Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I got some clayboard for Christmas

One of my Christmas presents (from Gayle Mason) was a sheet of clayboard. Gayle has been recently experimenting with black clayboard and is absolutely loving it. I'm currently trying to find out more about it so that I can see whether/how much I need to add to my order for Ampersand's Pastelbord (which I am now officially 'in love' with)

Clayboard is especially suitable for people wanting to do scratchboard art, draw in fine detail (as Gayle does) or as I do - increasingly use erasure as part of the process of drawing. Gayle knew I was after a surface which would allow me to develop this aspect even more - and clayboard is the current candidate for a medium which supports this approach. My main concern is that it should be soft enough for me to be able to use a tool without aggravating my tenosynovitis (which fortunately has now subsided).

Use of the clayboard would also allow my work to be framed without glass once it has been sealed - which means no need for a mat (Yippee!!!) although where I can get hold of an appropriate sealant spray might be a whole other research project!

I'm currently searching for relevant information before I start to work out what I might use the board for. So this post records some highlights of that search to date.

Supplier's technical details

Ampersand make clayboard - in 'smooth', 'black, and 'textured'. I've got the smooth clayboard in white about which the Ampersand website says

"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 Smooth is available in a 1/8" flat panel, a 3/4" cradle or with a 2" Deep Cradle..............(it is) very rigid and durable, repeated erasure and manipulation of the pencils won't harm the surface"

The Ampersand website also provides information in the tips section about how to use its products with different painting and drawing media - including Acrylics, Airbrush, Casein, Egg tempera, Encaustic, Graphite & colored pencils, Inks, Oils, Pastels, Printmaking, Graphic Media & Calligraphy, Watercolor & Gouache, Scratchboard (Sgraffito)

Other relevant websites

There appears to be rather more information on the internet about scratchboard than clayboard but it's more likely that these sites provide the information about how best to treat the surface and what sort of tools can be used to mark the surface. So although I'm interested in making marks rather than scratchboard art per se I've been having a look at some of the scratchboard sites to see if I can find out more.
Websites and links that I've found so far as are follows:

Questions which I need to investigate further include:

* whether to coat the surface with paint first before using coloured pencils
* which media produces the best colour overall if a subtractive process is used (and can I use it under CP)

Anybody with any tips out there?

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  1. It looks like a bit of a complicated process for using coloured pencil with, but the results look lovely. I'll be watching to see your experiments with this support.

  2. it sounds interesting - I like the possibilities of scratching through to regain fine white lines. I look forward to seeing what you do with it :)

  3. I've been researching scratchboard for a while now, and have found that some artists prefer a clear latex enamel matte finish. I have not been using a finish on my works.

  4. I'm experiencing a problem at the moment using color pencils on claybord. After using an eraser, the claybord won't take color. I'm not sure if the problem is the eraser or the board.

  5. That's interesting - I've not heard that before. Thanks for the feedback.


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