Four Works on Two Types of Watercolor Paper

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September 20, 2019 by smithartonline

I have painted four pieces on paper supports: one piece is on Garzapapel watercolor paper and three are on Stonehenge Aqua watercolor paper. The papers are 140lb cold press surface with a not too rough texture. I prepared them by soaking, then attaching them to a wooden framework with pushpins. All the preparation witness marks are left for the viewer to see when the work is completed: the ritual of preparation is part of the work.

Garzapapel papers ( are manufactured in Spain: I had the good fortune to purchase a goodly amount of these papers before they became unavailable in the U.S. They are still available in Europe and some other countries around the world. It is definitely my favorite paper: hand made, four deckle edges, a grand texture, and a nice hefty weight. Just holding the blank paper is a joy to feel the texture and feel the touch of the craftsman who made it.

Stonehenge Aqua paper ( is equally excellent as a surface to work on. It is manufactured in the United States by Legion Papers. I have used Stonehenge papers for drawing and printing in the past but this is my first experience using their watercolor paper. It comes in 22 X 30 inch sheets which I cut down to the smaller 8 X 10 inch size. There are two deckle edges and two cut edges. There is a way to mime a deckle edge at the cut part by partly cutting with a knife or scribe, then bending the paper a few times and pulling it apart. Bob Burridge has a YouTube presentation covering this technique for those with an interest:…roll up to marker 2:10 to see the process.

Both papers can take abuse and still perform well. They lay flat after soaking and, for those using watercolor, they are a good white surface. I am told by watercolorists to not soak watercolor papers as the sizing is adversely affected…so, those using watercolor, be forewarned.

All four pieces are mixed media using hand brushed acrylic paint as the base color with some airbrushed texturing overlaid. After a base color is applied, various papers are collaged to the surface and more airbrushing defines the symbols and figures. Finally, found objects are added along with altered Dresden foils (I still love Dresden foils…a nod to my long gone childhood, I guess).

Whale Dreaming
Mixed Media on Stonehenge Aqua
9 X 12 inches

The Guides
Mixed Media on Stonehenge Aqua
9 X 12 inches

Kitsune Dreaming
Mixed Media on Stonehenge Aqua
9 X 12 inches

Oak Dreaming
Mixed Media on Garzapapel Paper
8.5 X 12 inches

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