pink crepe myrtles / sketch


I started this yesterday in Plein air and finished it at home using my Inktense pencils and watercolor in a tube for the background. I wanted to try to make the background as smooth and thin as I could. Some blossoming of the paint happened, maybe because the paper warped. I remember stretching watercolor paper long ago. I might have to look it up and see how other artists do that. Or, if any of my fellow bloggers could tell me, do you stretch your paper? and if so how? I’d be interested. It seems like extra work, like priming a canvas, but I still prime my canvases for an oil painting.


12 thoughts on “pink crepe myrtles / sketch”

  1. I usually paint on a watercolor block, which kind of glues the whole stack of paper together so it can’t warp. If I’m using a single sheet, which is usually the case for larger paintings, I soak it under water for a couple minutes then tape it to a board with paper tape. It will shrink tight and I leave it taped till the painting is finished. Haven’t been brave enough to tackle a large watercolor in a long time though šŸ˜…

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      1. Nothing special, probably not even necessary anymore. It’s the old paper tape rolls with glue on one side that you would wet with a sponge and use mostly to tape packages shut for mailing. Since the tape didn’t mind getting wet, it was perfect for watercolor paper. You could probably easily substitute masking tape or that blue painters tape stuff.

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  2. Even though I buy economy packs of pre-primed stretched canvases, I still add another coat of gesso to both sides. Occasionally I’ll find a couple of canvases with a dimple or two, and the extra gesso seems to stretch and flatten it all out. My close artist friend thinks It’s a bit overkill. But… what the heck. Whatever satisfies my gray matter. Peace.

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    1. I always gesso and sand my canvases a couple times before an oil painting too. For watercolor, I think I stapled the wet paper to a piece of particle board, but then there’s holes in the paper and stapling then pulling the staples, then trimming the edges, there must be an easier way. In case I want to do a finished watercolor some time in the future.

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  3. I only stretch paper for full sheets. You need a 1/2 inch piece of board or good plywood. Let it soak in the tub (lukewarm water) for only a few minutes, just until is softens a bit. You don’t want to wash away all the sizing as that is what keeps the paint on top of the paper, not soaking into it. Use heavy paper, at least 140 lb or more. I use paper tape AND staple it. Have you paper tape cut to size even before you begin as time is critical when you start the process. When it dries, your board will actually bend but your paper will be very taunt. It will not wrinkle or buckle when you apply the watercolor paint and the results are very good. The paper tape used to be available for packing and could be picked up at office supply stores. You probably have to special order it now. Good luck!

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