Our in-house artist and one of our writers decided to test out the Ampersand Claybord. Below is his thoughts on this interesting product.
Ampersand Claybord is a painting panel that comes in a variety of sizes and is pre-primed with a clay ground, giving the surface an exceptionally smooth finish. The panel is lightweight, sturdy and has a depth of 3mm to allow for ease of storage and framing.
One of the perks of using this particular panel is that it is slightly more mutable than the others in this series. The Kaolin, acid-free clay coating that is used to prime the material has unique properties that give way to interesting effects. In a manner similar to lino cut, you can scrape away sections of the panel at your discretion, giving the remaining sections a relief effect. The scraping is best done with a rigid metal tool such as a screwdriver or lino blade. Particularly useful if texture is needed as the surface is originally extremely smooth, the use of sgraffito techniques is fantastic on this surface as the panel itself can be scraped into and not just the paint.
Artisan water-mixable oil used on this Claybord Panel.
Other than its scraping ability the panel is designed with Oil and Acrylic painting in mind, so in lieu of this, for this review Winsor & Newton water-mixable oil paints were used. The oil paint felt buttery, smooth and responsive when being placed onto the surface with subtle differences to its feel on traditional canvas. The semi absorbent feel and smoothness of the panel made it feel as though less paint was needed for the same area, one stroke could be spread out to cover a vast area with lower tinting strength the wider the area was.
In trying to maintain a flat sky for the painting in question, even with a fine synthetic brush it was extremely difficult to not have some brush marks left over. Admittedly this gave the sky a smooth flowing effect that worked out in the end but might prove challenging for anyone looking to have a flat block of colour. When painting the foreground the panel held up beautifully, the swift brush strokes utilised with a measure of impasto gave the piece a sense of urgent calm. Impasto work seems to be ideal for these panels as the rigid surface and lack of bounce allows for expressive mark making. In this instance a hog fan brush was used to create the choppy grass effect that layers over till the bottom of the piece.
As a final flourish to the piece of work, the fan brush was dipped into heavily diluted titanium white paint and splattered across the surface. Intended as a test to measure the way the surface responded to wet media, the panel actually worked beautifully, absorbing the excess liquid yet not impeding on the bright white colour of the paint.
The panel worked well for this piece of work, none of the standard processes employed were impeded by its nature. The smooth finish allowed for a strong retention of brush strokes and if it were desired, detail too. If you are wanting a material that you can achieve a smooth, flat finish then this is perhaps not for you. Admittedly during this process no mediums were used to alter the paint, nor was any water used to dilute it during the painting process. As such, this may be due to oil paints being a highly viscous compound that resulted in a large amount of strokes being visible.
It was fresh, unique and affordable. The scraping ability was ace and allowed for some nice effects to be created pre-painting. Also the feel when working on the surface is sublime and gives a good point of difference compared to standard canvas.
Click Here to view our Ampersand range we currently have in stock.
Art - Joe Jackson
Title and Product Shot - Sandra Manchester