I do think that painters should, no must, try out a variety of different types and brands of watercolor paper if they want to find out which one suits their style of painting best.
Previously I have painted on 300-lb. (640gsm), cold-press watercolor paper from a highly regarded manufacturer. I painted on this paper exclusively for about two years, so I didn’t really have anything to compare it to.
Then I inadvertently bought several sheets of hot-press paper. I was immediately unhappy. Since hot-press paper is relatively smooth compared to cold-press, I was not used to the paint moving around so freely.
I have more control with cold-press paper (considering the medium), and I like it that way. Although I may be doing myself a disservice by not using hot-press, it did make me appreciate the natural attributes of cold-press.
I recently painted on a couple of well-known brands of mass marketed watercolor papers that are sold in hobby and craft stores as well as most all art supply stores in the U.S. Both were 140-lb. (300gsm). Admittedly, I was curious to know if a less expensive paper would make a difference.
It did. Since each came in a pad, one with 12 and the other 15 sheets, I felt compelled to use all of it. Since it was relatively cheaper, I experimented freely with different amounts and ratios of paint to water. I did not like the finish of either brand, and, more importantly, I found both to be too absorbent.
For me that meant the water was absorbed into the paper so quickly that by the time I applied paint, it more or less stayed in one spot and did not disperse as much as I would like. I found this annoying. I then had to use more water than I'm comfortable with, and using too much water has its own consequences.
I don’t think the size or color of paper makes a whole lot of difference except to the painter who may prefer a larger or smaller sheet depending on his or her taste and ability to paint large and/or small. I think color affects one’s ability to judge values as you paint, not the actual act of painting.
I am currently waiting for an online order for a pad of 140-lb. (300gsm) rough paper to arrive. It is from the same manufacturer as the 300-lb. paper that I have used before. I have never before used rough paper, but I am looking forward to trying it out.
Maybe I will find it to be “the one” that will take my paintings to the place I want them to be. We’ll see.
Keep on Painting