Friday, September 21, 2018

Large Scale Water Colors Underway at Highlands Part 2

It's time for the last steps! This is the best and scariest part, stretching the paper to the substrate. For the building and prepping of substrate on which to stretch watercolor paper, see the post below. Why are we doing this?? Because when you paint on watercolor paper, it wrinkles both as it gets wet and more so when it dries. To avoid this, we soak and stretch the paper to something rigid and archival. 

Day 4, step 22: One side of the paper probably has light sizing on it, and this is the side you want to paint on. Dribble a little water on each side. The side which bubbles up and absorbs slower is the side you want UP, the side with sizing that you will paint on. Mark that side with an x in pencil. 

Day 4, step 23: spray the watercolor paper THOROUGHLY. Not damp, wet. Especially if you are working with large paper, as it will absorb and dry as you go. 

Day 4, Step 24: flip the paper, keeping track of what side is UP, and soak the other side evenly as well. 
Day 4, Step 25: check the prepared surface of your substrate: are there any lumps, bumps, dust, gloppy gesso? If so, lightly and carefully sand these areas with a sanding block. Then wipe the surface down to make sure it is free from all dust and debris. 

Day 4, Step 26: Pour PVA size on the prepared, clean surface of your substrate. We got six paintings worth out of this 32 oz bottle. (The paintings are 4' x 7')

Day 4, Step 27: Roll out PVA evenly on surface, it should not be pooling once you roll it, but it should be as thick as it can be without pooling. Be generous along the edges.
Day 4, Step 28: Place wet but not dripping, pooling, or soaking paper onto PVA sizing on substrate. Pull paper FLAT not TIGHT. 
Day 4, Step 29: roll paper out from center to edge in a star pattern, but in the same way you would tighten lug nuts on your car. This keeps the paper from twisting, which will create wrinkles. Use firm pressure. This presses the PVA into the paper from the back and also pulls excess water out of the paper.

If you don't use the X pattern first, you will get large bubbles. Removing the bubbles is possible by lifting the paper and re positioning it, or by rolling quickly toward the edge, but remember, the paper is drying fast. You want it to be damp, firm, secure, with no bubbles when you finish. 
Day 4, Step 30: When you are finished with the star pattern, roll firmly from center to edge as you move around the paper, stretching the paper like a pie crust over the edge of the substrate and removing all the excess water you can.
Day 4: Step 31: Make sure you put drop cloths on the floor, and wipe them clean as you go (we had one person rolling and one person wiping down the drop cloth.) Why you ask? Because if PVA size gets on the front of the paper, it will dry clear, but your paper will have a resist to it in the areas where the PVA touched it. Neat and tidy is the name of the game in watercolors. 
Day 4, Step 32: Turn off the lights and shine a flashlight sideways at the paper. Is it fully adhered? Are there any bubbles? Roll the bubbles out from center to edge so the air can escape. Water and PVA will pour out from under the paper, be prepared for this and DO NOT get it on your roller!

Day 4, Step 33: Paper is white, clean, stretched, smooth and overhanging on all edges. Awesome! Layer a thin drop cloth on top of the paper to slow the drying and protect the paper from the paper press. Make sure there are no wrinkles in the drop cloth or they will emboss the paper. 

Day 4, Step 34: Put the next substrate on top of the paper and drop cloth. Line it up as best you can with corners so that the edges adhere well. 

Day 4, Step 35: Repeat the process!

This is how wet the paper should be.

Day 4, Step 25: Add a piece of MDF on the top and place weights on the top of the whole shebang. Leave to dry for 36 - 48 hours. 

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