First of all, I like to work on several paintings at one time. I may have up to 4 paintings in various stages of completion on any given day. The watercolor above is on a full sheet (22″ by 30″) of D’Arches 140 lb cold press watercolor paper.  I prefer to work on flat paper so I take the extra time to stretch watercolor paper to prevent buckling while I am painting. This technique of stretching the paper is described below.

Stretch Watercolor Paper

I fill the bathtub with several inches of water and then I soak the watercolor paper for 2 minutes. The large sheet of paper will need to be moved around as it is soaking because it is wider than a standard tub. I then lay the paper onto a thin piece of marine plywood and staple all along the edges of the paper about every 2-3 inches. The staples can be seen in the photo above. I use a heavy duty stapler with 1/4″ deep staples so they do not go through the back of the plywood. I let this dry before starting the painting.

Any plywood can be used for stretching but it should be primed before using because it will be repeatedly getting wet each time you stretch paper.

For more examples of flowers on watercolor paper follow this link