Friday, September 4, 2009

Experiments with Grounds - 4

When I visited Walt Gonske's studio last winter, he told me he recently discovered Ampersand Claybord for oil painting. He paints vigorously with a loaded brush and loves to have the stroke break and jump as he lays it down. Claybord, he claimed, gave him just the right effect.

Today's test was with Claybord, and Walt's right! The surface is the most absorbent I've worked on to date, even more so than traditional gesso. For my first layers, I had to add more Gamsol and medium (Shiva Medium Light) to get a flowing stroke. It didn't take long for my first layer to dry. I would not describe this as getting "tacky" - it's a stage beyond tacky, for the paint almost feels waxy. Later strokes broke beautifully, giving the painting a lot of sparkle.

In addition to the painting, I've provided a close-up so you can see the strokes.

"The Broken Color of Morning"
6x6, oil/panel



Robert Bissett said...

Are you testing Golden's 'Absorbent Ground'?


Michael Chesley Johnson said...

Hi, Robert. No, I don't have that one. I do plan a full-featured article on grounds, and when I research that, I'll be testing as many as I can get!

Elflling said...

Thanks a lot for sharing all the information of your tests... I wanted to try out Ampersand's clayboard after reading your blog, but was not sure which type of clayboard you used? -- They have quite a few in their line, ranging from "Gesso Board", "Clayboard Smooth" to "Aquaboard" for watercolor and black gesso board for scratch-board drawing... I am a little lost in all the choice here, and I was wondering whether you can share which one you tried out for the painting today? Thanks a lot!

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

The only Claybord I'm aware of it just plain old "Claybord." It's this one:

Carolyn said...

I'm enjoying reading about all your tests of oil painting products. I haven't oil painted in 30 or so years, and it is great to hear about the products available now and how they work. At some point I will break down and put the pastels and watercolors aside and get into oils again....and I'll be able to make informed choices....thanks to you!

Kath Schifano said...

Opened my Artist's Magazine over coffee & noticed your article- but I also painted the Niagara River today-a humungous wave in the rapids-& thought about the 'four value' concept I had skimmed this morning. Glad you included grid samples-it was full sun, far away, so your illustration of middle values in bright light happened to be what I used. Came home to reread & get the aha! moment of why it worked.
Kathy Schifano