I've been eager to try out the new Stonehenge Aqua Watercolor Paper that I've included in my Legion Paper Sampler journal. I decided to use the hot press version first.
Info from the website says that the paper is: 100% Cotton, Neutral pH, Acid Free, Chlorine Free, sized for watercolor, and that it is good for: Calligraphy, Inkjet, Intaglio, Letterpress, Offset, Pen & Ink, Pastel & Charcoal, Silkscreen, Watercolor.
To me, all those possible applications made the paper sound more like mixed media paper than a watercolor paper, so I was very curious to see how well it handled really wet media.
Hot press paper usually has more of soft thickness and smooth surface, and that is the case here. One of the above mentioned uses is 'intaglio' which is the art of engraving. I did notice that it was easy to make lines or indentations in this paper.
I quickly discovered that you should NOT use tape or anything sticky on this paper. I started to put masking tape around the edges to help protect other pages in my journal. I lifted the tape a little to adjust it, and to my surprise, it lifted whole fibers of the page. This happens frequently with handmade cotton papers, but I wasn't expecting it with a machine made like this. I ended up using the other side of the paper.
This painting is definitely overworked, but this time I did it on purpose. I wanted to really give the paper a test drive with wet in wet, scrubbing, and lifting pigment.
Being hot press paper, paint and water both dried almost immediately. With my first, very wet initial wash, the paper did curl. Five minutes later it was completely dry, and I gently rolled it in the opposite direction and it flattened out. After that, I had no problem with curling, dimpling or rippling.
I kept adding more wet, swirling my brush in circles, and to add insult to injury, I scrubbed circles with a wet tissue to pick up color.
The paper held up well to all the lifting, though I didn't quit until I encountered pilling (little pills of paper breaking away from the surface). I aggressively wet and lifted at least 5 times in some areas before that happened though, and that's guaranteed to pill any paper. Overall, I was impressed with how well the paper handled all the wet.
I still think this is more of a mixed media paper, but it can certainly be used specifically for watercolor. I can't wait to try the cold press.
Colors used: Qor Transparent Pyrrole Orange, Daniel Smith Lunar Blue, Winsor Newton Lemon Yellow, and Sennelier Orange. I used a 3/4 inch mop for the initial wash, and Silver Black Velvet rounds, size 6 and 16 for the rest.
You can learn more about Stonehenge Aqua Paper here.
My reference photo came from Pixabay.