• I am pretty new to SVSLearn. I just finished watching Luminous Lighting with Lee White. Lee mentions working with Arches Watercolor Coldpress Board. I can't seem to find Arches watercolor board online. Does anyone have any suggestions? Is it sold with a different name? Currently, I am using 140 lb. Cold Press and it buckles when I do watery washes. Thanks in advance.

  • @Kimberly-Batti Hi Kimberly, I might be mistaken, but my recollection is that @Lee-White uses 300# arches cold press, which could explain the difference.

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @Kimberly-Batti yep, @BichonBistro is right. I use the heavier weight paper to avoid the buckling paper. Or, I staple the 140 lb to a plastic board called "Incredible Art Board". Here's a link: https://www.google.com/aclk?sa=L&ai=DChcSEwjLtciYn6TjAhXjklsKHbwTBEUYABAPGgJ5bQ&sig=AOD64_3keck-qQd8pOAZCgG0wPc2-yASKQ&ctype=5&q=&ved=0ahUKEwiO9ryYn6TjAhWBm-AKHa3_AqwQ9A4I1gE&adurl=

  • Pro SVS OG

    I have found a watercolor board it was dick blicks https://www.dickblick.com/categories/canvas/painting-papers/watercolor/

    I have it but haven't tried it yet. I am looking forward to playing with it. @Lee-White and @davidhohn had a discussion once, I forget where, maybe on our interactive class, about mixing medias of watercolor and oil paint on this board and I am sooo excited to try this one day.

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    I'm also a fan of the canson boards. They are much harder to do smooth washes with however. They are good for creating texture and unexpected "happy accidents".


  • SVS Instructor Pro

    @lmrush Cool!

    Brief recap on watercolor and oil -- I did most of the image in watercolor and then sealed it 2-3 coats of a clear spray fix. Then mixed gel medium with water and applied 3-4 coats. Really seal that watercolor! Then went about painting with oils on top of the acrylic spray fix and gel medium in a normal fashion. Lots of thin transparent washes along with areas of opaque paint.

    Have fun!

  • SVS Instructor Pro

    @Kimberly-Batti You can also staple or tape watercolor paper to double thick gator board. (or basically really thick foamcore)

    The watercolor paper might buckle a bit while you work on the paper (as the fibers expand) but if the paper is "stretched" (properly taped or stapled down) as it dries it will go perfectly, absolutely, positively flat.

  • I use hardboard panels, art tape, and 300 lb Arches. I don't tend to work super wet though. If I get buckling and need to get the paper nice and flat again, I sponge wet the back of the paper evenly and lay it between two boards with a weight on top. Flattens out overnight great!
    I want to try out one of those incredible art boards @Lee-White mentioned, and need to try out gator board too apparently. I've seen it mentioned many times.

  • Moderator

    I’ve used the Cason watercolor board (hot press) since 1990, when I started using watercolor in college. I love that it’s all ready to go when I’m ready to paint. I use a ton of water and it’s almost always worked perfectly (no buckling). I did get a bad piece once that separated from the cardboard backing. Then I discovered Arches watercolor blocks and though I’ve used those for a decade or so, they tend to buckle So I have just been careful. All that being said, I continued to use the canson board and arches because i sucked at stretching my paper. But after listening to @Lee-White mention his Incredible art board, I purchased one and am so happy with it. I’ve stretched my papers on it several times now and love the results. I trace onto the paper, waterproof ink it, soak it in the water to stretch, mount it to the incredible board and let it dry overnight. It’s great. Granted the wait time to paint is longer but the ease of getting the image onto the paper makes up for it. And since the incredible board is big enough for two 9x12 pieces, I have one blank sheet mounted that’s ready to go if needed. Super happy with my paper now.

  • Pro SVS OG

    @davidhohn Thank you so much David!

  • @BichonBistro Thank you!

  • @lmrush Sounds like the experimentation will be great. Thanks for your response!

  • @Lee-White When you work with boards, how do you make your art digital? Scanner? Photograph work? Do you have a scanner that you recommend?

  • @davidhohn Thank you for the tips. I will try out the gator board.
    @burvantill Thank you for sharing your experiences. I am terrible and impatient with stretching watercolor paper. I like the idea of having two papers to use on one board.

    Thank you all for your feedback and suggestions!

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @Kimberly-Batti i typically photograph the work in very small sections and then composite together in photoshop. That way I get a huge and very detailed final image.

  • I use US Art Supply, I appreciate the tough-pressed and tempered hardboard as its build is reliable. I love that each board comes with a comfortable cut-out handle, sturdy clip, and a large-sized rubber band that secures my papers.

  • Just came upon this discussion and wanted to chime in something I've been doing for the past 6+ months and so far has the best way to "stretch" my watercolor paper.

    Longevity of the paper is still to be determined for this untraditional, but very effective way of "stretching" But I've found this method has been the best way to work with my watercolor paper completely flat even if you work with very wet techniques.

    I use both Arches and Fabriano 140lb. Cold Press watercolor paper sheets.

    1.) I wet my paper on both sides then set it aside.

    2.) I then use a wallpaper adhesive
    (Roman Pro-543 Universal Wallpaper Adhesive...I'm pretty heavy handed with the stuff and cover beyond the size of my precut watercolor paper I'll be working on.)

    I brush the adhesive onto a clean non-porous surface. (I've cut down a large piece of kitchen table laminate and adhered that to a drawing board so it's lays flat and it's sturdy but still light weight.)

    But any clean non-porous surface would do just fine.

    3.) I place my wet watercolor paper onto the non-porous surface where I brushed the wallpaper adhesive on. I then use a clean flat watercolor brush to press the paper and work all around the papers surface and edges just so I know the paper and the adhesive meet every bit of the underside of the watercolor papers surface.
    (Might be an unnecessary step but it's quicker then stapling or pinning or taping from my experience.)

    4.) I dab the excess water off and can start painting right away or let it fully dry overnight. (Taping the border where the edge of the paper and the non-porous surface meet is a good idea because if water seeps underneath the adhesive can come undone. But if you're careful or just tape it down you shouldn't have a problem.)

    5.) This is the most important step...Removing the watercolor painting from the wallpaper adhesive without damaging or ripping your work after you're done.

    I use a piece of Yupo paper a strip that is about 2" longer than the Height of my painting. Hold the strip of Yupo with both my index and thumb and I slide it underneath a corner and slowly work my way to the center and out the other side. Watercolor paper lifts from the adhesive and non-porous surface with ease. I clean the non-porous surface with water and a cloth and repeat.

    Hopefully someone finds this helpful as much as I have. Any questions doing this method shoot me a message and I'll gladly help!

    One Last Tip: Do some practice pieces before tackling a finished piece. It took me a couple times to get it right but so far worth the effort and is now my primary way of "stretching" my watercolor paper!

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