Australian Fine Artist

Canson Representative Glen Touric

Papers, Paints, Pastels and Inks

I know a lot of people nearly dozed off during this demonstration but I believe that as professionals we need to know as much as possible about the materials available on the market. Not only for our own use but as some of us may venture into teaching, giving demonstrations at art guilds or even mentoring other artists we should be armed with the best advice we can give. If we want to produce art that will last the test of time we also must be aware of what materials to select. Galleries and some collectors will not purchase art make from inferior materials, and rightly so. They are making an investment and want to make sure it is a good one.

I have previously had separate standards and quality of paints and surfaces in the studio and have divided my materials into about three categories. The demo has given me cause to plan changes.

1. Stuff I use to experiment and learn on
(lower grade artist quality)
I think I will be gradually culling out this lot as sometimes I do something I wish I had done on better canvas for example because it has worked so well.

2. Stuff I intend to go out into the market place but at a mid range price
(mid grade artist quality)
My goal is now to have this as my my lowest grade of materials in the studio in future.

3. Really serious stuff that I hope will last a long time and be passed on to the buyer’s descendants.
(the best I can afford – hopefully gallery quality).
It’s nice when you have leftovers from this lot so you can use them to experiment with and get used to using the better quality.

As I already use Canson products I know they are great quality. Now that I use Tex paper for pastels I can’t go back to anything cheaper. Similarly for watercolour paper. The only other brands I have used and liked were Saunders and Fabriano.

I have a great selection of pastels and can attest to the quality of Rembrandt and Schminke and they are great to use. Rembrandts can be layered without anything major falling off the paper – my framers love me for this.

What I didn’t understand as clearly before the talk was the mechanics of pre-production for paper making as far as the additions and that no brightening agents were in Arches papers. I also enjoyed the learning of the differences between Foundrinier and Mould Made papers. Learning about the extra long fibres and the extra final process that Arches put their paper through was very interesting.

I wasn’t aware of the technique used for making sure coloured papers held their colour all the way through or that special orders can be made for extra large sheets of Tex (up to 10x100cm).

The chart showing how colour works for various paints and pastels was very interesting, as the binders and fillers are sometimes a mystery. I just knew that Schminke were about the best but not why.

I learned about Schminke inks and how they will last longer as they have more intense colour and better coverage and will get some better acrylics when I get to using them again in future after seeing the difference.

I already have some W&N watercolours that I have had for many years so they are from before they moved their manufacturing plant but am looking at Art Spectrum Artists Quality or Schminke for replacements now I have seen the difference.

I enjoyed seeing the practical demonstration of how papers reacted to water and it was a bit surprising to see the 300gsm buckle so much. It has made me more aware of being careful when selecting a paper for specific tasks with water colours or inks.

In future I think I will be able to ask my art supplier more specific questions and zero in on more appropriate materials when purchasing for a project because of this demonstration.

A bonus was the generous gift of some of the samples at the end, which I am very happy with!

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