I begin every watercolor painting by stretching the paper. After soaking a sheet of Arches 140-lb. cold-pressed paper in water for a few minutes, I staple it to foam board along the edges of the paper. Once it dries, I remove the paper and use a pH-neutral adhesive by Lineco to glue the paper to cold-pressed, heavyweight Crescent illustration board. I apply the glue with a 3-inch brush, then place the paper on top and cover it with a protective sheet of butcher paper, a flat homosote board and weights. Each of these two processes takes at least 24 hours to dry. After the mounted paper is dry, I staple it using a heavy-duty staple gun to prevent the board from warping out of shape during large washes.
Lisa Wurster is assistant editor for The Artist’s Magazine and Artist’s Sketchbook.