Fabriano cold pressed watercolor paper test

I received a test sheet of Fabriano Artistico Extra White 140lb Cold Pressed Watercolor Paper in the December 2016 issue of Watercolor Artist magazine.

I usually use Arches papers, mostly because that is what I have always used. I use both hot and cold pressed papers. One reason I like Arches is the consistency - I have used them for so long I know exactly how the papers will respond to different techniques. But sometimes it's good to experiment to push your technical skills and creativity.

Here is the painting I made on the 7 x 9.75” sample sheet:

Autumn Corn , watercolor on Fabriano Artistico cold pressed paper, ©Gayle Mahoney

Autumn Corn, watercolor on Fabriano Artistico cold pressed paper, ©Gayle Mahoney

What I liked:
Overall this paper performed very well. I found it to have some qualities of a cold pressed paper and some qualities of a hot pressed paper. The texture was velvety and fine, and paint flow and pigment distribution was smooth on both wet on wet and wet on dry. I used some areas of Pebeo drawing gum for masking fluid in some areas (the highlights on the corn kernels), which was easy to remove. When the masking was removed, there was no break-down of the paper’s surface and the paper took the paint well.  Color lifting was pretty good, more consistent with hot pressed than cold pressed papers. I loved that the wet paper did not smell like a wet sheep, probably because the sizing is not animal based - which is a plus for me.

What I didn’t like:
When painting over a dry area that had already been painted, the edges bled a bit more than I would have liked and I had to rework some areas a bit to get a hard edge. It wasn’t enough of a problem that I wouldn’t use the paper, but the paper would be ideal for someone who uses a vanishing edge technique or who doesn’t re-work after the first wash.

I would definitely use this paper again, especially if priced competitively against Arches papers.
This paper would be ideal or:
• Any watercolor artist for general use
• Watercolorists who want a paper that has some qualities of hot and cold pressed papers
• Artists who use vanishing edge techniques
• Artists who prefer not using papers with animal-based sizing

I look forward to trying some of their other products in this line. The paper comes in four finishes and weights, in sheets, rolls and blocks, traditional and extra white. I will report here when I try some of the others.