I sketch and paint on papers not intended for watercolor. For example, I’ve found that the Canson Mi-Teintes pastel papers handle watercolor nicely, with a little warping. Mi-Teintes has a 65% rag content, a 98 lb. weight and is gelatin sized making it very strong. The paper has two distinct surface textures, one side smooth and the other grainy. The paper is highly receptive and easy to work on.
A few things to keep in mind when working on a tinted surface…your watercolors will look very different, especially if you use transparent watercolor. The paint will be influenced by the tint of the paper. And use less water so the paper doesn’t buckle too much. Since the paper is tinted you will have no whites to bring a sparkle. I don’t always feel adding white is necessary. I have a small lip gloss container filled with permanent white gouache in my sketch set-up. I don’t keep it on my palette as it dries quickly and becomes useless.
Right now I imagine a few watercolorists are raising their brow when they heard, “WHITE PAINT”. In many circles this is a NO, NO! Well guess what? In my sketchbook anything goes. Here is where I am free to play and break all the rules. One of the great joys of being an artist is experimenting with new subject matter and materials.
I like to paint on ALL kinds of paper (tinted, stained, rough…) and this is only a few of them. A few companies make tinted watercolor papers, but I find the expense unnecessary.
Soon I leave for Tuscany and I plan to work on tinted paper along with watercolor paper. I look forward to sharing my sketches and adventure when I return.