Displaying: 1 - 2 of 2

Watercolor Paper Stretching

August 13th, 2013

Watercolor Paper Stretching

Using Gatorboard!

It has been a while I have been out of painting Watercolor for a number of years, the biggest draw back was getting back into the groove and feeling comfortable again.

One of my weakness ( in other words lazy) was finding a simple way of doing the basics. Stretching watercolor paper is one of them.

So where do I start, I guess the first frustrating problem was paper.

Do I use sheets or a block. I always been particular to Arches Watercolor blocks.

I dislike stretching watercolor paper by immersing in water and using brown paper packing tape. I just find it takes to long to prep for.

That is why I always used a Watercolor block.

Well after researching the problem I found that Gator board was the way to go.

Now I needed to find resources on just how to use the board.

What was frustrating most web sites kind of just breeze through how to actually stretch the paper and casually touch how to adhere the paper once soaked.

I did find one video on "Cheap Joe's" web site. That cleared up some of the issues I had.

Since I buy my supplies from there I decided I purchase one, the cost seemed reasonable so what did I have to lose.

The one thing I hate about ordering on line is the time frame once one has place an order. Unfortunatly I have limited access to a variety of artist materials where I live.

Once I received the order I was please on how light the board was.

Well what I saw on line didn't really go into details on the proper stages from immersing the paper to attaching it to the Gator Board.

Well I thought about it and here is how I processed through the stages.

First as described by Cheap Joe's video, I did my pencil sketch, next I flipped the Watercolor paper over, took my spray bottle and soaked the paper, I then took my two inch brush and started to evenly spread the water from side to side evenly.

I was surprised how easily the application of the water was soaking the paper, I saw some buckling in certain areas, so I dipped my brush in water and applied it to those areas.

Next I flipped the paper on to the Gator Board, to the painting side with the pencil sketch. I aligned the bottom of the paper on a border that I applied to the board and that I use for alignment.

I then sprayed the surface, used my brush to evenly distribute the water evenly, in areas of bucking I used the brush to apply more water. Once the Watercolor paper seemed to lay down flat I went to the next step.

I used a standard stapler and proceeded to staple the paper to the board, I used about one inch separation from each staple applied along the borders.

I was satisfied how smoothly this went. On my first stretching there was some buckling, I was worried that I had did something wrong or missed an important point from the video.

Again I looked at what I just accomplished and thought well I just ruined that set up.

I walked away and let it dry.

Well to my surprise the paper was taunt and ready to go.

The painting went well and I was pleased.

So now when I find deals on single sheet buys I will not be hesitant to purchase a good buy than just relying on Watercolor Blocks.

I really like the Gator Board and find it easy to stretch the Watercolor paper, the old soaking way I was taught just took to long and was aggravating. The brown packing tape to adhere to the Watercolor Paper to the board was a hassle.

The tape always seemed to come off the paper while painting and was difficult to remove once the painting was complete.

Now it takes me maybe 15 minute to soak and apply to the Gator Board, stapling was easy and I can use drafting tape and the paintings have nice white boarder, this is especially helpful for me when framing and matting the painting.

Hopefully this will help out when applying a soaked paper to a board.

One other nice feature is the board can be used over and over, this is a real benefit other than the reasonable cost for the board.

I hope this will help other people who have experience this problem and lead to sharing of new ideas to stretching Water color paper.


August 13th, 2013


In my rush to resume my painting I remember little lesson from art classes way back when, that less is better and keep it simple in term of design and subject matter.

Well I have failed big time!

When I looked at my paints and brushes which I thought I stored properly they where no longer of use, especially my favorite sable # 12 brush. The paint tubes were all hard and dried up. I thought I would get lucky by the way I stored them, what do you expect after some 30 some odd years. I was hoping for some luck which I didn't get.

So where do I start, well most of the art stores I use to use, (the local art stores) are all gone, they are now replaced by big chain stores which barely function as a art store.

The choices on the internet are like a mega virtual catalouges , they have their positives and there shortcomings also. To me it was also harder to find specific information of some of the newer items that have come into play and how to apply or to properly use them.

Search after search was tedious and frustrating ie "Gatorboards" (was looking for a step by step beginning to end process on how to use, never found it just had to guess at some of the steps). Sometimes the little things add up to big things that can reduce the frustration level. The frustration level rose due to lack of information in a information over saturated environment that just talked in circles.

With the access of the internet, blogs and Video access, information saturation is over whelming but doe not answer the real questions that I find important in making certain decisions. Seems to me they suppose you already know the answer to which you seek and just add more confusion to the problem.

Being out of the loop for so many years and trying to realign my needs to some of the changes was very over whelming.

Brushes, I was taught to use a round #12, round #6 and a script liner, now there are all types of brushes, sables to synthetics, rounds to flats to specialty brushes and I suckered in and bought quite a few of them only to resort back to my round #12, round #6 and the script liner.

You see they were right simple is better!

One of the biggest changes for me was the variety of papers out there or maybe I was narrowly focused on what I was trying to paint back then and never realized that there was this variety out there when I first started out.

Since it has been a while since I have painted I haven't had the experience to make a reasonable judgment on which flavor I like yet.

I founds some deals but now I know why they were deals, poor quality which made the paintings being painted harder than they were.

Maybe others have a better insight but as of now I am not impressed with some of what I have used as of now.

It seems that the day of the local art store is gone also, yes you have your chain stores but they don't give you the selection or diversity as the old brick and mortal stores use to. Plus the standard store clerk just don't have the knowledge base to answer questions.

Yes I know this all seems so trivial, but I like things that are simple and with less hassles, don't believe me just look at the different paint manufactures and all the different variations in colors, wow! I remember just being allowed to use four colors and mix to get the desired effect. I also remember that "black" as a color was a no no!. Now you find many artist that have it on their palate.

Well I have gone on to long, it helps to vent a little, maybe I am not the only one out there that gets confused with all the different items in the proverbial candy store of the internet.

If some of you have some suggestion or actual experience in the selection of brushes and all the different paper manufacturers out there give me a shout because I sure don't have the answers.

Thanks for listening ( what I really mean is reading).