Archive for April, 2016

When I teach one of the first things I tell my students, is NOT to touch the surface of the paper. The reason for this is that however careful you are, and however clean your hands appear, they always have residual oils on them. So if you touch the paper the grease from your fingers actually acts as a resist on the paper, and your fingerprint will always be there. Not a problem on an average foreground with lots of detail, but an absolute disaster on say the sky.

arches_watercolor_paper_2

The reason I wrote this blog was that I just watched a tutorial from someone showing how to crease and tear watercolour paper. I lost count after she had touched the paper over a dozen times with her hand, sometimes right in the middle of the sheet. I just cringed.

I have also experienced this in art shops, when buying loose sheets, grubby fingers all over the surface, and that’s before they insist on rolling it for you. This is the reason that when I buy paper I buy it in a full pack sealed in polythene. This way I KNOW that I am only the second person to handle that paper after the workers in the paper mill.

BBOCKINGFORD

I guess if you are buying smaller quantities then sealed blocks or pads would be the way for you.

HOW TO TEAR IT AND KEEP IT CLEAN ?

If you watch the video above you can see how I tear full sheets, handling only the edges, using a metal set square,bought from a DIY shop, on my drawing board. The melamine board (bigger than the sheet size) has marks on the lower ledge showing half/quarter and eighth marks for the size I use most, Imperial sheets 30” x 22” . It’s fast, reliable, accurate and also ensures the paper is still virginal when my students get it for their classes, because I only ever handle the edges used to secure the paper with masking tape for my lessons.

HERE’S THE METHOD WHICH WORKS FOR ME

  1. WASH AND DRY YOUR HANDS AND ALSO THE BOARD AND SQUARE
  2. LAY THE SHEET OF PAPER DOWN ENSURING THE LEFT HAND EDGE IS LEVEL WITH THE SIDE OF THE BOARD.THE BOTTOM EDGE SHOULD ALSO BE CHECKED THAT IT’S SNUG TO THE BOTTOM RAIL.
  3. LINE THE SQUARE UP ACCURATELY ON THE 1/2 SHEET MARK
  4. PRESS THE SQUARE ON THE TOP OF THE PAPER HANDLING THE EDGE OF THE PAPER ONLY.
  5. NOW HOLDING THE TOP LEFT HAND CORNER OF THE SHEET, TEAR FROM THE TOP TOWARDS YOU UNTIL YOU GET ABOUT HALF WAY DOWN
  6. NOW HOLD THE SQUARE ABOUT 10CM FROM THE BOTTOM AND FINISH THE TEAR
  7. FOR 1/4 AND 1/8TH TEARS REPEAT USING THE CORRESPONDING MARK ON THE BOTTOM RAIL ENSURING THAT THE ‘NONE TORN’ EDGE ( IE THE MANUFACTURERS EDGE) IS ALIGNED WITH THE LEFT SIDE OF THE BOARD AT ALL TIMES
DSC02840

Here is my set up for Imperial sheets

Please feel free to comment or subscribe. I hope you found this latest tip useful.

Happy ‘none grubby’ painting !

Martin aka artstevo