnificent! Finally I have found a good HP paper which comes in blocks. Earlier I was using Fabriano Artistico HP, which in my country comes only in sheets, which I don't like (but I still like Fabriano Artistico). Saunders Waterford is just excellent. Glazing and softening the edges are really easy. This paper keeps colors vivid and bright. I had no problems with it and it became my favourite paper for botanical art now. The only drawback with this paper is that it's slightly more difficult to lift the paint. But it's not impossible. For some it can be drawback, for others not necessarily. I do recommend this paper!

Pink Azalea on Saunders Waterford HP paper
I also made a video while painting the last azalea, so if you like you can watch it below. Enjoy! :)


  1. Thanks for doing this little write up.

    I'm looking at possibly buying Saunders, Moulin Du Roy or Langton Prestige or perhaps an Arches pad... I'm so confused on what will be the best for my style of painting. I like detail and I need layers. It's mainly for animal paintings but would love it to work for botanicals when I get round to doing them! Moulin Du Roy is one I CAN get a reasonably priced single sheet of but the others I may as well buy the whole booklet. Know what I mean? Any advice?
    Will Moulin be okay for animal paintings?

  2. Hello! I can understand you, but unfortunatelly I can't recommend you Moulin du Roy. It was really hard to paint on it so if you can wait and look for something else, I would recommend finding something else. Some time ago I gave another chance to Arches HP and it turned out to be really good. It seems that my earlier Arches paper came from a bad batch because when I tried a new block it was really ok. The only thing that I can complain is that the paper is creamy. It's not white. But if you don't mind the color of the paper, you could try with Arches. The time has passed from when I wrote this post and I've been using Saunders Waterford HP many times and it's really good. Actually I think I like it more than Arches HP. Most of my botanical paintings were painted on Saunders Waterford. Nothing to complain about so it might be a good choice for you. I have never tried Langton Prestige. There is also Canson Heritage - quite a new paper which is also very good, I have tested it and it's really ok.
    It doesn't really matter if you paint animals, florals or whatever. If you have low quality paper it can be frustrating. It's really better to save some money and buy better paper. If you need details, always look for hot pressed paper which is smooth. Besides, always make sure that the paper is 100% cotton. If there is no information about it - don't buy it, it's probably not 100% cotton. Maybe try Saunders? I like this paper.
    But you know how it is, I may like it, you may not like it, hard to say, have to try.

    1. Ah! Didn't realise until recently that you had responded to my comment here~ Sorry about the late reply Krzysztof (also i had a real struggle trying to spell your name, lol)

      Thank you for all the pointers and ideas on what to paint on. I'm definitely going to be buying 100% cotton, and Hot Press. That's such a shame that you don't like Moulin Du Roy, I don't think you're the only Botanical artist who has said it wasn't the best but that said a lot of other artist I am aware of actually lot Moulin Du Roy for detailed work! So it sounds like it's one of those "Some people will love it,some will hate it" kinds of papers. Saunders is another good option it seems as regardless of whether it's the best option it is definitely ALWAYS an option for detail workers as it is just a fine piece of a paper. Arches is just expensive and most artists are looking for the alternative to Arches due to that expense...

      I'm okay with natural tint/creamy looking papers, I'm not bias to the proper WHITE colour. It would also be good if whatever paper I get is good for Gouache painting.. This however is a medium that i think is less strict on it's surface due to it having some thicker properties (and depending on your technique).

      It's been a month since we spoke above but still am wondering which one to go with.. I'm actually thinking of getting some sample pages from Jackson's Art (the UK) and in the meantime buying just one page of Moulin Du Roy (I know you suggested against it though) but that's where my sample pages will help as I can try out Saunders and Canson's Heritage etc. :)