Archival Cotton Ragg Paper: Why It’s A Staple In My Studio

by Catherine Jeltes in Studio Bits
As an artist I utilize a variety of mediums in my craft.  Any material that works with both photography and painting is invaluable, simply because what would normally be scrap in one area can be used or re-purposed as functioning material in another.  Archival cotton ragg paper fills this need quite nicely.  Not only do I use this paper to print photographs, but I also use it as a painting ground–it takes both acrylic and watercolor paints like a champ.
Epson’s velvet fine art paper is an archival 100% cotton ragg paper.  It has a matte finish and is thick and luxurious–perfect to provide a museum quality to my photography prints.  As a cotton paper, it also readily accepts pencil for signing each image–something that is more difficult with traditional photo papers.
As most of my print sales are a standard 11×14 or 8×10 print size, I was faced with the dilemma of what to do with the paper scraps remaining after trimming down the larger 13×19 size sheets (velvet fine art paper does not come in 11×14 sizing, unfortunately.)  When trimming down to an 11×14, I am generally left with a 5×7 piece and a 5×6 piece–too much fine quality paper to simply discard.  So I began an experiment:  how well does the velvet fine art paper manage acrylic paint?  The answer:  pretty darn well.

  These abstract flower paintings were a commission series of four 4×4 paintings, created on “leftover” paper from printing.
Obviously the 5×7 “scrap trimmings” are of a standard size, but the 5×6’s?  Not so much.  However, I am not one to discard even those papers of non-standard sizing, so my solution is to offer those paintings on the 5×6 sheets at a discount simply because they will require a custom mat prior to framing.
For those trimmed papers that are even smaller and/or of odd sizing, I use them for both design and color test strips or as smaller paper components for mixed media paintings.  Coating them and adhering the papers to my ground with Golden Acrylic Medium Soft Gel not only seals the papers from absorbing more color but also allows me to paint on top of them without compromising the integrity of the original image.  Truly the possibilities are endless!
All in all, 100% cotton ragg paper is one art paper I will never be without.  It is indeed my “signature paper.”
 All artwork © Catherine Jeltes, Gallery Zoo Art. All Rights Reserved.