When I researched styles of Indian folk art, I also started a larger piece that incorporated some of the styles.
After drawing the pencil outline and starting the watercolor washes, I discovered that the paper I was working on was coming apart and would not absorb water as most watercolor paper does.
The rational part of me told me to stop and start over again, but my heart told me not to waste what I had already started. Ultimately I had to paint the tiger using gouache and acrylic paints because the paper would take so little water that watercolors wouldn't work .
I am happy with the end result, even though I would like the tiger to have more pattern on his stripes and for the pen marks in some places to be darker. Even pen started to make the paper crinkle, and in some places paint started to come off when I used pen. I think I bought the paper on sale, so I guess that's what one gets for being too cheap.
I started to think about the bad quality paper as a metaphor for human life. Bad paper as a corrupt and cruel political regime, forcing good people to what they can to live decent and happy lives. Bad paper as an experiment, at the moment when the scientist discovers that, after years of research, her hypothesis won't yield the positive results she hoped. Bad paper as a business, when it first starts to fail, forcing the workers to do more with less. Or a parent, seeing their child fail in school, despite hours of tutoring.
Bad paper shouldn't be thrown out. Bad paper makes us more human, forcing us to use what we have to make a better result than what we started with, despite the obstacles. Even the perfect, most expensive Arches paper is just a blank page if no one bothers to paint on it.