their work and words, interviews, blogs, images, hints, tips, websites
and more...

Monday, November 7, 2016

New Stonehenge Watercolor Paper!

I was recently asked to review the new Stonehenge watercolor paper from Legion Paper--they sent me samples*, and although I am VERY happy with it and plan to get more for my journaling projects as well as painting, you know I'll be honest...I've been devoted to Fabriano for years, and this had to measure up to some stiff competition!

It did.

So let's get right at it!  I had small sheets of 300 lb. rough, 140 lb cold press, and 140 lb. hot press to experiment with, and I really put it through its paces.  I threw about everything at it I could think of...

It's a good bright white paper, with both internal and external sizing, so it's pretty tough.  I'm not terribly hard on my paper, but I did use some of the rougher techniques I could think of.

This is the 300 lb. rough paper I tried first...

Salt and scraping...
I worked very wet in wet on the two examples above, and used spatter, spray, salt and scraping--it handled all of those well.  I hadn't stretched or taped the paper down to a board, so it did buckle slightly while wet, but it dried nicely--and since I usually DO tape down my paper when doing an actual painting rather than working in my journal, I don't consider that a problem.  (I didn't notice any buckling in the small journals I made...)

Here I did a variety of small test swatches on the 300 lb. paper..lifting at upper left (scrubbed pretty hard on that one with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and there was some slight pilling, but they brushed off when it was dry); drybrush in the middle that nicely shows paper texture; scraping at upper right with an overlay of soft color.

The graded wash at lower left would have been smoother, but that was MY fault, not the paper's!  Again some lifting, gentler this time and no pilling.  Finally at lower right, nice glazing of colors.

The other papers, both 140 lb. lent themselves to my favorite approach these days, journal making.  I did a meander/maze journal from the hot press,  and an accordion from the cold press, below.


This is the little accordion journal, with cold press paper...fun!
I packed up the accordion and headed out to Watkins Mill to explore its capabilities.  I love that pine tree and it made a terrific subject.

I started with an ink sketch of the trunk, then tried a variety of effects that the cold press paper handled just fine...wet in wet, drybrush, scraping, no problem.

You can see the nice paper texture here...
I painted the small branches with the pointed, sharpened end of my watercolor brush, below.

The finished sketch...

...and playing with approaches and textures on the right...

A graded wash, and drybrush with a flat brush at top and a round one at the bottom.  I enjoyed the texture, which you can see above in this photo taken on a sunny day!  Again a graded was was successful on the CP paper...

I love the way you can work across the fold in this type of book, and just keep going!

Though it IS watercolor paper, I decided to try other mediums as well...different graphite pencils, here...

...some watercolor pencil...

A bamboo brush and ink...

I made the brush from a garden stake...obviously not for detail work, but it seemed to love the paper texture too!

These are some of my favorite pigments...the colors really sing on this paper.
Going for broke here...drawing back into a wet wash with ink below, blotting, edges, spatter, granulating colors, salt and clear water...yep, the paper can take it!
So...was that all?  Nope, still had the hot press to test out, though that little meander journal still has some pages in it to play with...

The cover for the meander journal....

This is the meander journal in the process of making it--3 folds with the grain, three across.  I did notice that the paper's folds were more visible against the grain than with it, though nowhere near as badly as Arches, which tends to crack. 
I couldn't resist my favorite Prismacolor colored pencil for sketching, on the smooth paper...nice...

Of course it took ink and watercolor well...

Granulating paints really show up on this surface...loved that.  It's Daniel Smith's Lunar Black in wet washes...

I got a set of Gansai watercolors and tested them out on the HP paper as well...the colors are brilliant!

And finally many layers of gouache...the smooth, bright paper was perfect!

..as noted in this post, it will be commercially available in December--check with your favorite supplier--but you can get samples to play with right NOW by filling out the form you'll find here... Legion Paper's new Stonehenge in a variety of weights and surfaces: http://www.legionpaper.com/stonehenge-aqua

Try it out and let me know what you think! 

* I received no payment for this review other than the paper itself--full disclosure here! 


  1. Can you please tell me where to find your directions for making the folded journal book. I know you gave it some time ago and I can't find it. Thanks.

    1. That would be this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CffQyRdTDUc&t=2s

      There's more on my CD of course.

  2. Beautiful testing... I assume you still had to pay for the swatches?!

    1. Not sure what you mean by the swatches...but no, I didn't have to pay anything.

  3. Love your review! I sent for my sample too.

  4. Great review! I've been waiting for my samples for about 5 weeks. After reading this, I'm getting excited to try it myself.

  5. I requested a sample pack after reading your post about this paper and I tried it out this past month while in Maine. I LOVED it! My colors dried wonderfully vividly and there was no buckling. Just about to order some from Cheap Joe's now. Thank you for this excellent review, Kate!

  6. I'm so glad you liked it! Isn't it lovely?

  7. Thank you for this wonderful review. I have been wanting to get some Stonehenge watercolour paper and now I will for sure. Wonder if they still will send some free samples!


We'd love your feedback...please share your thoughts!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...