Ink and new foundations….

I’m working with my oils again plus also working in inks (they work well together – inks keep me busy while the oil paint dries!)

The Panels….

This is the first time that I have used Ampersand boards, I have such a love for paper, but I was curious to see how they compared to my favourites.

“All of Ampersand’s Museum Series panels are handcrafted in the US and are made with a solid core, highly dense, true artist hardboard that makes them less prone to warping than other panels. Tested to last over 200 years, only Ampersand seals their hardboard panels with patented Archiva-seal barrier technology. This provides a superior archival barrier between the wood substrate and the painting surface. –


The medium…..

In all of the artworks, I created a painting to see how the black ink responded to each base layer. I use Art Spectrum Archival Inks. Each was a different effect – which was to be expected really. The following are my observations using ink, although they are designed for various mediums, including oils. Pastels, Scratchboard and Encaustic have a board specifically for each purpose too, but as I am working in ink I chose not to trial those.


The claybord is a smooth board, more off-white then the others, which the pigment pen had difficulty marking at times. The board produced a more graphic illustration effect, rather then a painterly effect – to me it almost appears that the ink was created digitally rather then by hand as it was.

The gessobord has more tooth to the board rather then the smooth clay surface of the claybord. This is the board that is intended for mixed media and paints, and is covered in a quality gesso. The inks were able to grab onto the board more effectively on this one, giving more time to create effects as the ink dried. I enjoyed the wash effects I achieved on this board.

The final board – the aquabord is intended for watercolours as the name suggests. There is a tip on the back of the packaging to lay a fine film of water over the surface first to release any trapped air – there were tiny bubbles when I did this so I feel it is well worth doing. This is the board that I felt worked best with the pigment pen, and if I was looking for a board to use rather then straight paper, I think this is a good option.


The benefits of these boards? For those wanting to have a sturdier foundation for ink and watercolours, there is no concern about buckling papers.  I feel they would be perfect to use en plein air.

I missed the feel of working on paper though. Even though I need to press my papers often after creating my ink paintings, the effort of pressing is still worth it to me.  I think these boards will be kept for more of my outside art experiences rather then those in my studio.

Keep in mind I worked in monotone as I do, so I am unable to comment on how I found colour to play on the boards. I first saw these in the art stores last year, I’m not sure how long they have been in use, but it is nice to know the materials are made from professional grade archival materials – ensuring your creations will be around for years to come.  Some also come with a cradle meaning framing or float mounting isn’t needed, which is a great positive too.

Click here to see more of the works included in this post!

Have you included the boards in your art practice? Leave a comment below if you found them to be useful for you!

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