If Aquabord abuse were a crime, I’m pretty sure I’d be in the clink-y without a key-key….hehe. This surface is so much fun! This is watercolor and acrylics on a 6×6″ piece of Aquabord by Ampersand.
I thought I would share some ideas for how to have fun with Aquabord, a textured clay surface that absorbs watercolor (and even acrylics!) like paper:
- I enjoy dampening the surface well, dropping in any type of watercolor or acrylic paint or ink, and watching what happens. I usually spray the surface further with a water mister bottle to encourage different types of effects and get the color moving.
- Tilt your board this way and that, and try propping one side (or one corner) of the surface with a palette knife, pencil, or other tool if you like the swirls, pools and puddles you are seeing, and would like them to dry that way.
- While the surface is wet, try dropping rubbing alcohol from an eye dropper, one drop at a time, and watch how the alcohol relocates the paint.
- Aquabord is very easy to correct. Think watercolor paper on steroids, backed by a hardboard (Masonite type) surface. Ampersand, the manufacturer, advises that a damp paintbrush or a damp paper towel (I’ve even worked with Q-tips) is the best way to make corrections and lift pigment. I have run the surface under a cold running faucet many times, but Ampersand does NOT recommend this. If I were creating a painting to sell, I probably would not do it, as you wouldn’t want to risk the textured clay surface lifting from the hardboard support. I love this surface for the watercolor beginner, as it is very forgiving! Way more than any watercolor paper I have tried.
- Aquabord is tough. I worked with this particular painting for many hours, running it under the faucet (as we are not supposed to do) countless times. It didn’t give me any trouble until I took a palette knife to it several times, as you can see. 🙂
I have so much fun every time I paint on this surface! Aquabord was designed for watercolor paint specifically. Your paint will in all likelihood be more vibrant on Aquabord than on watercolor paper, as the pigment sits closer to the surface. Ampersand recommends that watercolor or gouache on this surface be sealed with several light coats of spray varnish or fixative when your painting is finished. The representative with whom I spoke suggested Krylon 1311, which is a matte spray. Ampersand’s website also mentions other Krylon UV resistant varnishes, such as this one, which has a clear finish. (Note: As a Dick Blick affiliate, purchases from these links help to support my site.)
I’d love to hear how you have played with Aquabord. I bet I haven’t even scratched the surface yet (haha, no pun intended). I hope we’re all gearing up for World Watercolor Month in July! Peace and have fun playing!