2012-13 Watercolours, Stokes Croft

When I moved into the Stokes Croft studio it was my intention to start painting in oils after a very long break, but the availability of models who could work enough hours in a week to make this possible meant that I was thrown back on my old standby, watercolours, in order to have a chance to finish a painting in a three hour session. I was having to recover lost drawing skills at the same time, so I often ended up with unfinished pictures (which I, someday, may try to complete). These watercolours are mostly on 140lb Imperial paper by D’Arches, Fabriano, Strathmore etc. Some are on 26” by 42” paper and some are on waterleaf (ie.e unsized) paper which I liked to draw on, but which did not take watercolour well. I did many experiments to find a way to size the paper to take watercolour well, but they all failed. I tried gelatine, casein, egg white, methyl cellulose, PVA, acrylic resin and several more exotic things, but none was successful. My favourite sizing for commercial watercolour paper is gelatine but most modern papers are sized with a synthetic substance called ‘Aquapel’ which I am told is made from pork fat. Whatever it is made from, I find it unhelpful as a ground.