Thursday, 8 October 2015

Millford Paper Review 
by Barry Herniman

MILLFORD PAPER : Whatman rises again !  by Barry Herniman

Many years ago, more than I care to remember, when I first started exploring the wonders of watercolour one of my favourite papers was Whatman. A very white and hard sized paper which I really enjoyed painting on. Then  it was discontinued and disappeared from the art scene. A while ago I was using a piece of paper from a St Cuthberts Mill Sample pack called 'MILLFORD' which handled in a completely different way to most other papers. So imagine my delight when I rang Cathy at St Cuthberts to ask for some information on it and told it is made to the original Whatman recipe!! So I just had to put it through it's paces and here is what I found...!

Pic 1  Just doodling about with this paper is great fun as the paint sits beautifully on the surface. Because it is a hard sized paper the amount of paint absorbed  is less than that of other softer sized papers and I find that leaves the pigments retain more of their glow when dry.

Pic 2 Lifting out can also be a problem on some 'softer' papers especially with the highly staining pigments. Here I have used Helio Turquoise and Madder red dark, my two most staining colours, let them dry, flicked clean water on them and then blotted out these marks with a tissue.

Pic3  Here I have lifted out a passage from a wash of Helio Turquoise using only a sable brush and a tissue! You can see that I am able to almost return to the white of the paper without having to 'scrub' the paper to do so. The amount of lift out is quite remarkable considering the pigment.

Pic 4  Using masking fluid can also be a problem. I use Schmincke Masking fluid which doesn't contain ammonia and is a lot kinder on the paper. Even so,  lifting off masking fluid from some papers can be fraught with danger as it can sometimes lift the surface of the paper with it. Not with Millford! These masks came away crisp and clean with very little rubbing. ( You might  get the idea I rather like this paper??)

So the logical conclusion to all this was to do an actual painting !

Demo 2  I have masked out some of the main white areas and then laid down some wet 'sea' washes letting the colours merge together on the paper.

Demo 3  Next I start to establish some of the main Areas in the rocks and cliffs and the texture of the paper is great for scumbling colour onto them.

Demo 4  I now lay unifying washes over the rocks and cliffs. The colour sits beautifully on the paper.

Demo 5  I have lifted off all the mask and modified some of the sharper edges. Plus I have given  a stronger wash over the foreground cliff.

Demo 6 Finished painting 'Sea swells' Orkneys   15" x 22"

All that remains is to add the finishing touches, some cracks and fault lines in the cliffs, some shadows on the sea and we're done.

A huge THANK YOU to Barry Herniman for this wonderful article!

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