Paper is 300#, acid free, 100% cotton rag, hot press. It is stretched and dried for painting using distilled water on a plywood board that is sealed to prevent acid burn.
I hand draw all the designs myself, using a compass, protractor and ruler. With the exception of letters (N, S, E, W for compass roses), my designs are never computer generated or assisted.
I always use watercolors with ASTM lightfastness ratings “very good” to “excellent”. I never use “fair,” “fugitive,” or unrated paint. I use distilled water to dilute colors in order to prevent mineral contamination.
Solvent- or polymer-based archival varnish with UV protectors is used for a number of sprayed coats on the face of the completed painting.
Cradled wood panels are commercially made. I seal fronts and backs to prevent absorption of moisture (like humidity and rain at festivals) by the panel and, via contact, by the painting. The adhesive is archival Golden Gel Gloss.
I use acrylic artist color for the initial seal of the sides of the panel and the adjoining cut edge of the painting. The sides and edges are then further sealed with at least two coats of liquid varnish for added protection. The end effect is a subtle panel side, fairly neutral and more in character with the painting than just bare wood.
I normally mount the finished panel in a matte black floater frame.
The finished panel can be hung using hanging hardware mounted to the inside back cradle frame, or from simply two level nails in the wall.
Note: I have performed trials on my own actual, not-for-sale, watercolor paintings, without frame, using these methods. Paintings finished as described, above, withstood 60 minutes totally immersed in water with no failure of any kind, as long as they were treated like a piece of art when removed. So, they took the soaking like champs, and I treated them with respect, also. The color did not dissolve or run; the paper did not separate from the panel; neither the paint, the paper, nor the panel swelled. After an additional number of months exposed to normal indoor conditions, they were still sound. THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU SHOULD PUT YOUR PAINTING IN THE TUB, OR OUTDOORS. Nor would I recommend hanging it in a bathroom or (especially) in a kitchen, as with any original artwork, as the conditions (humidity and grease) are just too extreme.
Please contact me at email@example.com with your questions!
P.S. Still interested? There are how-to videos on YouTube. You would need to weed through the majority that use resin wax, either alone or in addition to the spray varnishes I use. I rarely, if ever, use resin wax; I don’t like the waxy feel it leaves, even after thin application and thorough buffing. The Golden Paint website also has a blog, hosted by Mark Golden, addressing varnishing watercolors with their products, and including links to their relevant technical information.