In my previous post I discussed briefly my most helpful reds. This time I would like to take a closer look at Arches HP paper. I used this paper to paint a carnation which I finished yesterday:
It was last year or even a year before when someone gave me Arches HP paper for testing. I did some tests, very simple tests, which already showed that Arches HP would not be my favorite paper. I don't know if I got a bad batch then or I had a bad time but painting on Arches HP was just terrible.
Some time ago I got a block of Arches HP again. It was on my drawer for quite a long time but I decided to see how it would work for me now. I know there have been some issues with Fabriano Artistico paper lately and many botanical artist test other papers. I personally still love Fabriano and I have never had any problems with it.
Oh, speaking about Fabriano. Some of you probably have seen the video made by Eunike Nugroho (this video). Two spots came out on the paper while she was painting. I don't know if it is connected anyhow, but two weeks ago I started drawing zendalas on Fabriano Artistico (you can see 3 videos if you like: zendala 1, zendala 2, zendala 3). When I looked at a sheet of Fabriano against the light to check a watermark I noticed white round spots. It immediately reminded me of Eunike's spots. So maybe it's worth checking if there are those spots before we start painting. I can't check if this spot would somehow affect the painting because I have a zendala there. Just a little observation.
Let's come back to Arches. I used this block:
Before I started to paint a carnation I did some color tests. I also wanted to practise before I start something more serious. What I noticed was that on Arches paper paint didn't cover an area evenly. The colors looked as if they had been covered with a chalk. It is probably not really clear in the photos, but here is Arches:
and here is Fabriano Artistico:
On Fabriano colors seem to be stronger and washes are more even. This upset me, because I remember similar situation with Winsor&Newton CP paper.
I did more practice and it turned out that when I applied more water at the beginning (much more water) the washes later looked really good and even. It seems that Arches likes water.
Arches is also a very smooth paper, much smoother than Saunders Waterford HP. The only thing I can complain about is the creamy color of Arches. Fabriano Artistico Extra White is really extra white next to Arches.
I surprised myself and I really like Arches.
- The colors eventually look really well, they are very bright and strong, just as I like.
- Painting wet-on-wet is really nice, paint spreads out evenly with a soft edge.
- It is easy to lift out the paint as well.
- Edges are crisp.
- The surface is very smooth.
- The paper cockles less than Fabriano Artistico.
- As I mentioned before, the only thing that I can complain about is the color of the paper, but it doesn't bother me much.
In case you were interested in colors which I used:
- On the petals there is mostly Pyrrole Red Light PR255.
- To make darker reds on the petals, I added Ultramarine Blue PB29 to Pyrrole Red Light PR255.
- For light greens I used Winsor Yellow PY154 with Phthalo Blue PB15.
- For darker greens I added Ultramarine Blue PB29 to the previous mix.
- In some areas I also added a bit of Perylene Green PBk31 to make the green even darker and Translucent Orange PO71 to make it a bit warmer.
- On the stem I also used Cobalt Turquoise Light PG50 with a bit of Ultramarine Blue PB29.
- In some parts I used very dark turquoise colors which was a mix of Phthalo Green PG7 with Phthalo Blue PB15 (I love this mix!) and with Ultramarine Blue PB29 to tone it down a bit.