This review was written for the SAA 'Paint Magazine' September 2014 after they re-formulated their popular product:
I was recently sent some samples of the SAA’s very popular watercolour ‘practice paper’ to try. The SAA have upgraded and improved their previous product and I was given the opportunity to try it out for myself. This is a product that I have been familiar with for many years, very economical and good quality, I recommend it to all my beginner students. When you are starting out the last thing you want to worry about is ruining an expensive sheet of hand made paper! I also use this paper in my demonstration workshops and put little squares of it out in all my classes for students to try their colours on.
The first thing I noticed is that the new paper is whiter than the previous one, something that is quite important to me. As always I stretched the paper onto board before using, and left it until the next day when it was flat and dry. Stretching is not hard to do and will hugely improve the working surface of any paper.
I decided to do a little sample painting of the peach coloured poppies in my garden. Wanting to try a range of watercolour media I used a combination of my favorite Talens paints, as well as some excellent SAA watercolours, watercolour pencils and even some ‘Brusho’ pigment powder.
As with the previous practice paper this one is fairly smooth, being close to a ‘hot press’ surface in some other ranges. The advantage with smooth paper is that you can get more accuracy; the disadvantage is that it can be harder to control washes. However, the paper took wet into wet techniques well and was equally responsive to flat washes and some of the mixed media I applied. The brightness of the paper shone through the pink flowers and I was very happy with the result. Due to its smooth surface beginners will find it easy to put an initial drawing down, this paper would also be very suitable for other techniques such as pen and wash, mixed media and collage.
I had hoped that the new paper would be as good as the previous one; I was relieved to find that it is far better!
A LIMITED EDITION SIGNED PRINT OF THIS PAINTING IS AVAILABLE HERE
Materials used for this review:
SAA NOT 'Practice Paper' Talens ‘Rembrandt’ watercolours, SAA Watercolours, Derwent watercolour Pencils, SAA ‘Silver’ brushes.