paul this is great news. i for one thank you for doing the correspndence with arches. i was using arches back in 2007/2008. i must of had a bad lot. i swore i wouldnt never use it again. now i will give them another try.
Being a professional artist, Arches has been my paper of choice since 1966 - I use 140 CP stretched in a wet-on-wet fashion. Recently I bought 100 sheets, not knowing that there is a problem with the paper. Big bad surprise... I feel like you and would rather use it than look around for another paper, or totally change my style and how I paint.
Paul, would you be kind enough to give me - and maybe some of the others - an address for Arches so I can write to them, and help solve the problem.
Brigitte Bowyer Carey
At this point, I am reluctant to give out a method of contacting Arches because complaints such as this can get out of hand. As one of their people told me, there are only two ways watercolor paper can go bad—one is mold and the other is sizing. It took me months to find a way to contact them. The company has been very cooperative and candid. Arches admitted having a problem with a batch turned out in 2007. They believe they have that problem solved. However, I think some of that 2007 paper may still be floating around. I think the best thing is to buy the paper from a large source with a high turn-over of stock, such as Cheap Joe's.
Please write me at my email address— firstname.lastname@example.org. I am interested in knowing what type of problems you had in detail. The problems I had were related to sizing on 300lb.
I just ran across your posts when researching troubles with Arches paper. I am struggling with a painting now after a second start......and don't want to go through this again. I bought my double elephant sheets some time ago..so they could be part of that bad batch. This isn't the first time I've had trouble with Arches paper during that period. It has been very helpful to hear that you, with your experience, has had problems too. I hope you are continuing to be pleased with results from what you're using. Arches has been my paper of choice for 30 years and I don't want to change either!
Like most of us who have been using Arches for some time, I would hate to have to change papers.
I have seen the same problems that I have written about earlier show up on sheets that were recently purchased—color drastically fading and losing intensity with the appearance of tiny white pin holes. This is extremely frustrating. People involved in the paper industry have admitted that this is definitely a sizing problem.
Late last year, Arches asked me to offer them some feedback on a new paper they have developed. I did not have the time to give it extensive testing. However, in the testing I did, it seemed to work pretty good. Personally, I did not care for the fact that it had more texture than we are used to in the standard 300lb cold press. Also, it did not have a smooth side.
I spend a lot of time in preliminary work and when I get into the painting stage, I want to be able to depend on the paper. If you want to discuss this further feel free to email me: email@example.com
I have had this same exact problem with the 140# paper. I bought it several years ago. The white spots appear when it is wetted. Now what I do is, I soak it in and then hold it up to the light to see if there are a lot of these "holes" in the sizing. If there are too many, I throw the paper away. I am thinking I might have to throw all this paper away. I hope they fix this problem soon.
Now that you mention 2007 it makes sense to me.
I'm doing some plein air with a watercolor group that I hooked up with and dug out some old paper since I haven't done watercolor in a while (Arches large sheets) cut them into quarters and I too ran into a problem. If wet out an area across the paper, I get a 3" strip running down it that absorbs the water way more than the rest of the sheet and actually gives me an ivory colored water stain. I will pre wet them and cut out the good sections and move on. But these run back away and I know that normally water color paper doesn't go bad from dry storage in a home. Mine was 140 cold press. The paper is around 4-5 years old - I think.
Arches claims that the sizing problem occured in 2007 and they then fixed it. As a paper rep from Arches emailed me, only two things can cause problems with watercolor paper —sizing and mildew. All of the problems I have written about are sizing problems—as Arches admits.
I have found problem sheets mixed in with good sheets. New sheets direct from Arches have had problems. Last year they gave every indication that this problem would be solved. I do not believe that now.
Personally, I think that there is no match for Arches when you have one of their good sheets. I've come across discussions on other forum sites from several years ago and the artists were blaming themselves for the poor sheet performance. Experienced watercolor artists have emailed me telling me that they are "pulling their hair out in frustration". The entire situation is strange to say the least.
Good job, this makes sense because I noticed the paper was blotchy some time ago and switched to Lanaquarelle. I haven't done that type of work for years and forgot about it until you mentioned it.
I, too have had this problem with 140 lb cold press paper. I notice you first wrote about this almost a year ago.
Has there been any resolution yet?
Until I read your post I thought it was a bad batch of paper that I bought from a nationally known distributor, so I'm really glad to know what's going on.
Did Arches provide any information on how to read the watermark and manufacture code on the paper? I have several sheets of 140 lb that I purchased on sale from a major supplier. It's now four ruined paintings and I am confident that the problems are in the paper.
I found this blog trying to search for items that identifiy problems in the paper. Most comments elude to problems if the sizing is old, but they don't share what those problems are. Or, if there is a remedy.
If the paper is time sensitive or has an expiration date, then it would be nice to know how soon to use it, etc.
No, Arches did not supply any information on how to read their code. The code is somewhere near the infinity symbol in the corner of the paper. The most helpful thing in talking to the supplier and Arches is the lot or batch number of the paper. Those numbers should be on the paper sticker on the clear plastic wrapping of packages about 25 or more sheets. Sometimes an art store will keep the paper in the clear plastic wrapper when it is in the display rack.
To my knowledge, watercolor paper is not time sensitive. As one Arches representative mentioned, in general, there are only two things that can go wrong with watercolor paper—mold and sizing. The problems I have run into have been caused by sizing—inconsistent sizing.
In an earlier posting, I mentioned what I am doing to try to deal with what seems to be a running problem—soaking the paper for 10 minutes, stretching it and when ready to paint I wash it down two times with a natural sponge. Before painting, in the margin area, I try a small rectangle test wash of about 50% ultramarine blue. I do this on all sides — top, bottom, left, and right. The danger of too much washing or scrubbing of the paper is that some of the sizing can be washed off.
If you have had the same problem with all of the sheets, I would suggest you calling the supplier and asking for replacement sheets. If you need the contact information for Arches, email me. You will find my email at my website. The link is below.
hi ! I also experienced this problem in FABRIANO 140lbs cold press. I bought this papers about 6 months ago. these days i used this papers again. But i discovered i can't use these anymore. Like your case, these things have the problem that occur White points. So i want to know whether the problem of these things is responsible for FABRIANO or Arches, or i have a responsiblity for my mistake of managing my papers. In spite of this fact, I think there might be the problem of these papers.
Hi! I am not a paper expert but the problem you explained sounds similar to the problems a lot of people have had with Arches 140 and 300. Remember only two things can make watercolor paper bad, mildew and sizing.
Do you see the washes of paint drying much lighter and much less intense than you would normally expect? Is the paint drying somewhat chalky? Also, does the paper seem to resist the paint? The tiny white points and some or all of the things just mentioned are an indication of too much sizing on the paper. Sometimes the sizing can be inconsistent. Then the problems only happen in some ares of the paper.
This can be a very frustrating problem. I soak my paper and then mount it usung staples. After it is dry, I wash it down again with a natural sponge. Then, before painting I try a small test wash in the margin area top, bottom and sides.
I hope this answers some of your questions.