Review: Arches Oil Paper Pads

Welcome to another edition of art supplies reviews by Luba. Arches released a new product a few years ago just for oil painters: Arches Oil Paper! Sized for oils and ready to go, Arches Oil Paper is an indispensable surface for anyone dabbling with or proficient in oil painting. It takes well to oil pastels, too. Pads come in 9″x12″ or 12″x16″ sizes, with 12 sheets per pad. I like to tape them down to a piece of foam-core that is slightly larger than the paper. It is also very convenient to be able to cut or rip the Arches Oil Paper into smaller “tester” sized pieces. The paper is available in 22″x30″ sheets as well

Start out with turpy layers of paint. The paper will absorb the turpy oil washes quickly, and it feels dry within a few minutes. I liken this paper and oil painting technique to using watercolour paint on rag paper. Continue working on the piece as you would normally, like on a canvas or wood surface, except ease off the turpentine a bit and start introducing a bit of oil medium (walnut oil, linseed oil, Winsor and Newton Liquin, Gamblin Neo Megilp, etc.  – just pick your favorite medium and experiment). Finish off the piece with little to no medium and then let it dry. 

I find that it is difficult to build up the paint on the Arches Oil Paper surface, compared to wood panel. Arches Oil Paper is more of a “tester” or experimental surface, ideally suited for oil sketches or preliminary work; however, I have made some nice finished pieces using Arches Oil Paper, and I would not discredit the surface as being suitable for preliminary work only. It really depends how you feel about the texture and finish of the final painting. 

Where can I buy Arches Oil Paper pads?

From me of course! Purchase using the links below. I ship within Canada and the United States. You can also check your favorite local artist materials retailer for stock.

Article written by Ljubica (Luba) Todorovic
Sketch Art & Framing
Calgary, Alberta Canada