Last year I won a package of Ampersand Aquabord in the Pikes Peak International Exhibition. I finally had a chance to try one out. It was quite a learning curve; very different than painting on cold press paper. I think the result turned out pretty well, and it was a lot of fun.
This painting is of my friend Anne's daughter, who is a beautiful and talented dancer. I titled it Anoesis which means "a state of mind consisting of pure sensation or emotion without cognitive content." (Of course I had to use a thesaurus for that one!)
In case you'd like to try this surface, here are a few tips:
Flushing the Surface
There are air bubbles trapped in the clay coating of the Aquabord, so you first need to flush the surface before painting. To do this, you want to create a large wash using water only. As the water drops into the surface, bubbles will appear to fizz . Continue to apply water until the fizzing dissipates. Allow the surface to reach a low sheen, then, using a water mister, spray the surface and apply your first layer of paint.
Applying the Paint
I applied the first layers using a very watery wash. While the paint was still wet, I added more water and floated in other colors allowing the paint to mingle on the surface. After those first layers dried, I added more layers on top using a soft brush--being very careful not to disturb the bottom layers.
Lifting the Paint
To completely lift the paint in areas, I grabbed a stiff nylon brush normally used for oil painting. I dampened the brush, rubbed the tip of the brush firmly on the area to lift, then rinsed and dabbed the brush on a towel. I repeated these steps until the paint was completely lifted. For a partial lift, I used the side only of a softer brush and gently rubbed the area until the top layer lifted.
Sealing the Surface
When the painting was finished, I sprayed the board with several layers of Matte Retouch Varnish, then applied several coats of Golden's Polymer Varnish Satin.
Because the surface is protected with varnish, You don't have to use mats or glass when framing. Simply choose your frame and voila!