As an aside there continue to be rumours circulating that W & N watercolours are not as good as they once were. Is this true? Any views?
I don't know who owns Daler Rowney, the other famous British paint maker, but it certainly isn't the descendants of Mr Daler and Mr Rowney. I believe it is also owned beyond the shores of the UK.
Turning to watercolour paper I see that Saunders Waterford have now introduced their `High White' paper in blocks. Initially I wasn't overly impressed when I tried some sheets shortly after it was introduced. Yvonne Harry didn't like it either but as I made more paintings I became more positive. The well-known artist Ann Blockley is very happy with this paper. The blocks are now available from both Ken Bromley and Jacksons. I've just ordered a 16" x 12" Not block, my favoured size, from Jacksons at £24.30p. I do like Fabriano Artistico Extra White, but they do have this odd size of 18" x 12" and I've taken to reducing it to 16" x 12", which is a waste of paper, especially at close to £30 for a block of 20. Incidentally for those who liked the famous Whatman hand made (and very expensive) paper, which has been discontinued, it is being said that the replacement is Milford. Why replace it and what is the difference between the two?
Actually I live quite near the Waterford Mill and have been mulling over contacting them and asking if I could visit for a blog feature.
Continuing with paper Great Art are offering their Centenaire 100% cotton watercolour paper at the very keen price of £16.10p for a 16" x 12" 20 sheet block. Other sizes relatively priced. This is current as of today. Centenaire is sold in both rough and not surfaces, several different sizes plus sheets. The `normal' price is £18.95p which is still good compared to other cotton papers. This was launched last year at very keen prices but in 2012 it became more expensive. However the competition has moved up in price - and the special offer seems ongoing, at least up to date - so for anyone looking for something that is keenly priced but not made of cellulose then worth looking at.
How good is Centenaire? I have used it for a while and find it satisfactory but think both Waterford and Fabriano still have the edge. The gap isn't obvious though, at least as far as I can tell. Some other artists at Avon Valley Artists are using it and I've just ordered some for several.
Finally I have been entranced by Gerard Hendriks `little' watercolours on his blog http://gerardhendriks.blogspot.co.uk/ , which he describes as a `ten minute' painting a day. I decided to try something similar, although I`m frequently driven off course by amongst other things grandparenting duties and emergencies, like tomorrow with Evie having `suspected' - it may well not be - hooping cough. Anyway the other day I took three remaining Rudbekia blooms and attempted a very loose and simple painting. It was quite large at 15" x 11" on 90lb Fabriano and took about 40 minutes.
I first made a loose drawing, very simple, and then painted using a No 8 Isabey 6228 Kolinsky sable. The idea was to use compliments so I put several blues in the background, Cyan Blue (PB15:3), Prussian (PB27), Ultramarine and Cerulean. there is also some Sap Green and a little Hookers. The flowers are a mixture of Indian Yellow (Rowney PY153), Cadmium Orange (Maimeri PO20) and Hansa Yellow Medium (DS PY97). There may also be minor touches of Raw Sienna and Raw Umber. The flower centres are Burnt Umber and Ivory Black.
Once again comments seem to be drying up. I don't look for praise just feedback really otherwise it is difficult to know what is interesting to readers. That's it folks!