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Get Rid of the Glass - Increase the Value of Watermedia

Get Rid of the Glass and Increase the Value of Watermedia: Three Leading Artists Share Their Success Stories with Ampersand Claybord Products

Painting by Dustan Knight

Dustan Knight
Mounting Watercolor Paper on Deep Claybord

I 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 (some are 40" x 50") 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 wide range of acrylic gel mediums and varnishes that allows 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. Here are the steps I follow:

  • 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 edge. Daniel Smith has these panels available in sizes up to 24" x 24"!
  • I cut my watercolor paper a bit larger than the panel size and then soak the paper just enough to give it a cloth-like flexibility.
  • I then layer Golden soft gel medium on the Claybord panel as evenly as possible.
  • Next, I lay the wet watercolor paper on the gel coated Ampersand Cradled Smooth Claybord panel, working bubbles out gently.
  • As the paper begins to dry, I begin painting into it using wet into wet watercolor techniques.
  • I let my piece dry completely (I usually wait a couple of days) before carefully laying Golden soft gel medium on 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.
  • To finish the piece, I trim the edges of the paper and then decide whether I wish to paint or stain the edges of the cradle frame or leave it in its natural birch color.
  • In my last step, I varnish the piece with Golden's UV-Resistant Medium.

About the Author
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. Please visit her web site www.dustanknight.com to see her current artwork.

Art by Stephen Quiller

Stephen Quiller
Deep Cradled Textured Claybord Combines A Great Surface and Frame All In One!

While I use Ampersand's Claybord Textured for watercolors, my favorite application on this surface is acrylic and casein. The Claybord Textured gives my casein and acrylic paintings a visual quality unlike any on paper or canvas. The underlayers of paint almost melt right into the textured clay surface of the board, giving a fresco-like quality to the piece. I especially like the luminosity that comes through on the surface. I begin with warm transparent undertones and then build up more layers of opaque paint. Recently I have been applying a transparent underwash of yellow-orange. When this is dry, I apply two to three layers of a translucent white blue-violet. The result of layering these complementary colors is a neutralized blue-violet visual quality with hints of yellow-orange radiating through. This is the tone that I begin with when applying the acrylic or casein.

I am especially excited by Ampersand's new Deep Cradled Panels. When I saw them I liked the look, but was somewhat concerned of how they would look in my gallery along my other pieces that are traditionally framed. Much to my surprise, the day I hung the first two pieces I had finished on the Deep Textured Claybord, they sold! I have been staining the sides of the panels with a cherry stain, giving the piece a rich and elegant look. The Ampersand Deep Cradled panels give artists many new opportunities for creating and presenting their artwork. I am currently working on a triptych using the seasons as my subject. I have completed the first panel of autumn and am looking forward to the other side panel of winter. The central panel will combine the flow from spring to summer.

About the Author
Powerful compositions and striking color combinations are hallmarks of Stephen Quiller's work. An internationally recognized artist and author, his books include Painter's Guide to Color, Water Media Techniques and Acrylic Painting Techniques. Quiller lives and works in Creede, Colorado. See more of his work at www.quillergallery.com.

Art by Karen Vernon

Karen Vernon
Framing Watercolors in a Traditional Format without Glass!

Claybord Textured has definitely become my surface of choice for watercolors. I love the fact that I can manipulate my watercolors so easily on this surface. I can easily lift back to white and create natural-looking highlights. Colors on this surface remain vibrant and brilliant and I don't have to sacrifice that vibrancy due to the glare of glass when framing! With Claybord Textured I don't have to frame my watercolors under glass. I simply seal the finished watercolors with 3 to 4 coats of Ampersand's Claybord Fixative followed by a final coat of Golden's UVLS satin varnish.

While I like the new Deep Textured Panels, I use the flat panels and prefer to frame my watercolors in a traditional format. In the illustration, you can see where I simply placed the finished artwork inside a frame that has linen liners similar to the way a canvas is framed. The liner acts as a mat that gives the artwork the appearance of floating inside the frame. My galleries prefer my work on Textured Claybord over paper and my paintings are now bringing me 50% more in revenue!

About the Author
Nationally known watercolorist Karen Vernon lives and works in Coconut Grove, Florida. Her award-winning work is widely collected and published. Vernon championed the use of watercolors on Claybord Textured over 6 years ago, and has been sharing her successful techniques in her popular workshops and publications ever since. See Karen's work at: www.karenvernon.com.