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Review: Arches Watercolor Paper

Arches, Dick Blick, Watercolor Painting

This is my opinion of the best watercolor paper in the world. Arches is the best, in my humble opinion. For what it is worth I have been teaching watercolor painting for approximately 10 years. I was a student of watercolor before that for sometime. The one negative side of Arches watercolor paper was, when you compared it with some other brands of watercolor paper, face to face, it has just a yellow cast to it. Since you use the white of the paper as the white of your painting this could be a problem.

You can buy 140 pound Arches watercolor paper. It works just as well but is not as expensive. If you are practicing or just starting out this is an excellent paper. It should be taped to a piece of foamcore board. It will not lay as flat but is an excellent paper. It will run closer to $4.00 a sheet in catalogs. I use this paper when demonstrating in class or for paintings that are not for commission.

Arches now has a bright white choice. I purchase this now. It is a little more expensive than some other brands but well worth the cost. If you really want the best of the best, buy the 300 pound paper. No it doesn’t really weigh 300 pounds, it is the weight of the paper.

You can buy it by the sheet in craft and art supply stores. If you want the very best deals buy it online or through Art Supply Catalogs. My favorite is the one that is on sale at the time. If you watch carefully you will find sales at Cheap Joe’s Art Supplies, Dick Blick, Jerry’s, and or ASW. I am frugal so I am vigilant about the sale prices.

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Arches cold press watercolor paper has a wonderful texture for landscapes, seascapes and other subjects that you paint when you want more depth. If you like more control you can use hot press watercolor paper. How I remember the difference is simple. Hot press is smooth. It is actually pressed in a press like an iron. Cold press paper has more texture.

I have tried other brands that are less expensive. There are many good watercolor papers. Some of it has to do with personal preference. I still like Arches brand, watercolor paper the best. It is pricey. If you buy it by the single sheet in an art supply store it is going to run you nearly $15.00 a sheet. You can get 4 good-sized paintings out of it. If you buy it from a catalog by the pack it will run you closer to $8.00 a sheet. If you buy it with others you will save on shipping.

If you are looking for a new hobby, watercolor is one of the least expensive mediums and takes the least amount of supplies and clean up. I believe with Arches watercolor paper, a few medium priced brushes and paint you will be very happy with your results.


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