Watercolor paper is still apparently made much the way it has been since Duke of Berry let the ladies of the palace engage in the visual arts. That is, since Medieval times. Its mulched, pressed and literally hung out to dry. The reason for mentioning Arches is that is the most widely recognized brand name for watercolor paper, based on longevity, good marketing and consistently good product quality over the years. At issue is it that much better than say Langton paper or Winsor Newton? And if it better is it worth that much more?
…The Arches (France) paper mill was founded in Lorraine, France, in 1492. Its colorful history is closely linked to the history of France. Many literary milestones and works of art have been entrusted to Arches papers, including the publication of the complete works of Voltaire, a project begun in 1784 that eventually required 70 tons of handmade Arches paper, and Napoleon’s The Description of Egypt, printed between 1807 and 1823 on two million sheets of Arches paper – made by hand. In 1895, Arches entered the Industrial Age by using the cylinder mould to fabricate the finest art papers. Arches papers are still made in the original 1492 mill. Arches is now part of the Canson family of paper products.Read More:http://www.watercolorpainting.com/papers.htm
The consensus is that when a watercolorist is used to something, they don’t take easily to switching. The evidence also seems to show that Winsor-Newton and Langton compare very favorable to Arches. All the paper companies have eccentricities built into the product, but it seems, quirks aside, that the qualities all coalesce. At issue, is if the Winsor paper which can be purchased at given times for a third to forty percent less, should it sell better? The answer seems affirmative but certain brands hold such a grip on the consumer’s imagination that it takes time for this to sink in. With the 70 tons that Voltaire used, part of which was used to wipe his snotty beak and derriere, would he have really remarked the difference?
Watercolour paper used in Turner’s days is dissimilar from today’s refined rag-content softer quality, then paper could be worked at, the surfaces removed were required. Turner used this characteristic to his advantage in his painting approach. First though he would start vary delicately with wet into wet washes adding colour as need be to heighten areas. Before the paint dries he may use a natural sponge (I’m sure he would have used synthetics today). With the sponge he would blend sections by stippling….
At or beyond this point he maybe felt the painting required softening or blending even more, so he may immerse the whole painting in a bucket of water which would also remove some of the colour. Before the watercolour dries he would wipeout with a sponge the parts to be left white or lighter, and allow the painting to dry, or after the painting is dry for a more defined white.Read More:http://www.j-m-w-turner.co.uk/chronology-three.htm