Sometimes one has to just say, “Good enough”. When I uncovered my large piece of paper that I climbed the proverbial mountain for, it was less than perfect, shall we say. I had made the egregious mistake of placing a piece of brown paper between the glued watercolor paper and the sheet metal to protect the pristine surface. The glue, Yes Paste, is water based, and the brown paper reacted to the moisture by wrinkling a bit, leaving an indelible impression in the surface of the watercolor paper. I could try it again, but it was so hard to do, and so many things could have gone wrong to mar the surface that I am just not sure it is worth it to try gluing it again.
I did pursue a few other ideas to mount the paper. Joe Cibere, a fellow instructor and adept watercolor painter at the California Art Institute, suggested I soak the paper in the tub overnight so that the fibers swell, and then staple it to my board. He warned me about needing a thick board because the first time he ever did it, as the paper dried it actually snapped the wooden board in two. I explained to Joe that I am working LARGE here; that the paper has to stay mounted to an acid free surface that doesn’t weigh a ton (you don’t want to be removing a finished drawing that big that took you months to do–trust me); that I don’t have a freaking bathtub that big.
Then I merely tried stapling a new piece of paper to my already existing board per our reader Nava’s rather flippant-suggestion-that-made-me-feel-like-an-idiot-for-not-thinking-of-it-first. Thinking like Joe, I sprayed the paper first with water to make it swell at least a little before “stretching” it. I have decided one “stretches” canvas, but one does not “stretch” paper. Paper tears. Or it does not lay down nicely and looks worse than your first attempt at gluing it. I certainly thumbed my nose at Nava.
At this point I honestly don’t know if it is possible to get a perfect surface like I am looking for without a lot of technology. I am a lowly artist and I just want to draw for cryin’ out loud. I am really hoping that the finished drawing will be good enough that you won’t stand there and go “Damn that glue job sucks”.