More on my elemental shapes – materials and tools

Continuing on my topic of how I create my elemental shapes with crisp, clean lines…

I’ve experimented alot with different tools and materials over the last 2 years to determine what works the best.  The two keys for me are paper and brushes.

I almost exclusively use Hot Pressed watercolor paper, which has a very smooth, even surface compared to Cold Pressed paper, which is deeply textured and is the paper of choice for most traditional watercolor painters.  The smooth surface of the hot pressed paper allows my elemental shape to set very crisp, defined edges – I think surface tension helps and I posted a bit about that here.  Most of the paper that I use, whether full sheets (22 x 30″) or rolls (51″ x 33′) is Fabriano Artistico Extra White.  I sometimes also use Lanaquarelle, but really prefer Italian-made paper.  I use both 140 lb. and 300 lb. but find that the weight of the 300 lb. paper provides the most stable foundation for a crisp elemental shape.

Brushes are the other tool that I’ve experimented alot with over the years.  I’ve found a few flat/wash brushes to be especially good for creating crisp edges – the Winsor & Newton Sceptre II Gold flat (2″) is one of the best.  I also use Dick Blick Golden Taklon flat brushes (3/4″ and 1″) to paint most of my elementals – they are consistent and inexpensive!

Several of my well-used flat brushes, key for painting crisp elemental shapes!

4 thoughts on “More on my elemental shapes – materials and tools

  1. edtajchman August 21, 2007 / 9:48 pm

    great work, nice to see another abstract watercolorist, I like how you mounted some of your watercolors on canvas, did you do this with acrylic glaze?

  2. davidcastleart August 24, 2007 / 11:50 am

    For details on how I mount my watercolors on canvas, check out my post from earlier this year here.

  3. Rebecca October 11, 2007 / 4:32 am

    Beautiful work, David! I was very interested to read about your paper preference. I like Lanaquarelle myself but find it difficult to find in rolls. Do you know of a source for rolls of Lana paper?

    I really enjoy reading your blog. Becky

  4. organizationquest December 30, 2011 / 3:53 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing so much of your process. I discovered your work that was featured in one of Daniel Smith’s catalogs a couple years ago, and I immediately looked up your blog and have been popping in and out ever since.

    I too have a question about your Element series. The lines are so parallel and perpendicular! How do you do it? Are you able to eyeball it, or do you need to use T-squares and triangles? It is such a very cool look. I really admire it!

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