Experiments with claybord: part one

I’m sorry to say I’m still not able to stand at my easel and paint (see here for the riveting reason why).

I have managed a little bit of sitting at my desk though.  Early last week I ordered some claybord panels.  They fascinate me, and one of my favourite things is discovering new painting surfaces.  These claybords are smoooooth.  As a baby’s bottom.  They’re silky clay.  They look a little like a matt tile.

Now according to the blurb, you can put any medium on these: watercolour, ink, acrylic, and oil, though Ampersand, the makers, stress though it can be used for oil, many oil painters find the paint dries too quickly to work with.  You can also scratch it, and sand it back to a bare surface again.  Wowzers.

I’m not sure why I thought I would get along with these.  I mean, I can’t even watercolour on regular paper.  Though that fact still remains, I’m still strangely enamored with this surface.

First, I tried acrylic.  I wasn’t particularly interested in using it in my usual way: instead I thinned it down quite a bit with airbrush medium and flow release, and a bit of water.  When you paint it on, the pigment doesn’t behave as it does on paper.  Clay has a different sort of capillary action (I’m guessing), and being smooth, the whole thing can get out of control very quickly.

Acrylic explorations on claybord by artist Vicki Hutchins
acrylic on claybord

I absolutely love the edges the acrylic created.  I also liked how the pigment granulated in the bottom left.

I also tried a section of the painting with thicker paint.  It did go on, but didn’t cover very well.  The beauty of claybord is it’s surface and the luminescence it can add to a piece, so I don’t see the point of covering over it so opaquely.

Next up was watercolour:

Watercolour on clayboard by artist Vicki Hutchins
watercolour on claybord


I love this as a piece of work.  I’m not sure the photograph does justice to the quality and translucency of the watercolour though.  Here’s a close up:

Watercolour on clayboard by artist Vicki Hutchins
Love the way the watercolour has bloomed

The thing I do find a little frustrating about the claybord is though it looks white, it photographs a little on the peachy side.

I did of course have a bash with oils.  My word – oils dry quicker on claybord than acrylics do on any surface.  I was shocked.  I tried to put them on thinly, diluted down with Zest it, then linseed, hoping to keep things luminous, but no.  The thing about claybord, in what ever medium I tried was,  painting over layers that were still wet or damp just meant you went back to the claybord.  It was only when I left the claybord overnight  that I could add more layers – but only very carefully.  So oil on claybord is not for me, but I did quite like this little section here where the Zest it created this pattern:

Oil on clayboard by artist Vicki Hutchins
oil on claybord

I also, naturally, tried a bit of pastel over the top of the water colour and acrylic – no can do.  Imagine rubbing pastel on glass.  It just didn’t cling at all.  Having said that, I didn’t try my very expensive soft pastels, this was my Amazon-under-ten-pounds-set.

Ok, I’m blogged out so I’ll try and post part two later this week, and share my attempts at landscape painting on claybord and how vodka came in handy, but not in the way you think!

p.s. this is not a sponsored post!  Just if you were wondering.


11 thoughts on “Experiments with claybord: part one

      • REcreate-RebeccaEvansCreate April 26, 2016 / 11:18 pm

        I will check that out….just did an order with them last week, so may need to wait a while, although it was only for a small pot of bleed proof white paint, I just could not find it on SAA website, so had to do one order from Jacksons and one from SAA for some other stuff. I must admit this clay board appears more interesting than I thought, after reading your post, so quite excited to get some soon 😀


  1. Catherine Johnson April 25, 2016 / 8:49 pm

    Great experiment, Vicki! I love the look of watercolor on clay board. Get well soon!


  2. debiriley April 25, 2016 / 11:28 pm

    that cobalt teal blue paired with lilac violet are my favorite colors, they team up so well !

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Laura (Createarteveryday) April 26, 2016 / 1:09 pm

    Wow! My favorite is the acrylic piece. It’s so cool you shared this just now, when I just got my first order of gessobord and aquabord! I’m so curious now to see how they’ll turn out with paint added. Your experiments are inspiring me, Vicki! I hope you’re feeling better, and thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • vickihutchinsartist April 26, 2016 / 3:18 pm

      Yes, I really love the frilly edges of the acrylic piece – it reminds me of ocean coral. I’m so interested in how the gesso bord and aqua bord compare – can’t wait to see what you do with it! (on a seperate note, thank you for your good wishes….still not able to move my shoulder much, need to find another way to paint!)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laura (Createarteveryday) April 26, 2016 / 5:35 pm

        I’ve not learned to use my shoulder yet, lol. I do hope it loosens up for you soon. Really looking forward to using them both, and will definitely share! So glad you’re excited to see! :))

        Liked by 1 person

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