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Friday 1 December 2023

Testimonial: Miguel Angel Lacal Garcia on Saunders Waterford


Miguel Angel Lacal García is a Spanish multidisciplinary artist with more than 24 years working in the art world, both as an illustrator and as part of the Art in Animated Films team.

Miguel likes to work with Saunders Waterford 300gsm (140lb) 100% cotton paper, in a Rough texture, although for finer paintings he prefers the smooth HP paper.

How long have you been using Saunders Waterford and how did you discover it?

When I started painting in watercolour, about 11 years ago, I only made small marks on papers that were not the most suitable for my technique and I realised that something was wrong. Precisely at that time, it was when I discovered one of my favourite painters, Joseph Zbukvic, and saw that he used Saunders Waterford 300gsm paper; it was then that I became interested in making larger paintings using this paper where I noticed a huge and obvious difference. Currently, Saunders Waterford has become an ally that has accompanied me in my painting career since then.

El Realejo, Granada by Miguel Angel Lacal García

What are the qualities of Saunders Waterford that you enjoy? 

Overall, it is an excellent paper. If I had to say what I like the most, it would be how the colours blend on its surface and how this paper keeps the colours bright.  It is the best paper I have ever tried (and I can assure you that I have tried many).

Sunset Seascape by Miguel Angel Lacal García

Which painting techniques do you use on Saunders Waterford?

I already have my watercolour technique very refined, and I normally make my paintings in two washes; the first wash is wet on wet and once dry, I move on to the second wash. Once finished, I proceed with the final dry touches to highlight some parts and add details.

Playa de la Mata, Torrevieja, Alicante by Miguel Angel Lacal García

Follow these links to find out more about Miguel Angel Lacal Garcia’s work:




Watercolour classes:

To learn more about the Saunders Waterford range visit our website:

Wednesday 1 November 2023

St Cuthberts Mill Award Winners at TALP Open Art Competition 2023


As The Artist and Leisure Painter Open Art Competition (TALP) 2024 Call for Entries opens this month, we are pleased to feature the winners of the St Cuthberts Award from this year’s competition.

TALP, in partnership with Patchings Art Centre, has been offering artists of all abilities the chance to earn recognition and prizes for their artwork for more than 25 years.

Each year they invite submissions of two-dimensional works in any media (including drawings, paintings, printmaking and digital artwork) to two categories - amateur painters in the Leisure Painter category, and from more experienced and professional artists in The Artist category.

Awards include the St Cuthberts Mill Awards worth £600 (three prizes of £200 worth of watercolour paper). Congratulations to the winners of St Cuthberts Mill Awards in The Artist Exhibition and the Leisure Painter exhibitions, as shown at Patchings Art Festival 2023.

The Artist Exhibition winners:

‘Porthmadog Quayside’ by Mark Buck

Mark paints watercolour in an energetic and loose style, mostly plein air and uses St Cuthberts Mill Millford 300gsm cold pressed watercolour paper. “Very pleased to say my watercolour Porthmadog Quayside won the St Cuthberts Award in the Artist section at TALP. Thank you so much. I will certainly put my prize to good use.”

‘River Thames, London’ by Sophie Penstone

“I am a watercolour artist from Cornwall who is always inspired by the Cornish landscape around me, but I’m also increasingly drawn to city views. I wanted to create a sense of receding distance in this painting so chose to paint the horizon as loosely as possible, extracting details as much as I could but including recognisable features towards the lower half of the painting. I painted this with only five colours to keep the tone harmonious throughout.”

The Leisure Painter exhibition:

‘Late Autumn Grasses’ by Pam Williams

“I’m a self-taught artist fascinated by watercolour painting a variety of subjects, mostly landscapes, to capture atmosphere, mood and light with economy of brushstrokes.”

To find out more about TALP and how to enter visit


Sophie Penstone 
Patchings Art Centre 

Find out more about Millford paper on our website.


Thursday 5 October 2023

How to Overcome Artist’s Block - with Jenna Rainey


Ambassador Jenna Rainey shares six steps to help artists overcome a creative block taken from her own experience.

Jenna Rainey is a watercolour artist, surface pattern designer, and illustrator, born-and-raised in Southern California. What started as a stress-relieving activity from a desk job in finance, quickly turned into the creative business of her dreams.
Art unlocked something in her that changed every aspect of her life. She now inspires hundreds of thousands of people to find and express their own creative voice through her YouTube Channel, best-selling watercolour how-to books, art retreats, and online courses.

Photo credit: Michael Radford

Six steps to overcome artist's block by Jenna Rainey

Set the Scene
This may sound obvious or simple, but clean your desk, put on some good music and set the scene. If my desk feels cluttered or there’s any stress in the environment whatsoever, I find it hard to be truly inspired to paint and be creative. Give yourself the upper hand by setting the scene!

YUP. Going for a walk or doing a 20-minute at-home workout can make all the difference in my energy and the way my mind works while I’m trying to be creative. Think about the masters back in the day. Many of them were painting outside, they walked a whole lot more and they didn’t have smartphones to check every four seconds.

Photo credit: Voda Films

Journaling my thoughts and inspirations before my painting time always helps to calm my mind. It opens it up to ideas I wouldn’t normally have if I just jumped right into painting. Bust out your favourite journal and just let the words flow.

Get outside
Similar to step number exercise, but make sure you’re getting some good sun and fresh air. Your body needs it, your mind needs it. It will impact your creative process. I promise. You use your body and your mind while you’re painting, right?! 

Photo credit: Zach Sorenson
Jenna painting on Saunders Waterford

Ditch perfectionism
There are a lot of perfectionists out there. But something that I’ve found interesting about perfectionism is that it mostly stems from a fear of failure or Imposter Syndrome. Think about it. Not starting a painting because you need to have everything just right or scrapping something before it’s finished and getting down on yourself…every artist has crumpled up pieces in their trash. Embrace it and keep going! Nothing is going to be perfect.

Try ‘The Artist’s Way’ Book
‘The Artist’s Way’ book is the perfect tactile book for taking you through a 12-week journey on getting unstuck from artist’s blocks. It’s truly awesome! I worked through it a couple of years ago and still come back to it to this day to remind myself of practices and mindsets that help with getting out of creative ruts.

Our thanks to Jenna Rainey for sharing her advice, originally posted on her blog.

To hear Jenna Rainey’s thoughts on watercolour paper read her ultimate guide

To see more about Jenna Rainey, see her links:
Jenna Rainey is an ambassador for Saunders Waterford, see her biography on our website

To learn more about Saunders Waterford that Jenna uses visit our website.

Monday 4 September 2023

Steamroller Printing at Tacoma Wayzgoose Print Festival

Ambassador Kathryn Anderson is a professional printmaker and printmaking tutor living in Tacoma, Washington, USA. At this year’s printmaking festival, Tacoma Wayzgoose, she was part of a unique experience – printing big linocuts using a steamroller!

Kathryn's lino cut design in the making

Kathryn shares more about the event:

"Wayzgoose is a traditional celebration of printmaking where artists get together to celebrate and share their work. This annual printer’s event dates to the 16th century. In these modern times, it has evolved into a community event where printmakers share their work and provide hands-on demos for the attendees. I love this all-ages event where everyone is welcome. It’s a wonderful way to teach about printmaking and to build community."

Kathryn rolling ink onto her large linocut

"My favourite aspect of Wayzgoose this year was the creation of giant linocut prints that were printed with a steamroller! These 24” x 36” linocuts were carved by professional artists and high school students. It was a wonderful day of printing and sharing the joy of printmaking."

Reveal of the print after being rolled

"Pulling that first print of a newly carved block is always exciting, but printing a giant block outdoors with a steamroller for a press is just incredible! It takes a team of printmakers working together to make each print a success. I love the camaraderie and the absolute joy in lifting that first print off the block and presenting it to a waiting crowd. We all shared those moments of delight and appreciation for everyone’s work. A very happy day indeed!"

The team with the finished print

"Big thanks to St Cuthberts Mill for providing beautiful Somerset Satin paper for the artists! They printed so incredibly beautifully! We all left with lovely work, inky hands, and great big smiles!"

Take a look at the Instagram reel!

"Three Owls" 24" x 36"

Prints of the same design printed at Kathryn’s studio are available to buy on her Etsy shop.

To see more of Kathryn Anderson’s impressive prints follow these links:

To find out more about Tacoma Wayzgoose, visit


To learn more about Somerset printmaking papers visit our website.

Tuesday 1 August 2023

Technique: Using Masking Fluid with Joris Munier


Ambassador Joris Munier is a French artist from Brittany, now living in Boston, USA, specialising in watercolour techniques.

Joris shares the technique of using masking fluid on watercolour paintings, with his ‘Red Deer’ painting as an example.

Masking Fluid Technique

“In this watercolour painting of a deer, I am using Daler Rowney Masking Fluid to make the backgrounds, and the grass in the foreground. It allows me to be 100% focus on the application of watercolour when a part of my drawing is protected, in this case, the deer and grass.”

“It's important to always apply a thin layer of masking fluid on the paper, if you put too much of it on you will have some trouble removing it with the risk of damaging your paper.”

“A quality paper is also important to avoid any issues with masking fluid - my personal preference is Saunders Waterford High White Cold Pressed 638gsm (300lb) paper.

“During the masking fluid application, I wash my brush every 10 min with hot water to prevent the masking fluid from drying out on the brush.”

“When I'm done with the application of watercolour around the protected parts of my drawing, I simply scratch the masking fluid with my finger to gently remove it. Now, I can focus on the rest of my painting.”

With thanks to Joris Munier for sharing his painting techniques.  

To see more of Joris Munier’s paintings follow these links:

To learn more about the range of Saunders Waterford paper visit our website.

Friday 9 June 2023

Testimonial: Edo Hannema on Saunders Waterford


Ambassador Edo Hannema’s passion is for painting landscapes, with calm water and expansive Dutch skies playing a dominant role in his paintings. Saunders Waterford is a favourite of Edo’s who is an expert at capturing the sparkling light and intimate atmosphere of these distinctive landscapes in watercolour.

'Windmill De Swaen' (Winter Windmill Nieuw-Beijerland) Saunders Waterford 300gsm (140lb)

How long have you been using Saunders Waterford and how did you discover it?
Saunders Waterford and my watercolour work goes back a long way. It must have been back in the nineties. I already used Bockingford at that time when I bought my paper at a store that only had a counter; you could not sniff around. For a lot of artists, it was not so pleasant, but for me it was perfect. There was no internet yet, but they did have a catalogue and I knew this catalogue inside out. The paper section gave me the magic 638gsm type of paper, so I decided to buy myself a pack of 10, and from that day on I was hooked on Saunders Waterford. In 2016, I became Ambassador for St Cuthberts Mill papers and it was a huge honour for me.

Ameland, Low Tide on the Wadden isles, Saunders Waterford 300gsm (140lb)

What are the qualities of Saunders Waterford that you enjoy?
The quality of Saunders Waterford is its consistent quality over the years, and it can take the most pigment and water from all the watercolour papers out there!
Now, I don't load up heavy pigments, but I use a lot of water, because water is the soul of watercolour. My friend and teacher Kees van Aalst did this too. Soft tones, but a lot of water. “Watercolour has to whisper, and never shout”, he told me once.

American barn, Saunders Waterford CP (NOT) White 300gsm (140lb)

Do you choose the type of surface (Rough or Cold Pressed) depending on the subject you are painting?

Yes, I do, when I paint buildings, I choose the Saunders Waterford Rough, and make sure the texture of Saunders Waterford is horizontal along with the brickwork. The structure of the paper makes them look like stones, also due to the granulation of the pigment.

For portraits or my soft wetlands, I would take the Cold Pressed (NOT) version. It has just enough texture to make a delicate rough brushstroke. 

And I also have a Hot Pressed 638gsm (300lb) pack in my studio, which is great for Line and Wash, or a detailed pencil drawing with a light wash over it.

Saunders Waterford paper has got so much body and stays flat all the time.

When I started painting, I bought a book from an American painter and he always painted whole sheets, and 638gsm (300lb). I can see why. But this said, I stretch 300gsm (140lb) sheets, and they will also paint wonderfully.

Brontë Country, Yorkshire UK, Saunders Waterford block 300gsm (140lb)

Is there anything else you would like to share about Saunders Waterford?

A lot of artists I know paint on the back of Saunders Waterford Rough. The reverse side is slightly rougher than the Cold Pressed surface but a little smoother than the Rough paper. And you paint like a dream on that side too!

'Misty Ditch', Farmland Oostgaag, Saunders Waterford 300gsm (140lb) Rough reverse side 

Read our useful article 'Can I paint on Both Sides?'

To see more of Edo Hannema's inspiring paintings follow these links:






To learn more about the range of Saunders Waterford paper visit our website.

Friday 26 May 2023

Printmaker Jemma Gunning captures the Mill’s past


We are thrilled to present a special project by local printmaker Jemma Gunning.

Jemma specialises in creating magnificently large fine art prints celebrating the beauty found in fading heritage. After a visit to St Cuthberts Mill, Jemma captured the unused parts of the historical building by creating detailed etchings and lithographs on her favourite paper, Somerset Satin.

We have enjoyed watching Jemma’s creative process and her final prints are so impressive! She has recorded in print the beauty of these unused areas where nature comes and reclaims and will be treasured for years to come.

Visiting the Mill

When Jemma came to visit the Mill it was a wet Autumnal day which added to the atmospheric feeling of the unused parts of the buildings. Rain dripped through the cracks in the roof and formed puddles with reflections from the windows.

As we entered the old boiler house, Jemma pointed out, it smelt of mushrooms, and we saw that many of the areas were taken over with plant life. Due for demolition soon, it felt important to capture this part of the Mill’s history before it goes.

We stopped at a mezzanine to view the huge space and take some photos from up high. Then Jemma put on protective gear before stepping down to explore further. 

Jemma shares her experience of her visit:

“Being invited to look round an old traditional working paper mill with areas of decay felt like an offer I couldn’t turn down! Plant life was creeping into the redundant areas of the workshops that not many people get to see.

Reclaiming the forgotten parts of the factory, it won’t be long until the natural forms get under the surface of the building and erosion and weathering starts to happen, forming fragments of the past."

"Being shown around the disused parts of the factory felt like I was going back in time, where the paper makers were a portal to the past. Old machinery conjured up stories of a bygone era where my imagination wandered back in time to all the people who possibly once stepped foot inside. 

It was a true privilege to see these discarded parts. Not much has changed apart from electrification and new members of staff."

Capturing the past

"Learning about traditional paper making and seeing the factory, created an appreciation for the craft, one that I was keen to document using St Cuthberts Mill paper! My practice is based around the recording of abandoned heritage spaces and landscapes that are in a state of flux, to capture a moment in time. It seems appropriate to create a series of work based on the fading parts of St Cuthberts Mill before they are demolished, and those historic elements are gone forever."

Print process 

Over the last few months since her visit, Jemma has been creating a series of impressive artworks with a variety of print techniques on Somerset Satin 300gsm White paper. 

Jemma describes her creative process:

“When I first start a new project, I begin with a series of drawings and monoprints to help get the creative juices flowing. This is generally after a site visit where I will make quick sketches and take reference photographs. When I am photographing a space I find I am drawn to high contrast lighting where reflections become those portals to the past."

"When I am back in my studio I use monotypes to help me decide on compositions and tones. The loser more painterly marks I then use in my etchings. Once I have decided on which composition I want to turn into an intaglio print, I start with a hardground etching. A hardground is where I apply a wax ground to a copper plate that is an acid resist. I then smoke the plate to make the copper go a dense black so I can easily see where I am drawing."

"Then the magic truly begins (actually, every step of the etching process is rather magical)! I take my etching needle and glide it over the plate to reveal the shiny copper underneath. Once I have completed my drawing, I then submerge the plate in a bath of acid to eat away at the exposed lines. Once etched, the areas that have been incised will hold ink when I come to print. When put through an etching press these lines will transfer to paper… usually Somerset Satin 300gsm.

My copper plates go in and out of the acid multiple times using multiple processes. I use sugar lift aquatint to create a range of marks and to build up tone resulting in the desired outcomes.”

Somerset Satin

“I've been using Somerset Satin for nearly 10 years now. For me, no other paper can compare to its quality. Due to it being a cotton paper, it picks up all the subtle tones and marks that I make. The fibres of the paper suck the blacks out of an aquatint creating dark rich velvety areas of tone. It's consistent and reliable which is another reason why I choose this paper over others. It's also made local to me, which helps with trying to keep my practice as sustainable as I can.”

Watch the video

Our thanks to Jemma Gunning for sharing her media and thoughts for this blog post.

To see more of Jemma Gunning prints follow these links:

To learn more about Somerset printmaking papers visit our website.