I wasn't able to take the summer session of K.D. Allegri's watercolor class (except I snuck in on the last day and painted with them). The main theme for the class was fish and I was awed by the beautiful work that was done.
Feeling envious, I decided that I'd do my own fishy project, and inspired by a photo I found at the Morguefile free photo archive, I used wet-in-wet techniques learned in earlier classes.
My palette was filled with Quiller pan watercolors - Cadmium Yellow Light, Richeson Blue, Richeson Turquoise, Richeson Green and Permanent Green Light. (Note that 'Richeson' is a brand name for what is more commonly known as Phthalocyanine).
I've been using Strathmore's Aquarius II, lately. I decided to try this paper based on comments from Linda Kemp's books. It is a blend of cotton and synthetic, and even at the 80 lb weight it does little buckling or dimpling, so you don't need to stretch it or tape it down. I do, anyway, just so it won't slide but I wouldn't have to.
I find that while colors move nicely during a wet-in-wet wash, they don't tend to create backruns, as easily. That's a plus. You can get them if you work at it, and want them, but you are less likely to get them by accident.
Even though the paper is relatively smooth for watercolor paper, it seems to encourage granulation. Overall, you get more of a matte effect than you do with other papers (at least, those I've tried). That's good, unless you want jewel-tones or really brilliant color. Having said that, the colors in this piece came out reasonably bright. As always, the tools might have tendencies, but the operator controls the outcome.
What I don't like about the paper is that I find it hard to lift color, and the paper pills even with light scrubbing. Just goes to show -- nothing's perfect.