Featured artist: Jennifer Redstreake Geary

Ball Jar with Flowers, 8x10, watercolor on Ampersand Aquabord
Jennifer Redstreake Geary, both a full-time mom and full-time graphic designer is also a prolific artist who is highly sought after for her work in watercolor and pastel. Her work as an artist began before kindergarten, and she found solace in drawing throughout high school and college. Only recently, did watercolors find their way into her repertoire when a friend introduced Aquabord to her as an alternative surface to paper.
Savanah With Green Gloves, 8x10, watercolor on Ampersand Aquabord
Poor materials turned Jennifer off to watercolors years ago, when her first workshop included flimsy paper, poor brushes, and a cheap watercolor pan. So turned off in fact, she refused to try another class or to ever use watercolor again. An admirer of Jennifer's pastel work suggested she try again, but this time using Aquabord and much better paints. "I was skeptical," Jennifer explains. "How could this be any different than painting on paper? I took it home along with a palette full of watercolors that she squeezed for me to try. I painted a cactus fruit. It was 'love at first brush stroke', so to speak." It was the color and control Jennifer had over the working surface and paint that drew her into painting.
"It was love at first brush stroke." - Jennifer Redstreake Geary
Since Aquabord is rigid, the surface doesn't wrinkle like paper and with an absorbent surface, the paint glides on, layers easily, and is simple to remove in subtractive techniques. "Using watercolors along with Aquabord is the perfect marriage, to me, of mediums. I feel as if I am creating 'GOOD' artwork for the first time," Jennifer shares. To finish her pieces, Jennifer uses 3-4 coats of varnish, a Krylon Satin Varnish, sprayed evenly in opposing directions for ideal coverage.
Golden Eyes, 12x9, soft pastel on Ampersand Pastelbord
Since Jennifer also teaches classes in her spare moments, she has introduced her own students to Aquabord. New artists can really benefit from using quality supplies when they begin with a medium. Unlike Jennifer's own first watercolor class experience, her students walk away with a successful piece, and they return to her classes. Long before Jennifer started using Aquabord, though, she was using Pastelbord and Hardbord. Since it was drawing and soft pastel that first drew her into arts, she found her way to Pastelbord via the advice of another good friend.
Hardbord was another natural gravitation for her collage and mixed media work. The Hardbord surface takes gesso well, after being sealed, and is a perfect solution for mixed media. The cradled frame is ideal for these pieces as they are ready to hang when complete and sell quite well for her at art festivals and on Etsy. If you would like to experience Aquabord firsthand with a seasoned painter, Jennifer teaches watercolor classes at the Tullahoma Fine Arts Center in Tullahoma, TN. To see more of Jennifer's work, visit her website or Instagram.

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