Information about Hot Pressed Watercolor Paper

I have just been asked a question regarding the surface of Hot Pressed papers. I will post the answer here as I am sure this explanation may also be of interest to you all:

I find the best surface for my purposes is Arches 140lbs Hot Pressed paper.

Hot pressed paper does require stretching if you are using water on your painting. However a study painted in dry brush probably would not require stretching.

There is also 300lb hot pressed available. This may not need stretching as long as you are not using a great deal of water.

When painting in my usual style of watercolor realism, no matter which weight of paper I was using, I would still need to stretch it as I use a great deal of water when painting in my style.

I generally use 140lbs Arches Hot Pressed for a number of reasons:

It has the hardest gum size on the surface which means you have more time to manoeuvre your paint before it is absorbed into the paper.

I also means it can take a lot of battering without showing distress to the surface or fibres.

Arches Hot Pressed paper is generally quite smooth so it is also ideal for reproduction purposes.

It is interesting to note that Arches 90lb and Arches 300lbs Hot Pressed has much less size on the surface so the paint and water is absorbed much more quickly than it is when using 180lbs Hot Pressed.
90lbs Hot Pressed also buckles readily even if stretched.

I immerse my paper for 3 minutes. Then stretch it using water activated watercolor stretching tape.
I dry it flat.

The heavier the paper does not mean it is a better paper to paint on. It simply means different weight papers have different gum sized surfaces as explained above. But each paper manufacturer will use a different set of criteria.

Fabriano Artistico is a good paper but the size is very soft. It is easier to damage the surface and the paper absorbs water very quickly.

It is a good paper but for different painting methods than mine.

I do hope that helps.

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