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How to Present Large Scale Watercolors Without Glass…
A New and Innovative Technique
This page is
dedicated to artist Dustan Knight. Her incredible technique for mounting
watercolor paper on the Ampersand Deep Cradle is described below. This
is an innovative and creative approach for taking watercolor to a whole
am a true believer in watercolor and I wanted to give my watercolors the
size and presentation that would allow them to compete with works on canvas.
However, when I considered the glass and framing costs for my large size
paintings it was truly daunting. Ampersand Art Supply has helped me solve
this dilemma by offering an acid-free cradled panel that I use as a support
and frame for my watercolor paintings. Golden has a range of acrylic gel
mediums and varnishes that allow me to finish the watercolors without
the need for glass. The results have elevated my traditional watercolor
paintings to a new level of intensity and accessibility.
the steps I follow:
(1) I use Ampersand’s Claybord Smooth because the surface is acid-free
and will not affect my paper when mounted. This rigid smooth surface has
a beautiful birch frame glued flush to the back edge of the panel. It gives
my watercolors a whole new look!
(2) I cut my watercolor paper a bit larger than the panel size.
(3) I soak the paper just enough to give it a cloth like flexibility.(4)
Next, I layer Golden soft gel medium on the Claybord panel as evenly as
(5) I then lay
the wet watercolor paper on the gel coated Ampersand Cradled Smooth Claybord
panel, working bubbles out gently.
(6) As the paper
begins to dry, I begin painting into it using wet into wet watercolor techniques.
(7) I let my piece dry completely (I usually wait a couple of days) before
carefully laying Golden’s soft gel medium over the painting. I concentrate
on lighter areas first and darker areas last, paying close attention to
avoid smearing. I let it dry and repeat this step a couple of times.
(8) I then trim
the edges of the paper and decide whether I wish to paint or stain the edges
of the cradle frame or leave them in their natural birch color.(9)
As a finishing step, I varnish the piece with Golden’s UV resistant
Dustan Knight has an MFA from Pratt Institute and an MA from Boston University
in Art History. She is a working artist, winning awards and exhibiting
throughout New England. She also offers workshops, writes regional reviews
for Art New England and teaches as an adjunct professor at several local
art colleges. Please visit her web site www.dustanknight.com to see a monthly updated selection of her current artwork.