Painting on Clayboard – Final Update
I ordered a few panels of Ampersand Claybord to see how I like it. Here’s a little 6×6 that I’m experimenting with…
It’s a very smooth surface, and working on it is much like working on a gessoed surface, but even more so. There’s a textured version that I might try, but for now, I’m just starting the learning curve on this surface. This is not finished, but I thought I’d post it at this point to show how the initial first applications of paint are going. There is a tremendous amount of lifting due to the smooth, almost slick surface. The upper parts of the trees show the very first initial strokes. Down in the grass foreground area, I’ve begun adding layers of paint, and once the surface has some paint on it, the subsequent layers go on a little easier. However, even in that area, a very light touch is called for. More than two wet strokes, or a slightly too hard stroke, and you’re almost down to the white of the surface again. Blending colors on this surface may take some experimentation.
I’ll continue with this little piece and post an update when I’ve done more on it.
One of the beauties of this surface is that, until it’s varnished, I think I can wipe the whole thing off with a wet paper towel, with nothing more than a little bit of staining. Although at this point, I’m not sure this surface is even going to stain.
I’m working on this in between sessions of painting on other work. I also suspect the paint doesn’t dry quite as quickly as it would if I was painting on a true absorbent surface like illustration board, so some time between sessions is good. Okay, it doesn’t take THAT long, but my point is that I let it dry really well before coming back to it. Here’s how it looks after a second session:
Continuing with some subtle – and some not-so-subtle – variations in greens. (The palette here is cobalt blue (it was on the palette already), yellow ochre, burnt sienna, yellow medium and titanium white.) Even after the paint had thoroughly dried, it’s still very easy to get some lifting. Not quite as bad when stroking over a couple of layers of paint, but still very possible to go down a layer or two if the brush stroke is too firm. I don’t mind this in the grassy areas… it just looks like variations in the grass surface… but I try to avoid it in the tree foliage. You can see some softening of the paint strokes in several places, partly because I’m keeping values close, and partly just due to the softness of the stroke and the variation of brushes used.
I’ve decided I’m not happy with this one, especially the composition. A closer view of the creek entering the woods might be better, but I think that would be better at a larger size. So… as the final step in this little experiment/demonstration, I’ve decided to wipe the board off.
Here’s what happens when one wipes the paint off with a wet paper towel:
I’ve left part of it just for a before-and-after demonstration. It appears that the entire panel should wipe down to the original smooth white surface. I see nothing absorbent about this surface at all; it is just too smooth for my purposes. I’ll brush a light coat of gesso on these clayboard panels as I use them.