Tips, Tricks and Techniques
We enjoy helping others to enjoy their painting, so this page is our opportunity to share techniques we find useful and use ourselves. No doubt we will continue to add to this page...
Why stretch paper?
We always stretch our paper before attempting a painting (even heavier papers). Paper cockles so easily while wet, and it is all too easy to ruin a painting by having a mountain of paper develop across your work, complete with rivers of paint that refuses to stay where you put it and settles into stripey valleys of colour in all the wrong places. Paper that has not been stretched retains its cockled shape as it dries, and will not go flat again, so that even if you have carefully avoided the first set of problems you cannot frame the painting successfully.
If you would like to learn how to do this you may download this .pdf file. If you don't already stretch paper, try it -your paintings are worth it!
While it is perfectly possible to wet the paper under a running tap as shown in the .pdf , we have purchased an oven rack soaking tray from Lakeland Plastics for £11.29 (price correct at time of writing). Ours as ever seen an oven rack in its life. We use it for soaking watercolour paper before stretching, as it fits a half sheet of paper (15" x 22") fairly comfortably. It is great for stretching paper in batches, as one sheet can be soaked while you are stretching the previously soaked sheet. It also avoids having to mop the kitchen floor afterwards!