"Start with a style and you are in chains; start with an idea and you are free." Richard Avedon

Art Supply Questions

Q. What should I use to fix watercolors painted on gesso-coated or Yupo paper?
A. Blair 201 spray has been recommended to me. You can also try Krylon 1311 Matte Spray or Krylon 1305 UV Resistant Spray.

Q. What are pencils made of?
A. Graphite and lead pencils are made of a crystallized form of carbon (soot) that is mixed with wax and pressed into pencil molds. The less wax, the harder the pencil. Carbon and charcoal pencils are made of charred wood products that are pulverized and mixed with a little bit of gum.

Q. What is paper sizing in watercolor papers?
A. Unsized paper absorbs paint like a blotter, preventing manipulation of the paint. Sizing allows paint to flow over the surface, improving washes and permitting the lifting of some colors. Manufacturers use different methods and materials for sizing watercolor papers. Internal sizing is mixed with the paper pulp and external or tub sizing is applied to the finished sheet of paper. Some papers have both. A heavily sized paper may resist paint a little too much, so sometimes I lightly sponge a sheet of paper before I begin to paint to soften the sizing. If you stretch your paper, you probably won't have this problem.

Q. What is cold press watercolor paper?
A. Watercolor paper has three main surfaces: hot press, cold press and rough. Hot press is very smooth, rough is highly textured, and cold press is somewhere between the two. Cold press is probably the most commonly used because watercolors are harder to control on smooth paper and rough tends to create more texture than many artists prefer. Paper surfaces will differ greatly from one manufacturer to another, so you may find a cold press paper that seems more like hot press or a rough paper that is extremely heavily textured.

Q. Which is the right side of watercolor paper?
A. The side you like best. Actually, there is a watermark and/or an embossed logo which can be found on most quality papers by holding to the light. You will be able to read the company's name correctly on the "right" side of the paper. However, most paper surfaces are different front and back, so choose whichever you prefer.

Here is more information on watercolor supplies.

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