Friday, January 23, 2009

Bullrushes on claybord - work in progress

Bullrushes #1 - work in progress
14" x 11" coloured pencils on Ampersand Claybord
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

I'm afraid my eyes can't cope with another session of creating itemised lists in Squidoo (more about selling art online next week) so I'm going to fall back on that old faithful - the work in progress!

This is a start - and is maybe about halfway through - but I've no idea how long it will take to finish. The reason I'm unsure is because this is my first attempt at using an 14" x 11" piece of Ampersand Claybord.

Here's a summary of of what Clayboard is.....
Clayboard (TM)
This museum quality panel is coated with a smooth absorbent clay ground comparable to the clay gesso grounds used during the Renaissance. Archival, lightfast, and acid free, the panels are ideal for acrylics, gouache, tempera, egg tempera, pen and inks as well as for mixed media techniques, airbrush, and collage. The surface is additive and subtractive. Remove paints to add contrast, texture, tonal value and fine details. Perfect for any artwork that requires an extremely smooth surface. Claybord is available in a 1/8" flat panel, a 3/4" cradle or with a 2" Deep Cradle.
...followed by a summary of what I've identified as the Pros and Cons to date when using this as a support for coloured pencils.

I should add I'm using a 1/8" flat panel of Clayboard Smooth

Pros
  • super smooth surface - like the smoothest paper you've ever used. There is absolutely no grain at all. Rather like very fine gesso panel but not so dry. People who really like hot press will probably like this.
  • coloured pencils definitely like it.
  • using a battery powered eraser can work in the same way as when you indent a line into paper. I'm working over the water ripples (towards the bottom) and they stay fairly clean of pencil - and it would be very easy to go over them to spruce them up
  • Possible to frame without glass.
Cons
  • I think there are going to be problems getting a saturated colour - I'm not optimistic (and am just wondering what a judicious use of Zest-It might do). I don't this is a surface where many layers make a difference
  • when I use a battery powered eraser, it removes any coloured pencil mistakes really easily. However it also marks the surface and can leave you with a mark in the wrong place. (A smooth but blunt and larger surface of an eraser seems to present fewer problems in terms of marking the surface unnecessarily.)
Has anybody else used Claybord - and, if so, do you have any tips? This is what Ampersand has to say about using it with graphite and coloured pencils.
Both graphite and colored pencils work well with Claybord (Smooth). The softer the lead and the higher the pigment content, the better. Claybord's (Smooth) rigidity, soft tooth finish, avenues for manipulation, and archival qualities makes it a fresh alternative for pencil work. If you need more texture on your panel, try Claybord Textured which can be used as is or sanded to the tooth desired.
I think I maybe need to start using my softer pencils..........

Ampersand also provide advice on the use of Clayboard with other media
Using Claybord and...
This work will be making its way across to the Watermarks blog in due course.

Links:
  • Ampersand Art Supply Ampersand Art Supply 1500 East Fourth Street Austin, TX 78702; (800)822-1939 toll free; (512) 322-9928 fax

9 comments:

muddy red shoes said...

ooh, never heard of it but interesting. I am planning a load of posts ref supports for painting, will have to add this to my list.

Rose Welty said...

I had similar issues with saturation of color...I couldn't get more than a "faded" look. I tried an underpainting...which sort of helped, but the pencils weren't "bold" enough to cover the painting, if that makes sense. You really saw the underpainting, the pencils seemed a bad afterthought.

I thought I did try some fixative, but it didn't seem to help either. Perhaps the issue was me and not the materials. :D

janabouc said...

I LOVE this painting just as it is! Beautiful colors and design! I'm also in love with Ampersand's GessoBord.

GessoBord (a sister product of Claybord) is the most amazing surface for oil painting, and has the opposite effects that you're encountering: the color is more vibrant and saturated on Gessobord than on any other surface I've tried with oils (and I've tried just about everything). I never want to paint on any other surface again (but have lots of other supports to use up so will have to...rats!).

Ampersand does warn that while the Claybord can be used for oils, to expect the color to sink in and be less vibrant so I haven't been interested in trying it. I also tried a sample of their "bord" for watercolor -- forget what it's called. It's great but too expensive compared to watercolor paper to bother exploring further.

donna said...

Fun part is scratching into it and there are lots of texturing tools. It is awesome for airbrushing, and you can create art and designs and then scratch in patterns. Neat stuff.

Don't know about colored pencil, but I have never gotten any great results on any surface with them, really. They're fun for sketching but I can never get the kind of saturated colors I like using them.

Nancy Moskovitz said...

Your painting looks beautiful to me in the soft direction it's going. Maybe it would help to go with the flow and save saturation for another time.
I never considered using colored pencil on smooth claybord. Thanks for sharing.

Jeanette said...

I like the softness in this piece. Water lends itself to more muted colours so clayboard may be just the thing. However you don't want your colours to evaporate either.

I wonder if a mixed media may be effective here? Perhaps some pen and ink to bring out the contrasts after the cp is down?

I've never used clayboard myself, so can't provide any first hand knowledge of it.

anita said...

Interested to hear what you think of clayboard as I couldn't quite imagine what it was or how it would work.
Love the painting - almost abstract in its patterns. Very nice!

Teresa Mallen said...

I too like the soft look, I especially like how the reflections in the water are turning out.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this surface. I have often wondered how this support would respond to coloured pencils. I shall be watching to see if the saturation issue is resolved.

Gesa said...

I agree with many of the comments before: the softness of this wip is very intriguing and I like the ambiguity of it.

I am also intrigued by the support, since I've got the CPs and with the printmaking too, I've become a bit more explorative of paper surfaces again and this goes on my list to try.

Mixed media - something water-based or, indeed, zest-it may deepen colours?

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