Jan 29

Watercolor Canvas results

Well, I feel very disappointed in the results of trying the Fredrix Canvas for Water Media (as mentioned in a post sunday). The product seemed to take away the features that make watercolors such a wonderful medium to me.

The Fredrix Watercolor Canvas main feature is great lifting ability. Lifting with watercolors is when you dampen your brush and use it to remove paint and lighten the art. Well the Watercolor Canvas does this well, in fact it works too well. Just trying to paint on top of previously painted and dried areas will lift the medium below it. You see, the beauty of watercolor is that its made of layers of translucent colors, one on top of another, that produce beautiful rich colors. So if the paint gets lifted easily it is taking away one of watercolor’s best qualities.

Now I kind of knew this would happen, but I really wanted it to work. For example…the video from the official page they show the painting being wiped away with a sponge (yikes).

The only things I did not try was to the painting dry longer then 15-20 minuets (some of the time with a blow drier) or to spray some sort of fixative chemical in between layers. But I feel anything more would take away from the spontaneity of the watercolor medium.

So, this is as far as I go:

Watercolor Canvas test


Now lets take a closer look at how the painting looks.

Watercolor Canvas test CU


Let’s compare the above sample to a close up section of my flying pig painting. Can you see the difference?

Flying Pig CU

 So for now I will be sticking to my regular watercolor paper, but there are some other cool techniques to try. A friend of mine has mentioned that some artist are stretching sheets of watercolor paper over wooden stretcher bars (like they do for oil/acrylic paintings). Then they spray the work with an  acrylic coat and display it without the glass or frame traditionally required for protecting watercolors.

Sounds cool, maybe that will be a project for later this year.

If any artist has used the project and would like to comment, please do .


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  1. I actually like it.

    I see what your saying about the loss of overlapping colors,but I dig it.

    • Karen on February 1, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    I prefer a hot press finish for my comics because of the line work that’s inked directly onto the watercolor block. I have stretched watercolor sheets before using a staple gun, roll of adhesive craft paper and a wooden board. If you’re concerned about watercolor lifting, mix a little Elmer’s white glue with the water before starting to paint.

    • Brian on February 1, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    Hi Karen.

    I like both hot press and cold press. Hot press is better for more drawing type art while the Cold Press is better for work with lots of washes involved (like the pig above). I would like to try to stretch some paper on the wooden bars to see how it works, but that is closer to the bottom of the list for me.

    The glue idea is interesting, I have never heard it before. I will look into it.

    • Karen on February 3, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    I gave up on stretching paper. I prefer to use watercolor blocks instead. Even with using a block, my paintings will still buckle a little, but using an iron on the back of the piece smooths nearly everything out.

    • Brian on February 3, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    Ya, I have never stretched the paper either. I usually use a block of Aqvarella Arches paper. I would only stretch the paper if it was going to be freaking big. Then you kind of have to.

    What setting do you iron on, do you have the steam on too?

    • Janis on September 9, 2008 at 6:10 am

    Myself I prefer to turn my watercolor face down on a clean surface. Dampen the back with a wet cloth. Cover with a drawing board and put weight on it. In a few hours or overnight it will dry flat. Store paintings flat or frame.


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