Hello, my name is Chris Gallagher and I am the professional designer who developed Stretch-n-Paint. I began my journey in watercolors at an early age and when I was cutting lawns at the age of 16 years, I took a week off (cut some lawns earlier, others later) so I could study watercolor painting from the famous Edgar Whitney, (http://edgarwhitney.blogspot.com, http://watercolorpainting.com/famous-artist-edgar-a-whitney, see also Midwest Watercolor Society: Edgar A. Whitney Award) when he taught at Boston Mills Ski resort in Peninsula, Ohio.
Mr. Whitney was an amazing artist who taught me many things about watercolor painting and being a professional in art, as I have become. One idea that was certainly worth repeating was: “If you are going to make a living as an artist, you have to be done with the artwork in an hour” [or the market for your art will be very, very few buyers] – Edgar Whitney. Now most artists will cringe at a business concept in an art class, but I think it was brilliant. Groceries aren’t free and selling artwork approaching a thousand dollars or more is much more difficult than selling one like Edgar Whitney painted here in probably 30-40 minute demo, matted and probably $130 at the time (which was still crazy expensive from a 16 year old’s perspective).
Note that Edgar pre-cut his matt-boards and always did paintings at standard sizes to save time and cost. You can still see his clips in the bottom corners of the image as he had not taped the painting in place as yet when the photo was taken.
So what does this have to do with Stretch-n-Paint? Well, Stretch-n-Paint is a serious time saver. While Edgar Whitney painted wet-in-wet beautifully, that technique requires perfect timing of paper wetness, pigment wetness, controlled color saturation, and a quick, well-practiced brush — in addition to Edgar’s understanding of composition and how to “visually entertain” the viewer as he would say.
Now that I am no longer 16 years old and I have a family, my free time is very limited. I don’t paint as often as I want so the years of wet-in-wet painting have been replaced with the much more forgiving technique of stretching the watercolor paper so I can paint the painting as time allows.
Stretching the paper, as you probably know, takes a great deal of time. First one takes time to wet the paper, tape it down, staple the edges all around, tape over the staples so I can paint without cuts, then removing all of the hundred or so staples without tearing a finished painting by accident. This time sink is probably 25 minutes for a half sheet of watercolor paper. This leaves precious little time in that first hour to paint.
I created Stretch-n-Paint to allow artists the joy of painting beautiful watercolors without destroying the deckled edges of the paper whether they wanted to paint wet-in-wet, dry with wet-in-wet areas, or paint on dry paper. The set up time for Stretch-n-Paint is less than 5 minutes and removing the finished, undamaged watercolor painting takes less than 1 minute. I hope you enjoy my Stretch-n-Paint product and tell your friends. I hope my teacher Edgar Whitney has yet another student to be proud of – even though I also became a designer.
Testing has shown that Stretch-n-Paint is great for stretching paper for watercolors and oil painting as well as canvas for oils. Enjoy your extra painting time!