First a confession. This piece is all digital from start to finish. My process has had to change this week due to mechanical problems. Mainly my big 12" x 17" scanner is on the fritz. So while I'm seeing if it can be fixed, I have resorted to the Cintiq. It's a really nice Cintiq, ( 24" HD) but it isn't like gouache on paper. That is what I've used for the last 20 years or so. The last five years I've been tweaking things in Photo Shop more and more. The reason for THAT is Strathmore paper got bought by Grumbacher. Their standards are not what Strathmore was and as a result the "Strathmore" Bristol went to shit. I would buy big packs of Bristol because I painted everything on it and I went through quite a lot of it. Then the new stuff made by Grumbacher came out. Well, it should have come on rolls so you can keep it in the bathroom, because it was crap compared to the earlier Bristol. I was and still am very aggravated about this. Initially I had spent about $400 on a pack of this new crap. I didn't know that the change had occurred on a permanent basis, because I struggled through this bad batch of paper. The guy at New York Central Art Supply said I probably got a batch of paper that was at the end of some deteriorating screens they used in the process. So on good faith, I bought a smaller, but still expensive, pack and had the same results.
So there isn't a good quality paper I have found in the last seven or eight years since. I've used some quality hot press watercolor papers, but they aren't as tight and resilient as the old Strathmore. This has caused me to spend a lot more time on a painting than I formally did to get near the same results. The Cintiq has at least helped with some shortcuts but it lacks texture and spontaneity that actual painting naturally gives you. The cintiq is probably good for some people, but personally I'm not really happy with it. Grumbacher is the reason I've become familiar with Photo Shop and thus was prepared to do without my scanner this week. I still hate them.
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