Recently my friend who works in a little art shop in Italy sent me a parcel with some new art supplies as a gift, including a pocket-sized pad of Hahnemühle Agave watercolour paper. I was excited to try this as, although I like Hahnemühle’s regular watercolour paper, I had not heard of the Agave range.
It’s a 290gsm paper, and 70% of it is made up of Agave fibre (with the remaining 30% being cotton rag). As far as practicality goes, I can’t see any advantage to using it over a standard watercolour paper, but for those who try to do their bit for the environment, it’s a more ethical choice, as the material used for it is fast-growing and sustainable. It’s a natural white, leaning slightly towards blue more than yellow. Compared to other cold press papers I’ve used, the Hahnemühle Agave paper has a slightly smoother texture, making it particularly suitable for fine details.
In terms of performance, the paper is up there with other artist grade papers I’ve used. As mentioned, it is quite a smooth surface for a cold press paper, which some artists might not like unless they are painting realistic or finely detailed paintings (I like a fine paper for detailed work but for landscapes and most still lifes I prefer a more textured cold press or even a rough press paper). The paper stands up reasonably well to thick washes; when painting my sample painting, it didn’t curl until near the end when I applied a really heavy wash for the background. I found that I was able to lift most colours from the paper without too much difficulty, however there was a little pilling in some places where I applied multiple layers. I generally find this happens more often with hot press or very smooth cold press papers rather than rough press, so it wasn’t a big deal or particularly surprising, but it’s something to be wary of.
Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be widely available yet, so it may not be financially viable to purchase in Australia yet (some online UK sites are selling it but postage costs would be prohibitive unless you’re ordering a lot of other items from them anyway).
Here’s a small painting I did on the Hahnemühle Agave watercolour paper.
If you’re environmentally conscious and want to try to use sustainable art materials, the Hahnemühle Agave watercolour paper is worth checking out. Sadly it seems like it’s going to be difficult to find outside Europe for a while, but eventually it will end up on our shelves, so it will be nice to have another sustainable but good quality paper to choose from.
Thank you for your review! I was actually curious about this paper and based on your post, I’m gonna give it a try. 🙂