Watercolour on mounted paper in the making
Last week I wrote about my adventures with Daniel Smith Watercolor Ground. It might be a
good product for some (a lot of art friends are very positive about it) but it’s just not for me.
Still wanting to find a solution for not putting my drawings and watercolours behind glass I
also use Ampersand Aquabord and Ampersand Encausticbord. They both work very nice and
because of their surface they offer the possibility to varnish your art.
Still you’re dependent on the sizes Ampersand or your art supply store offers and it’s not
cheap to work on these boards.
Next thing I tried was mounting watercolour paper to board/ wood and here’s how I did it.
It takes a little preparation and time but taking an effort really pays off. Also make sure you got
all the supplies you need close by because some actions need to be done very quickly.
I started out with a panel of linden wood and a sheet of 300 g/m2 (140lb) of
Saunders Waterford watercolour paper.
First I cut the paper to a size a few centimetres bigger than the panel and put it aside on some
Next I sanded down the wooden panel making it a bit smoother than it already was. If your panel
is already very smooth you can skip the sanding part here.
Wipe the dust off with a damp cloth and tape the sides of your panel with painter’s tape.
This is to make sure the edges will stay clean during the mounting and also when you’re
actually painting your art.
Apply a layer of gesso on the panel. The gesso makes sure the acidic nature of the wood won’t
compromise the acid free paper you plan to work on. Let this dry before you proceed to the
Sand again, wipe again and you’re ready to apply the paper.
To make sure the paper is applied nice and smoothly have a very clean lino brayer on hand.
Apply a good thick layer of bookbinder glue on the panel. It needs to be wet when you fix the
panel to the paper. Glue it to the paper.
Turn your panel with the paper up and use your brayer to even out any glue or air bubbles.
Start in the middle and work to the edges. You can apply quite some pressure here
When you’re finished put the panel face down back on the paper towels.
Now you need to weigh down the panel. You can use a stack of heavy books for this. I used
a board first (bigger than my panel) and then stacked some heavy books on top.
It needs to dry like this for at least a few hours.
Now that the glue is dry you can cut of the excess paper with an x-acto knife. To make the
edges look really nice you can sand them with a careful downward motion using fine sanding
Now your panel is ready to paint!
Before doing this I did a lot of online research what other people were using and what steps
they would take. Also not all brands of supplies are available everywhere.
This is what works for me.
Artist Kelly McKernan has a very elaborate blogpost about how she mounts paper onto
panel which was a great help.
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This is a cropped image of a bigger painting
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Last April I got my hands on some Daniel Smith Watercolor Ground. The directions say it’s an
excellent ground for watercolour on all surfaces: canvas, paper, plaster, hardboard but
also non-absorbent surfaces like glass, plastic, metal etc.
‘Sounds pretty good!’ I thought, I’ve been searching for a way not having the need to put
my art behind glass and there are ways but I thought I needed a surface other than paper.
So I tried the ground on a canvas board. I applied different layers and waited at least 24
hours before applying the next layer. I’m used to combine both bistre and watercolour in the
same painting and did so on the treated canvas board.
To my surprise the ground started to mix with the bistre and I needed to switch techniques to
make something of the painting.
A while later I decided to give the watercolour ground another try, just using watercolour.
This time the ground didn’t dissolve or mix so I started out quite happy. Until I applied the
second layer of watercolour…
When using watercolour on paper the paper absorbs the water/ paint. When you apply a
second layer you can just paint over the first or mix the new paint with the previously applied
paint depending on how much water you use.
Not with the watercolour ground. Because it’s non-absorbent a second layer totally destroys
the first layer!
Because of this I was forced to paint the face again and again for several times. This was so
frustrating I was tempted to wash it off completely or throw it against a wall or something.
I decided against both options and am trying to finish this as well as I can but it takes a lot of
Right now I’m not really happy with how it looks, I hope I can fix it without totally destroying
all the previous work…
A better solution for my ‘not-wanting-to-put-my-art-behind-glass problem’ is mounting
watercolour paper on board or wood. More about that later!!
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This is the first time in two years I'm not doing a 30 in 30 project in January.
The 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge by Leslie Saeta is postponed to February but I don't
think I'll participate this time.
The last two years December and January were very hectic. Planning, preparing, making,
posting, it was fun and I learned a lot but it was also very trying because it would take place
during the Christmas holidays when my boyfriends' son would be with us. With me
ending up not being able to do fun stuff with them or work long hours one day to work ahead
and have fun the next.
This year I really enjoyed the downtime during the holidays and I’m planning to make my art
in a more relaxed setting and listen to my gut because I was just stressed all the time.
Still, doing nothing is hard so I made some small projects. I cut a brand stamp and also a
name stamp in my own handwriting. Can't wait to use these on new projects and shipments.
I do have some plans for the next few months but I either just started or am still in the
experimental phase so more on that soon.
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Every year I make a New Years print for everyone who bought original art by me.
This year I decided on a single snowdrop. That precious little flower that pops up first
foreboding spring when nature is still quite cold. I love the promise it represents.
The ink I used for this print is a mix of silver and Prussian blue. I added the blue to make the
colour a bit darker and more diverse. Funny thing was when I moved the ink around with my
palette knife or ink roller it would look blue, when left alone it would turn silver again.
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