Review: Saunders Waterford Watercolour Paper (300GSM Coldpress)

St Cuthberts Mill is located in the southwest of England, and they have been making paper since the 1700s. Saunders Waterford is one of the watercolour paper they make.

The pad that I have is gummed down on all four sides, so it doesn't warp even with heavy washes.

Saunders Waterford is 300GSM (140lb) Coldpress watercolour paper, acid free, 100% cotton, mould made. The paper has two versions, off white and high white. Mine's the off white so colours when applied will have a warm tone to it.

It has a slightly textured, grain fin. It's the same texture that's found on the more affordable Bockingford watercolour paper, which is also from St Cuthberts Mill.

I felt that the vibrance of watercolours is dulled down slightly on the paper. I'm not sure if it's because of the off white surface, or the absorbency of the paper. Personally, I prefer pure white instead of the slightly warm vibe given off by the off white surface. This would be a problem for those who want to retain the colour vibrancy of their pigments.

It absorbs water very well. Actually, saying that it sucks water would not be too far from the truth.

Synthetic brushes, as they don't hold as much water as sable brushes, would be sucked dry by the paper. My friend commented that it's difficult to create a sharp edge with this paper. The reason is because once your brush is without water, you'll get the dry brush effect, hence you won't be able to create a sharp edge. I highly recommend using sable brushes with this thirsty paper.

Because of the water absorption, it's not a suitable paper for fine detail work. It's not easy to handle the brush on the surface, and when you use smaller brushes for detail work, the water gets sucked out very fast.

While the paper can absorb a lot of water, it does dry quite fast as well.

Below are some watercolour sketches I made with the paper. Some of the scanned images have been enhanced, basically those white uncoloured areas without paper texture have all be brightened with Photoshop.


Winsor & Newton watercolours


Schmincke watercolours


Graphitone


Graphitone


Schmincke watercolours


Kremer Pigments


Daniel Smith

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