Observations on Aquabord

9:33 PM

My experiences with Ampersand's® Aquabord are limited to two pieces so far so any or all of these observations could change in a few weeks. For what it's worth:

  • Aquabord seems to create a soft finish (see yesterday's post for an example). I believe this surface would be good for fur babies or portraits.
  • The pigment sits on the surface so color is vibrant and clear.
  • When painting on this surface, it is helpful to "prime" an area first with water so that there are no hard lines. If hard lines/edges are desired, no problem!
  • I have found it very difficult to get an even wash on this surface as it is difficult to prime the area "evenly." That clay surface is thirsty!
  • The paint will "bloom" on this surface, but if it does and the bloom is not wanted, simply wet down the offending area and swish the pigment around and let it dry again - bloom gone!
  • Color lifts easily and in a variety of ways. In some cases, it lifts too easy, as in lifting any unwanted pencil marks before starting to paint. Pencil lines will lift before, during and after painting as will the pigment! Found that out the hard way!
  • Whereas pigment lifts easily, it is a bit challenging to lift in small defined areas. I have used a scrubbie brush, my Proxa brush and an Xacto knife so far. I just purchased Ampersand's special tool, called a Fiber Brush. It is made of fiberglass and one must be careful not to brush the loose bits with their hand nor get them on the floor where someone (pets) might step on them.
  • Masking can be used with this substrate but it is fragile. I went to brush some eraser bits off the surface before putting down a wash and damaged my masking. I had to redo a couple of areas.
  • This substrate can be sealed and framed without glass. The sealer does give the surface a slight shine.
  • In the new Daniel Smith Summer catalog there is an article on page 76 by artist Michael Ireland. He wrote of using a blow dryer to dry and "harden" washes. I'll be trying that.
That's where I'm at right now. If I learn anything else, I'll let you know in a future update. I am going to continue working with Aquabord and see what else it does well. I would encourage you to try it as well, even if it's only on a sample piece as it is a unique surface that challenges the normal way we do things, and I do believe that challenging status quo is almost always a good thing! Happy painting!

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3 Creative Thought(s)

  1. Thanks for all the information, Laure--I've not used it before, and will have to try sometime. I admire how beautifully you adapted to it in this piece.

  2. I appreciate your hard work at posting this helpful blog. I think I am off to the art store.

  3. Hmmm...... sounds interesting. Wonder how it would work with a watercolor underpainting and colored pencil for the finish?


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