Friday, 15 July 2016

Bockingford Tinted Watercolour Papers - A Review

So some time ago now, the lovely people at St Cuthbert's Mill (based pretty nearby - they're upcountry in Somerset) sent me some papers to try out - samples of every weight and texture combination of Bockingford and Saunders Waterford. The former is chemical pulp and my preferred day-to-day paper - 535gsm/250lb, cold-press. I love the Rough texture even more, but it doesn't come heavier than 425gsm/200lb, and I prefer really heavy paper. The latter is a 100% cotton, heavily sized paper that I like for producing works as gifts or to sell - best of all, it comes at 638gsm/300lb in a Rough texture, which is brilliant! Sadly, it's very expensive for day-to-day use, otherwise I would be using it all the time. They also sent me some of their Millford watercolour paper (which is a facsimile remake of the old Whatman watercolour paper) and their Somerset printmaking paper - more on those later.

As well as the usual White and High White (bright white) finishes, Bockingford now comes in 5 tinted varieties - Oatmeal, Eggshell, Blue, Grey and Cream - these only come as 300gsm/140lb in cold-press, but that's ok. In the samples that St Cuthbert's Mill sent to me, they only sent small maybe 4" × 4" square pieces, so I didn't really know what to do with them and they've been languishing for months! I've never used tinted watercolour paper before but I know people use it to show different moods or times of day and I've been itching to try it but couldn't come up with a way to do it.

Lap dissolve and cut to this week! I discovered the wonderful Peter Sheeler's YouTube channel - he does beautiful urban sketches of wonderful locations all over the world and then paints beautiful layers of transparent glazes over them to create fabulous images. This week I saw a video he did of a painting of a street in Porto, Portugal. I just LOVED this video as the image reminds me a lot of the style of an original watercolour I was given 10 years ago by some friends, of a ruined church in Bulgaria, painted in the late 1990s - I can't read the artist's name, unfortunately, but I'll post the picture at some stage in the future as I love it so much. Anyway, one night I couldn't sleep so I did a version of Peter's sketch, with some differences - I removed the road sign and made a lamp-post for example - and I realised it was the perfect sketch to use to test the Bockingford tinted papers!

I then set about re-drawing it six times which was boring beyond belief - I stopped aiming for replicas and just went with six fairly similar pictures. I then mixed up some nice weak washes and painted all six pictures at once then left them to dry before judging how the tints impacted the mood.

Overall, I liked them a lot - the Grey and Blue were the ones I ended up enjoying the most for the watercolour and the Cream for the line-drawing stage of things. As with all Bockingford papers, masking tape did some damage - keep that in mind. I've embedded my video review, and, below that, there are the different ways you can buy these papers:

Bockingford Trial Pack (2 Quarter Imperial sheets of each of 5 tints) – UK £10.31 (http://amzn.to/29Jz3uc) or USA $14.23 (http://amzn.to/2agIRwM)

Curtisward Bockingford Rainbow Pack (140lb, Cold Press, 11” x 15”, 2 sheets of each tint) – UK £14.99 (http://amzn.to/29INwvR)

Curtisward Bockingford Rainbow Pack (140lb, Cold Press, 7.5” x 11”, 2 sheets of each tint) – UK £7.99 (http://amzn.to/29JzBjN)

GREY (140lb, Cold Press)

11” by 15” (Quarter Imperial) – 20 sheets – UK: £13.11 (http://amzn.to/29AW9qO) OR 200 sheets – UK: £124.12 (http://amzn.to/29CmKAh)

15” by 22” (Half Imperial) – 20 sheets – UK: £23.70 (http://amzn.to/29AWfyR) OR 100 sheets – UK: £124.12 (http://amzn.to/29AWlGy)

22” by 30” (Imperial) – Single Sheet USA: $18.94 (http://amzn.to/2agKgTS)

CREAM (140lb, Cold Press)

11” by 15” (Quarter Imperial) – 20 sheets – UK: £13.11 (http://amzn.to/29Cng13) OR 80 sheets – UK: £49.65 (http://amzn.to/29Z0VMH)

15” by 22” (Half Imperial) – 20 sheets – UK: £23.70 (http://amzn.to/29JAdpr) OR 100 sheets – UK: £124.12 (http://amzn.to/29JAp83)

22” by 30” (Imperial) – Single Sheet USA: $18.94 (http://amzn.to/2agJMgD)

OATMEAL (140lb, Cold Press)

11” by 15” (Quarter Imperial) – 20 sheets – UK: £13.11 (http://amzn.to/29JAvgb) OR 200 sheets – UK: £124.12 (http://amzn.to/29NwcUJ)

15” by 22” (Half Imperial) – 20 sheets – UK: £23.70 (http://amzn.to/29JAdpr)

BLUE (140lb, Cold Press)

11” by 15” (Quarter Imperial) – 40 sheets – UK: £21.25 (http://amzn.to/29AXNZx
)

15” by 22” (Half Imperial) – 10 sheets – UK: £15.55 (http://amzn.to/29IOO9V)

22” by 30” (Imperial) – Single Sheet USA: $18.94 (http://amzn.to/29CD3gy)

EGGSHELL

11” by 15” (Quarter Imperial) – 80 sheets – UK: £49.65 (http://amzn.to/29CnmWy)

15” by 22” (Half Imperial) - 20 sheets - UK: £23.70 (http://amzn.to/29JC4KM)

22” by 30” (Imperial) – 10 sheets – UK: £23.70 (http://amzn.to/29CnAgg)


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    1. You're welcome - the accompanying video has links in the Description to the various products if any of them appeal.
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