Art Holiday Accommodation in SW France Details

Tuesday, 27 January 2009


Look at these happy guests with their paintings - but they all started by creating a frame.


Before you pick up a pencil or brush, and before you make even the tiniest mark on a piece of paper, it is important to remember what an impression presentation can make. In the same way as framing creates a whole new dimension for an oil or acrylic painting, a decent white border will give a much smarter look to your drawing or water colour. Then, if you choose to frame it as well, the slickness of your presentation is further enhanced.

So, I always recommend a border of at least 3-4 cms on all sides of the paper. This is best achieved by using a strip of good quality masking tape. You will be surprised what sparkle is added to your efforts when you peel off the tape when you’ve finished. (If you feel you’ve got enough control, you may prefer to draw the border with a soft pencil and work within it. When you rub it out afterwards, the result is the same, if a little less dramatic, at the end).

Choosing the right kind of paper is also part of presentation, and, although I don’t recommend spending a fortune on handmade sheets of fine paper for everything you do, you will avoid disappointment if you choose reasonable stock for watercolours and for drawing.

Your own attitudes and style will help you decide whether to use rough or smooth sheets of paper, and you will probably vary across a range of textures, depending on the subject matter, but I believe that watercolours should never be done on paper less than 200 gms, and preferably 300 gms. Remember that the heavier the stock, the less likelihood there is of the paper buckling and stretching to form pools and mounds where the watercolour pigment is more difficult to control. Drawings can be done on lighter paper, but again, the heavier and more durable the weight, the easier it is to control - especially when using heavier leads to create darker colour or strong textures, and when framing.

Size is equally important, and, although a case can sometimes be made for small works, my recommendation is that you should never bother with any size under A4, and the smallest paper for a watercolour should be at least A3, preferably larger. When you are creating textures and washes you will find it is much easier to control the water and the pigment with larger paper.

Now that you’ve created a suitable area to work within, you can pick up your pencil.

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