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Saunders Waterford Watercolor Paper Review

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The color has captured me. From today, color and I are one thing.
– Paul Klee

¿Will Saunders Waterford watercolor paper be worthy of being on my list of best watercolor papers?

Continuing with the series where I am testing several of the best watercolor papers on the market today; I can tell you right now that it definitely is, it is excellent and I will show you why. Besides talking to you about the paper, I will be commenting on the creative part of the work. Which, in the long run, is the reason why we artists have to do what we do and hopefully it will inspire you or get you excited about your creative endeavors.

Why make an artwork to test the watercolor paper?

So that we can all see how it compares to other high-quality watercolor papers, there is nothing better than seeing it in action during the "Unconscious Pathway" process. This painting is part of the group with the theme dedicated to how different people act during their journey through life.

Photo of the Saunders Waterford paper is from the brochure of the St Cuthberts Mill

We had already worked on the first one with the paper Stonehenge with the work "La Recostada Errante" based on the following sketch:

Watercolor sketch "The Wandering Lying" made on Stonehenge paper 140 pounds

It shows the kind of person who goes through life as a nomad, that is, without having a fixed direction. To emphasize the idea, I show a woman traveling lying down, looking up, while the horse (which is the vehicle I use to unify this series) is traveling without knowing where it is going. For this new watercolor I will be working from this sketch:

Para esta nueva acuarela estaré trabajando a base de este boceto:

Watercolor Sketch "Unconscious Path" made on Sounders Waterford paper 200 pounds

Here we see the kind of person who, despite being good and successful, does not notice in her path all the people who are helping her. That's why I'm putting the horse's legs as if they were carrying her because she doesn't see them. Even though this good person is enjoying her path, she is unable to notice all those who are carrying her to make her triumphs possible.

Initial characteristics of the role I noticed in the process

When I started this work, I moistened the paper for the first wash of the bottom and noticed that the paper curled more than I expected. I thought that since this paper was thicker, that is, 200 pounds, compared to the Stonehenge paper that was 140 pounds, it would tolerate the amount of water and the ripples better. Maybe it was my fault that I had extra dampness in the paper.

After working on the second wash the paper behaved very well, similar to the way Arches or Fabriano behaves with regard to ripples. That already reassured me. In order to continue with what I wanted to do in this stage, which was to make the brushstrokes a little more noticeable so that they would stand out more; that part provides the energy of the hand and the brush.

I observe that this paper marks the brushes a little more than the other one (Stonehenge). This one dries at a different pace and that can be good or bad. For me it is good because that is what I want; but maybe on other occasions, because I have to be aware in case I want the brush to fade as it did in some areas and not be as marked as in others. You have to be aware of that, especially for artists who work in a more traditional way. In my case, I love the fact that the brush is well marked in several parts.

You have to be aware of that, especially for artists who work in a more traditional way. In my case, I love the fact that the brush is well marked in several parts.

Watercolor "Unconscious Path" finished on Saunders Waterford paper 200 pounds

One thing I did notice about this paper was that I was impressed with how the colors shone, I was simply impressed. Now, one of the reasons I bought several of these papers is to keep testing because maybe it was the color selection I had that made it look so bright. So I liked that.

Compared to the watercolor I did in the previous video, which was with the Stonehenge paper, I can see that that is a paper with a softer texture than this Saunders Waterford.

That makes me think that Stonehenge paper is more appropriate if I am going to work in areas with a lot more detail. Also what I noticed was that it helped me to lift color with paper towels when there were things I had to remove and it stood up to mistreatment.

This Saunders Waterford doesn't forgive much, but again, maybe it's my fault that I'm still in that phase of getting to know you. So that doesn't mean the paper is bad, maybe we still need to understand each other a little better. 

My conclusions about Saunders Waterford

In the end, I was able to solve anything I encountered along the way and I am very happy with this paper. It is a docile and pleasant paper that has a high absorption capacity. In a way, it has a surprise factor of movement in the brushstrokes and good capacity for works in several styles. I have noticed that it is used by several renowned watercolorists, especially with traditional styles such as landscapes and portraits. I can see why this paper comes with the support of the Royal Watercolor Society of the United Kingdom.

So far I have loved both papers, they are both very good. 

The next piece I'm going to work on is the Millford paper, which is from the same company and mill that makes Saunders Waterford, St Cuthberts Mill. What I know about that paper is that it has different surface sizing and absorption. So that's what we'll be talking about next time. 

My opinion about the watercolor paper Sounders Waterford

Now I invite you to see the process of this watercolor and my comments in this video. Thanks for being with me, and see you in the next one.

-Pablo Montes

If you want to see the introductory article and review of the paperStonehenge of this series, you can access it here

If you want to see the article taking a second look at the paper Sounders Waterford, you can access it here

If you want to see the article and review of the paper Millford of this series, you can access it here

If you want to read the article and review on the Fabriano paper in this series, you can access it here

If you want to read the article and review of the paper Moulin-du-Roy of this series, you can access it here