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Friday, July 8, 2016

Getting Started with Aquabord™

Sand, Water and Meg, watercolor on Aquabord by Phillip R. Austen
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.


Watercolors and gouache, when used on Aquabord, are richer and more vibrant than when used on paper. Aquabord is also very forgiving. If you make a mistake - just wash it off! This museum quality panel has a soft, absorbent, mineral coating with a unique granular texture. 

You may notice small "pin-like" protrusions once you lay down your washes and you may also see tiny bubbles forming on the surface. This is normal. We recommend “flushing out” Aquabord before beginning your painting by simply applying an even wash of water with a large brush over the entire surface. Let the air escape. Once the board is back to a damp stage, you can begin working on it. Beginning with this method will result in a more even wash. The sponge-like granules absorb the water and pigment allowing incredible control over color and washes. The surface's clay-base holds colors in suspension, allowing them to flow into each other to create seamless washes when the board is wet or dry. The surface is pH neutral and acid free; and, when sealed, it will last forever.

To create natural looking highlights and bring the light back into your painting, use a wet sponge, cotton swabs, white erasers or a clean brush to lift and remove colors with ease. Paint as heavily as desired because Aquabord won't warp, crack, or bend like paper when using heavy paint applications. Don't worry about lint residue, torn paper, or using masking fluid because Aquabord is very forgiving and durable and will hold up to repeated wetting and scraping. You can even add fine lines and details with a scratch knife or other Claybord Tools which will bring back the white of the board. 

When finished, seal Aquabord™ with a finishing spray and free your painting from the additional weight and glare caused when framing behind glass.  Seal watercolors or gouache with several light coats of spray varnish (or fixative), being careful to spray outdoors during warmer months or in a well ventilated and heated area during colder times of the year. We recommend the Krylon® UV Archival varnishes. These spray varnishes offer advanced non-yellowing protection against fading, dirt, moisture and discoloration. The Krylon® UV Archival varnishes contain superior levels of UV light absorbers and are removable for conservation purposes. For additional protection against scratches during transport and also ultraviolet light, follow the application of Krylon® spray varnish with Golden® Polymer UVLS varnish. About 4 coats brushed-on, provides a very durable archival finish and is also removable for conservation purposes.

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.

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