Monday, October 24, 2011

Adventures in Ampersand Aquabord!

Ladies in gentlemen, it's time for Adventures in Ampersand Aquabord! I recently stumbled upon this amazing painting surface at my local art store and decided I wanted to give it a try. I love watercolors but hate stretching paper so I may have found the prefect solution! Aquaboard is available in lots of sizes and it's an acid free surface that is perfect for use with Water based media like watercolors and gouache. It is similar to cold pressed watercolor paper but there are some differences. The colors on the Aquaboard will appear much more vibrant than on paper because the paint will not absorb into the surface like it does on the paper. Aquaboard will not tear, warp or buckle like paper can. It is also much easier to lay colors one on top of the other. It is also much easier to lift color off the aquaboard surface exposing the surface underneath. The surface of the board can also be scrubbed without risk of damage to the surface. Lastly, the final painting can be framed without using glass. With that said I decided to give it a try and experiment with some different techniques!
Step 1: The packaging looks like this and is ready to paint on right out of the packaging. So get out your watercolors and get ready!
Step 2: The board seems to accept pencil very well and erase rather easily. However the surface has quite a bit of tooth and texture so you will not get smooth line work.
Step 3: Experimenting with Acrylic Waterproof ink. The ink went on smoothly and easily and did not absorb into the surface. I was happy with the results of the ink.
Step 4: Time for some color! I did notice some differences between the Aquaboard and cold press watercolor paper. The board takes a little longer to absorb the pigment so you might need a little more patience. Blow drying might speed it up, but I didn't try that. I let the initial paint layers absorb and then added the subsequent layers.
Finally for a little more pop and intensity I added some acrylic paint to the piece. It also worked really well with the Aquaboard. It didn't bleed like I thought it might and I was pleased with how it turned out.

The finished piece! Conclusion: Quite liked using the Aquaboard. PROS: Fantastic alternative to watercolor paper. Bright vivid color and easy to work with. CONS: Slow to absorb. Rough texture not good for line work and drawing.

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