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All Things Ampersand

Getting Started with Aquabord

When using watercolor, you have a couple of choices with Ampersand’s panels.  If you are a traditional watercolorist or gouache painter who uses very wet washes, try Aquabord. It behaves more like cold press watercolor paper and is more absorbent than Claybord. However, if you’re familiar working with watercolors or gouache on hot press paper to achieve high level detail, you may find working with Claybord very exciting. Our “product selection guide” is also a good resource for choosing the right panel.
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Aquabord Basics

Aquabord™ is an acid-free textured clay surface that absorbs watercolors like a fine paper.  If you are not yet familiar with our Aquabord, then here are some basic tips on how it works:

  • Colors retain their purity and vibrancy in a way that even the finest of watercolor papers can never match. 
  • This multimedia panel simulates the absorbency and texture of cold pressed watercolor paper, but allows color to be lifted back to white easily. 
  • It is perfect for watercolors and gouache, but is also ideal for casein and acrylics. 
  • Will not tear, shrink or buckle even under heavy water application. 
  • For best results, it’s a good idea to first “flush out” the surface of the panel with water using a large flat watercolor brush to release trapped air. Once the surface is slightly damp, it is ready to use. Rewetting may be needed as you work. Note that heavy water applications may release more air. Use a blow dryer to dry and also to dissipate air if needed.
  • Seal finished watercolors or gouache with several light coats of spray varnish (or fixative). We recommend the Krylon UV Archival Varnishes.
  • For additional protection against scratches during transport and also ultraviolet light, follow the application of Krylon® spray varnish with Golden® MSA UVLS or Golden® Polymer UVLS varnish. About 4 coats brushed-on, provides a very durable archival finish and is also removable for conservation purposes.
  • Aquabord is available in a 1/8in flat panel for standard framing behind glass and in a 7/8in, 1.5in or 2in cradle for either frameless presentation or for use with floater frames. 
  • As with all of our Museum Series, Aquabord is archival, eco-friendly and made in the USA.
Karen Vernon
watercolor on Aquabord by Karen Vernon

There are some amazing artists using Aquabord for their work; Karen Vernon shares more about how to start on Aquabord in this article:  Unleashing Dynamic Watercolors.

All things Ampersand,
Karyn Meyer-Berthel
Artist & Social Media Specialist
Ampersand Art Supply

Click here to explore the full selection of Ampersand panels and tools.

Featured Artist: Kimberly Anderson

“I’ve used your products for over 10 years now starting with the black Scratchbord, and then the past 7 1/2 years on the Claybord.” ~Kimberly Anderson

North Carolina artist, Kimberly Anderson has been an illustrator, graphic designer, and silk painter for years, starting her artistic journey at a very young age with a No. 2 pencil. She has moved her way through several forms of media, including acrylics, watercolors, ink and colored pencil and scratchart.  Kimberly shares that her drawing background is what drives her art, even the silk painting.  With a strong understanding of many art materials and superb drawing skills, it is no surprise that Kimberly’s current artwork is both beautifully designed, exquisitely rendered and nationally recognized.  She shares, “I had a meeting with an art consultant in our area, and she finished looking through all my watercolor pieces. But, when she made it to the two large framed scratch art pieces, she said, ‘This is it.  This is what you need to do, you just hit the Fine Art category.’ I left the meeting so excited, and I haven’t stopped scratching pieces since –nearly 8 years ago.”

Kimberly works on Claybord, although she is quite familiar with Scratchbord and had used it prior to finding the Claybord for her scratch art.  The difference between the two is the working surface; Scratchbord has black india ink as a top coat, and the Claybord is a white kaolin clay smooth surface.  

Kimberly prefers to apply her own ink to her drawing, so that she can determine how to develop her composition.  Her technique enhances the brilliant color in her work, which she creates with a combination of watercolor, Claybord Inks and Faber Castell Ink markers.  “I used to ink all my pieces with Speedball or Higgins India Ink, but then I was reading a blog about Faber Castell ink markers and it all came into place.  My life has been wonderful since, I now use the back india ink marker to make my black composition on the Claybord, and it is so much easier to scratch.  Along with my watercolors and Claybord ink, I use some of the markers in coloring the pieces,” she explains.

Kimberly has an upcoming exhibition at the Mountain Made Gallery in Asheville, NC for the month of August and a demonstration there on August 8th, 2015.  She also teaches silk painting monthly at the Art MoB Studios in Hendersonville, NC.  You can also find Kimberly’s work in the Mountain Nest Gallery in Black Mountain, NC and the Art MoB studios on Hendersonville.  Kimberly also keeps her current work on her website and shares more about her process through her blog.  

All things Ampersand, 
Karyn Meyer-Berthel 
Artist & Social Media Specialist 
Ampersand Art Supply 

Click here to explore the full selection of Ampersand panels and tools.

Featured Gallery Artist: Sylvia Foster

Artist, instructor and avid traveler, Sylvia Foster works in watercolor both on paper and Aquabord, and is a member of several art associations including the Florida Watercolor Society and the New England Watercolor Society.  She will be teaching beginner landscape classes starting on June 13th.  The month of July, Sylvia’s work will be on display in the Jasper Rand Art Museum, Westfield, MA.

All things Ampersand, 
Karyn Meyer-Berthel 
Artist & Social Media Specialist 
Ampersand Art Supply 

Click here to explore the full selection of Ampersand panels and tools.

Featured Gallery Artist: Kate O’Dell

 

Kate O'Dell
The Age of Innocence, 11″ x 14″, Watercolor on Aquabord

New Hampshire artist Kate O’Dell paints animals, portraits and the niches of her state, frequently doing commissioned work, and she sells both the originals and prints.  You can find more of her lovely work at realsmallart.bigcartel.com/products
All things Ampersand, 
Karyn Meyer-Berthel 
Artist & Social Media Specialist 
Ampersand Art Supply 

Click here to explore the full selection of Ampersand panels and tools.