This new paper has been produced by St Cuthberts Mill in the UK as a replacement for Fabriano 5 Hot Pressed (HP) as it is no longer being produced with a smooth surface.
This new paper is virtually as white as the Fabriano 5 and is 50% cotton. It is designed for botanical paintings and for anyone who wants a very white watercolour paper with a smooth surface.
(Please note that this paper is smaller than Imperial size which is 22" x 30")
The packs can be supplied in a pack or 5 full size sheets or they can be cut in half or quarter.
We do not recommend using masking tape on Botanical Ultra Smooth as it seemed to slightly damage the surface of the paper when removed.
My favoured style of painting is pen and wash for which I always use Hot Pressed paper and over the years have tried most of the popular brands - Arches, Saunders Waterford, Fabriano Artistico and Bockingford. I finally settled on Bockingford as being the best because I could see no advantage in using the more expensive papers. With the advent of Botanical Ultra Smooth I thought I would give it a try and having done a handful of sketches have been very pleased with the results. It is advertised as a replacement for Fabriano 5, but not having used that paper I cannot make a direct comparison. However, for my pen and wash it is a beautiful surface which takes both the ink and the watercolour extremely well. It is marginally whiter than Bockingford (at least to my eye) but I do not know how it compares to Fabriano 5. My first impressions of this paper are that, for my purposes, there is very little to choose between it and Bockingford. One thing I have found though is that it is more difficult to lift paint from the Botanical than it is from Bockingford. Painters of flowers etc may come to very different conclusions to mine, and although I will continue to use the Botanical I will not be abandoning Bockingford altogether - at least not for the present. One final point: another thing that I find slightly off-putting is the fact that Botanical is not produced in the standard Imperial size. Is there a technical reason for this or is it just that the manufacturers are wanting to produce something as near as possible to Fabriano 5? Donald Burgess (Shrewsbury, United Kingdom) on 3 May 2016
I have been having a lot of trouble with the fabriano 5 hp watercolour paper and I thought it was me, but since buying this new ultra smooth paper I have found it is really lovely to work on. I am not a professional artist but just someone trying to improve in botanical art and I can see the difference with this paper already - Thank you Ken Bromley for informing us about it. Would I buy it again? absolutely! Pauline (New Milton, United Kingdom) on 24 May 2016
Because the title of the paper was Botanical Ultra Smooth I expected the paper to be at least up to the job title but it wasn't it was well below the quality that I expected. It just didn't perform very well at all, the paper soaked up the watercolour pigment so that it was impossible to lift. The surface of the paper broke up. In all the paper was a disappointment after all the hype on how good it was to be. Brian Fromant (Ely, United Kingdom) on 19 May 2016