Arches Bright White revisited

From: Katharine Thayer ^lt;>
Date: 03/17/05-03:07:42 AM Z
Message-id: <>

Hi All,

A while back, I ran a few tricolor and four-color test prints on a piece
of Arches Bright White, along with a couple of other papers, and I
announced that on the basis of that trial run I liked Arches bright
white the best of those I tried and that I would be ordering it for
color work.

Now that I've printed more on this paper, my preference for it has
undergone some qualification.

Initially I liked the thinness and crispness of the paper, the
smoothness of the surface which survives through several soakings, and
the fact that it dries faster than any of the other 140# papers I've
ever used.

But the biggest problem I have with it is that it doesn't dry flat;
even after I learned to be very careful not to overdry it, and even
when flattened under weight, there is still some crinkling in the
paper. I can see, when I look carefully at my framed prints in angled
light, a wavering in the flatness of the print which I am not at all
happy with. By the same token, it is also the most difficult paper to
register that I've ever used; I've had to throw out several prints
recently because of imperfect registration, and this hasn't happened to
me for years. My experience has always been that when the corners of the
negative fit in the registration marks perfectly (I have to register
this way using paper negatives) then the edges within the print will
register perfectly. But with this paper, the perfect fit of the
registration marks to the corners of the negative guarantees nothing
about how the edges within the print will register. I suspect this is
related to the fact that the paper can't be made completely flat again
once it's been wet, at least not by the high-tech method (Oxford English
Dictionary on top of plate glass) that has always been completely
successful in flattening prints in the past for me.

None of this was evident in those first little test prints I did; those
prints registered beautifully and dried flat. And that leads to another
problem: like its sister paper Arches Aquarelle, the Bright White tends
to unevenness of performance. (And make no mistake; though these papers
are watermarked the same, they are not remotely the same paper). I
haven't seen any speckling with the Bright White paper when it's sized,
(except for that one half-sheet where I got the size too hot; the other
half of that sheet, sized at a lower temperature, printed beautifully,
so it was obviously the hot size not the paper that led to the speckles)
so I'm not saying that the Bright White is uneven in the same way that
the other Aquarelle is uneven, but that like the other paper, it is
inconsistent in its peformance, but in different ways.

This observation of my own that the paper is inconsistent, is borne out
by the fact that Daniel Smith delayed shipment when I recently ordered
this paper, because they said that so many sheets of the batch they had
just received from the factory were "bad" that they weren't shipping the
paper to customers. They didn't say what it was that made some sheets of
the paper unsatisfactory to them, but it seems clear that I'm not the
only one who is seeing inconsistency in this paper. Like the little girl
with the curl in the middle of her forehead, when this paper is good,
it's very very good, but when it's bad, it's horrid. I love this paper
when it's good, but, at least with this last order I got, it seems like
it's bad more often than it's good, and I can't tolerate the

Katharine Thayer
Received on Thu Mar 17 11:03:17 2005

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