Monday, May 07, 2007

A Bit About Clayboard

I thought I'd write some info about the "Claybord" (an Ampersand product) support that I like to paint on.
I had a problem last fall and suddenly hated painting on linen/cotton. The weave just threw me off. I hated the way my brush dragged on it. I had some panels that were like just a white masonite and I loved the very smooth, slick surface, but I did not remember where I got them (and no product info on the back). I also wanted to try to paint on a black surface and so tried black Claybord. I love the slick surface - my brush just glides over it and leaves a nice stroke, no dragging and no weave showing through. I get richer colors and feel that I can see my painting better as it develops out of the dark surface.
Claybord is made for scratch techniques and an excellent example of this is the art of Naquaiya (see my right column for a link). But I checked with Ampersand and some historical information and it can be used for oil painting. Turns out some of the masters used clay in their supports and its especially good for glazing techniques.
It IS absorbant though and oils will dry quickly and almost powdery (esp. if you use a lot of white). So before painting, I spray the surface with a coating of damar retouch varnish to seal it and retard that absorption. That helps quite a bit and then when the painting is dry and I varnish it, the paint shines beautifully and the brushwork is really luscious, with no weave! Its all just the texture of the brush and oils. And I love it. I am so glad that I found the surface. Now, gessoboard is a close second to this surface and I do use it as well (painting it first with black gesso), but the brush does not glide quite so well. I use a lot of long strokes in my work too, so the slicker surfaces are ideal for me.
To see a work on black clayboard progress click here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this information! Your paintings are wonderful!

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