Paper is an excellent and economical support for painting. It will accept most media as long as it has been properly prepared. When choosing paper one needs to consider: fiber, texture, weight, sizing, format.
Cold Press paper, which is the most popular and versatile, has a slight texture. Unheated cylinders are used to press the paper and this results in small, irregular indentions in the surface of the paper.
Hot Press papers feature a smooth tooth. During the manufacturing process heated cylinders are used to press the paper. The heat causes the paper to conform to the smooth mold producing a smooth surface.
Rough paper is chosen for its definite texture. It is the natural result when a sheet is allowed to air dry without smoothing or pressing.
Brands available: Arches, Canson, Clairefontaine, Daler Rowney, Fabriano, Hahnemuhle (available soon!), Royal Talens, Strathmore
In painting, canvas is still the most widely used surface. The two most common fibers for making canvas are linen and cotton, although synthetic fibers are also used.
Primed canvas has been prepared with oil or acrylic primer and ideally a canvas should be used for the medium it was primed for. The primer allows the paint to sit on top of it without absorbing into the canvas. Raw or unprimed canvas has not been prepared for either oil or acrylic paint. An artist can buy a canvas primer and prime the canvas himself or paint directly on the raw canvas.
You can get canvas in three different ways: stretched over a wooden frame; as a panel, which means it is mounted on a board; and as a roll.
Brands available: Daler Rowney, Fredrix, Royal Talens