Arches Oil Paper Review

Arches Oil Paper - Portrait painting


I love this paper! Seriously, it helped transform my art practice and work.

Why? Three main and substantial reasons, affordability and almost smooth, subtle surface texture, and it’s archival. Ok, so that’s four!

Firstly, let me clarify one thing I get asked about this paper a lot. Which side can you use?  Unlike a lot of oil painting papers on the market, the paper is internally sized so the good news is it can be used either side. This gives you a choice in the texture of the surface you want to paint on. One side (the back) is slightly more smooth than the other and this is the side I use when completing more realistic, fine detailed oil paintings.

Arches Oil paper pad

Arches Oil Paper Pro’s

  • value for money at only about £1.50 per sheet for the 9″x12″ sheet
  • is available in 2 blocks, 9″x12″ and 12″x16″ as well as being able to buy it in an imperial sheet size of 11″x 15″ you can also buy it in huge rolls 1.3 x 9.15m for better economy and large works
  • lightweight so significantly cheaper to ship to clients
  • archival
  • no need for priming
  • lightweight and portable for en plein air (painting outdoors)
  • suitable for mixed media work
  • Ideal surface for Oil and Cold Wax medium painting
  • easy to store, no bulky canvas to take up precious studio space
  • 100% cotton
  • acid free, with no optical brightening

Here’s another reason why I love it, it can take a bit of a beating. The portrait on the left is an experimental work, involving building an image only to scrape it back, pour Gamsol (oil paint thinner) on it and attacked it (creatively) with sandpaper once the paint is thoroughly dry. All in a search of interesting marks,  abstracted expression and expressing my voice.

I really didn’t hold back on this and not once did I have to stop for fear of damaging the paper. It’s not indestructible but I’m yet to get to that point when I fear for it’s life.

I buy mine from Jackson’s Art supplies, although its widely available in most good art supplies stores online.

Jackson Art Discount

All new accounts opened using the link below  – get 10% off your first order. Check it out:
Jacksons Art Supplies

If you want further information you can check out the Arches website or have a look at other artists work in their gallery.  Arches Oil Paper Gallery

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Selection of portraits painted on Arches Oil Painting Paper

8 thoughts on “Arches Oil Paper Review”

    • Hi Elaine, for me there is quite a bit of difference. The Georgian pads you’re referring to are a paper coated, i believe, on one side with a primer/gesso. They’re great for initial work or quick studies as they’re cheap and a lot less bulky than framed canvases. They’re great as a low cost support for practice pieces but for my finished work i prefer something i know is archival. Hope that helps.

  1. Thanks it really does help. I bought both pads and can see the difference. I love the way I can mix OMS with oil paints and make like a wash of oil colour look like watercolour. I can’t do this on the Georgian pad it looks awful. Don’t know if I like the texture of the Georgian pad either. The arches paper feels like real paper it’s beautiful. Now I just need to get more time to play and get creative!

  2. Thanks for the review. It sounds like whst im looking for. Do you know if you can do an underpainting in acrylic on this oil paper? I’ve tried it on others manufacturers oil paper and it just buckled terribly.

  3. A great review, Donna. Yes, I feel exactly the same way about this wonderful paper. I just love it!

    A quick question: Have you tried mounting the paper on a stiff board (like the Ampersand Hardbord)?

  4. Great review.
    I love this paper too. nothing quite like it on the market. I recently tried it for Oil and Cold wax and was delighted by it.


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