Ok, so this is a rant, a warning, and an instruction on watercolor painting. When purchasing sensitive items, DO NOT BUY INDIVIDUAL SHEETS or items OUT OF packaging!!! And, if possible, buying online from a large chain or art supply superstore is the better way to go because the product you're purchasing hasn't been manhandled by others.
Why do you say that Kim? What if I don't need a 10/20 pack of 22x30 sheets of watercolor paper? I just need a couple of sheets and if I buy locally, I don't have to pay for shipping and won't end up with a ridiculous amount of extra paper lying around.
Well, my dear friends, This is why
Yes that is a scratch. When you buy individual sheets of watercolor paper from a local art supply/hobby store, it is normally laying in a rack whereupon hundreds of people can touch it. Little kids run up to the rack and attempt to grab it just as their mothers come to the papers rescue and attempt to pry it out of their beautiful little hands. Artists, searching for the perfect unblemished sheet, will thumb through them all, inspective for dents and smudges. Other people, who enjoy touching things, will gently stroke the paper, enjoying it's texture. The result can be like this scratch.
I was desperate. I had a deadline for a show and I thought I had some watercolor paper and I didn't and had to go to a local art supply store and buy one so I could get home, crank out the painting, scan it, and send it off the paperwork and image scan before the deadline passed. I thought to myself, when purchasing the paper, 'you never know when you might need another sheet and what if your order from Daniel Smith doesn't come soon?' SO, I bought three sheets of paper from the art paper rack. I inspected the sheets as best I could and chose the three from the bottom of the pack. Those surely wouldn't have as many dents, smudges, or fingers that have touched the surface. Only until after the paint was applied to this area did I know there was a blemish in the paper. This is on the painting I've been documenting the stages of painting. The process of how I do a detailed piece. I've invested 13 hours in the piece and this is what I find. SO, I'm going to attempt to disquise the blemish so that you won't know it's there (unless, of course you already do and then you zero in on that spot regardless)
So, my desperate plea to you all, if you are painting or creating in whatever medium you use and you need sensitive material, be sure to invest in quality merchandise from a source that ensures the best product possible....and where others don't have the ability to manhandle that sensitive product.