Friday, September 11, 2009

Watercolor Rhododendron

 5" x 7"
watercolor on Ampersand Aquabord
Stacy L. Rowan

Back in the Spring, Jeanette Jobson provided a lovely reference of a rhododendron for the April VSD challenge. I didn't have time to submit a painting during the challenge dates, but I saved the reference to tackle later. I pulled this reference out over the summer along with a 5 inch by 7 inch piece of Aquabord and gave it a whirl.

The Aquabord I used was actually an older piece because it was stamped on the back "Textured Claybord" which is an older name for this product. Watercolor paint handles a little differently on this board than it does on the Arches 140lb. cold press paper that I typically use. The biggest difference I found was that I had to be careful not to pick up the dry paint as I added additional layers. But I pretty quickly got used to the different feel.

Aquabord is very forgiving. As I mentioned above, the paint is easy to lift and you can get back to the white of the board without too much work if you are using non-staining pigments. (I don't typically use staining pigments so I can't comment on the ability to lift those.) I found that this lifting ability made me more adventurous in my painting. I wasn't worried about making a mistake that I couldn't recover from. I am trying to balance my normal technical approach with some more expressive painting, so the lifting ability encouraged me to experiment.

I also felt that my colors ended up more saturated than normal. I'm not sure if that is a result of the painting surface, the change in how I had to handle the paint or something else.

One of the things I really like about the Aquabord is that after spraying the painting it can be framed without glass. Framing without glass will eliminate the glare issue from light reflecting off the glass. It will also make it easier to ship the framed painting. I already have a nice mahogany colored plein aire frame and hope to be framing it next week.

Overall, I am very pleased with the outcome of this painting and am looking forward to starting another on Aquabord. I'd love to hear if anyone else has experience using this surface. Please feel free to leave your experiences in the comments.


Jeanette said...

This is a winner Stacy. I love the rich, vibrant colours against the more subdued green.

I haven't used Aquabord or seen it here, but then again, I live on an island in the Atlantic, so unless its in popular demand, it doesn't get here!

It sounds sort of similar to Yupo but perhaps less trying. Have you used yupo?

Rose Welty said...

I like the saturated colors here Stacy, for this photo I think it makes a more compelling image.

I've used Aquabord for acrylics too - the wash off feature is very nice. :D

Jennifer Rose said...

nice vibrant looking colours :) its very soft looking

Pedro Garcia Millan said...
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Stacy said...

Thanks Jeanette! I had fun with the greens, which was a bit surprising because greens can sometimes be a challenge. I find it MUCH easier to control the paint on Aquabord than on Yupo. Paint seems to have a mind of its own on Yupo. The control to get sharp edges is there for Aquabord, but the lifting properties are similar and the paint doesn't really sink in to the surface.

Thanks Rose! I was pleased with the colors even though I think they are bolder than I typically use.

Thank you Jennifer!

bluelilac said...

You did a such a great job with this one! Love it.