Mounting watercolor paper on panel

Dustan Knight is a true believer in watercolor and wanted to give her watercolors the size and presentation that would allow them to compete with works on canvas. However, when she considered the glass and framing costs for her large size paintings it was truly daunting. Ampersand has helped her solve this dilemma by offering an acid-free cradled panel that she uses as a support and frame for her watercolor paintings. Golden® has a range of acrylic gel mediums and varnishes that allow her to finish the watercolors without the need for glass. The results have elevated her traditional watercolor paintings to a new level of intensity and accessibility.


Here are the steps Dustan follows:

  1. She choses Ampersand Claybord because the surface is acid-free and will not affect her paper when mounted. This rigid, ultra-smooth surface has a beautiful birch frame attached flush to the back edge of the panel and gives her watercolors a whole new look!
  2. Cut your watercolor paper a bit larger than the panel size.
  3. Soak the paper just enough to give it a cloth like flexibility.
  4. Next, layer Golden Soft Gel Medium on the Claybord panel as evenly as possible.
  5. Then, lay the wet watercolor paper on the gel coated Ampersand Claybord, working bubbles out gently.
  6. As the paper begins to dry, begin painting into it using wet into wet watercolor techniques.
  7. Let your piece dry completely before carefully laying Golden’s soft gel medium over the painting (Dustan usually waits a couple of days). Concentrate on lighter areas first and darker areas last, paying close attention to avoid smearing. Let it dry and repeat this step a couple of times.
  8. Then, trim the edges of the paper and decide whether to paint or stain the edges of the cradle or leave them in their natural birch color.
  9. As a finishing step, varnish the piece with Golden UV resistant medium.


Artist Bio:

Dustan Knight has an MFA from Pratt Institute and an MA from Boston University in Art History. She is a working artist, winning awards, and exhibiting throughout New England. She also offers workshops, writes regional reviews for Art New England, and teaches as an adjunct professor at several local art colleges. Visit her website to see a monthly updated selection of her current artwork.

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