Arches Hot Press Watercolor Paper Review
The Arches factory was founded in 1492. Paper is still made in the original factory in Lorraine, France. Paper is made from 100% cotton rag and natural gelatin sizing. Paper is made on a cylinder roll, so there are 2 natural deckles and 2 torn deckles on a full sheet. Paper is air dried.
Arches is owned by Canson. Arches is made at the same French mill as BFK Rives paper.
Arches manufactures more sizes and weights of artist grade watercolor paper than any other paper company I know of. It's marketed as professional artist grade watercolor paper. I generally have a roll of huge Arches in stock as well as a few blocks!
Arches is a good, all around workhorse paper. Arches hot press is not extremely slick. Cold press is not extremely textured and the rough is not very rough. Arches is a basic, reasonably consistent paper for most work.
Well, sometimes you want a really slick hot press or a rough with a lot of tooth.
Arches is well known for smelling like cat pee when wet. Frankly, that smell doesn't affect the painting.
Sometimes the sizing is patchy. You won't know the sizing is patchy until you're doing a wash and it shows up in blotches of extremely saturated or resistant paper. Awful. You usually can't return it either - because you've "used" it.
However, the quality control of most watercolor paper companies is well, sketchy. If you buy enough paper, you'll end up with some bad batches.
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Arches is a good, basic paper. There's nothing exciting about it, but it usually delivers consistently. I think the quality has gone down recently, quality control is letting a lot of things slip through. But if you're lookin for a basic workhorse paper, Arches is ideal.