Gessoed Masonite Try it you’ll like it!

Did you try painting in watercolor and found it unforgiving and
difficult to control?   Don’t give up, learn a fun way to paint in
watercolor that is totally forgiving, fresh and beautiful. Even a
beginner with little or no experience can turn out great paintings.
The solution to frustration with watercolor is a simple one.  With clayboard or gessoed masonite, you
can wipe off the paint and start again. With watercolor on paper,
you probably found it difficult to change things once the paint was
dry. Not so with clayboard ( ampersand)  and watercolor… this isn’t a problem because you
can totally work and rework the surface. This alone conquers the fear of
painting in watercolor and allows you the freedom to try new
techniques not always possible in regular watercolor.

Painting in watercolor on gessoed masonite or clayboard can be just
the thing YOU need to re ignite your interest in watercolor again. With only a
clayboard, a few paints, some acrylic brushes and common household
supplies even a beginner can finish paintings that anyone would be
proud to call their own.

Stop by for my demonstration at:( See my schedule)  and meet Shanti Marie,  one of South Carolina’s Master watercolorists and learn
this simple and easy way to paint in watercolor.

Below are examples of the two surfaces, Ampersand or Clay board is smooth and the other is gessoed masonite which gives you the choice for a textured  surface or the boards can be sanded if you prefer a smooth finish.

Painting surfaces for watercolor

The first example is 300 lb watercolor paper. You can see by the first and the second photo that this paper is rather thick. Most folks frame watercolor on paper under glass to protect the painting and the paper.

This example is watercolor on wood panel, the wood is painted in gesso and the finished painting is varnished or sprayed with a fixative.

Here the watercolor is applied to gessoed masonite ( ampersand and clay board are brand names) this looks a lot like the wood panel but the masonite is much thinner. Folks usually frame this type of painting without glass since they are varnished.

This example is a gallery wrap canvas, the sides are painted so that the painting does not need a frame.

These are just a few of the supports used for watercolor and I’ll post others as I complete the paintings.
Illustration board, rice paper, bristol, cloth, and many other supports are used but the most common is watercolor paper.

All dogs go to heaven #17 farm days

A beautifully painted painting with my favorite buds…” Farm days” is just one of in my series “All dogs go to heaven”

This special painting is a watercolor on clayboard (ampersand), it has very slight or light texture and is a 5 by 7. It sells for only $50.00

I will spray it with a mat clear spray for protection and can be framed without glass. These small paintings make great gifts and are treasured by any dog lover.

Sunny Day Koi


I painted this the other day while I was demonstrating to my art class how the gessoed surface works with watercolor. Because this painting wasn’t finished I went ahead and finished it up in my studio. My Koi are very hungry these days and keep uprooting my lilies which have three or four lilly pads struggling to grow. The nights are still cool but I will assume the weather will be warmer any day now and those koi and the lilies will be growing!
8 by 10 watercolor on gessoed masonite sealed with a polymer clear coat. $95.00

lilly pad 8


This Watercolor is 4 by 4, (inches ) A watercolor on gessoboard & is for sale for $30.00 Plus S& H.
I painted this in the deductive manner. That means: I painted it and before it dried I used a wet brush to pulled out the objects from the still damp paint. Then, I allowed it to dry and later filled in the objects with another light glaze of paint. In this case the lighter color of yellow green.

Spring Koi

6 by 6 watercolor on gessoed masonite $40.00 for pay pal link

I wish I knew how to say no. Lately, I’ve had lots of people asking me for things, big and small… like teach a class at the local high school, hang a show in the fall, chair another art group, write a magazine article, loan them some money for beer, mentor college fine art student for thesis project, assist national artist for their workshop in Charlotte, attend grand opening meeting. This are only the requests for the last week or two.

Now, one of these may stick out as a little different than the rest, sure its easy to spot, its the beer money. I guess I look like the type that will not dismiss them and will at least be nice when I say no if I do say no. Of course I have not been able to say no to any of these folks. Not just the person who comes to me for my spare change but all the others. This is why I tend to rush from one thing to the next. So,…..this year is my year to say no. I’m going to try to cherry pick these tasks and figure out which ones I really enjoy and which one are helping others. I do believe in providing service to others and volunteer to several groups now. The problem comes in when one groups hears you do something for free and they want in on it.

Now that I have written this plan down, I hope I can stick to this plan, I’ll still do things for others and yes I’ll still give my change to people who are down on their luck, (no,don’t write me for money, see I’ve already started))but I won’t say yes to everything that is asked of me.

Lilly 3

This painting was painted in INK and Watercolor on Gessoed Masonite. Approximate size is 8 by 10.
The india colored inks do not really look like watercolor as they dry back a bit opaque and I used watercolor to glaze over them to bring back some of the intensity.

Under the falls

Under the falls
24 by 24 $400.00 Acrylic on panel

This painting is one that I started a few weeks ago and wanted to change the small fish on the upper left hand side of the painting. You can go to my painting a week blog to see it as it used to be.

It’s acrylic on masonite and is 24 by 24 ready to be framed. If you would like to buy this painting the price is $400.00 I’ll let it dry tonight and varnish it tomorrow.

I used my daily painting time this afternoon to get this piece finished.

I need to get it moved out of my painting area, it takes up too much space.

Sunflower Memories

Sunflower memories5 by 7 watercolor on clay board  45.00 Its a beautiful day here in the south (60 degrees F) and I’ve finished my big Koi painting. Feeling both happy & relieved I knew I would paint something I like. Since I love Sunflowers, I decided to paint a couple of sunflowers. I kept trying to come up with names for this painting … some considerations were: twin sunflowers, sunflower beauties and sunflower morning. I decided sunflower memories would be best because sunflowers are just a memory since they have been gone for a while.

Ocean Wave

The Sea ll4 by 6SOLD  $25.00 

I painted two of these yesterday, not that I was overly motivated, in fact I started out the day with no real idea as to what to paint.  I have a commissioned piece  ( a large one) I want to start but I have to cut the paper from my 10 foot roll and that means asking my husband for help and clearing everything off my painting table.   Not wanting to get that started, I decided I would paint my daily painting and get it out of the way before getting out the big roll of paper which will take over my entire small 11 by 12 foot space space. 

Lately I have been painting snow scenes and I thought of painting another one but wasn’t overly thrilled with that.  I decided to clean up my painting area.  You know, sometimes this helps… Its like getting the cob webs clear from your mine… getting organized also makes painting easier once you have decided what to paint.


I made a cup of hot chocolate and took a look around…  dog hair dust bunnies clung to the corners of my walls and corners of the room like people at a meeting when volunteers are asked to step forward.  Oh yes, did I mention I love books and as a visual person I love looking at anything with pictures… so of course  there are old newspapers, magazine articles, piles of reference books, art books, and my own photographs all just lying about taking up space, space I definitely will need.


  I decided to just dig  in and clean, pick up and throw away so I started in at the bottom… I swept, then I took out the trash…  working my way up… I cleaned up my table by throwing away the used Kleenex, candy wrappers, (yes I like to suck on mints or candy when I paint) and misc napkins or scraps of paper I draw on. I took the wet towels to the washing machine, put away stray palette knives and pin knives, cleaned my brushes, and laid them out to dry… got my water buckets filled,&  squeezed out fresh paint ( don’t ask me why, but this always gives me a bit of a trill) into my palette and got some paper out and of course looked down at the white paper with a “what now?”  


This sometimes happens to all artists, especially if you have a deadline to paint a painting every single day. I decided to look thru some books. Hoping for some inspiration. I was looking thru a book a pal of mine lent me about oceans and beautiful beaches all over the world and I realized I love the way water looks… not beaches but the actual water itself, its reflective qualities, color, shape, movement, it all intrigues me. The first surface that I thought of to use was clay board because water on clay board is very slippery and no matter what you do it always looks wet.  After doing one wave ( posted yesterday) I did another using alcohol for the white. Alcohol when spritz on (or dropped in) pushes water away from the surface exposing the surface of the paper or in this case the clay board. It has a very natural appearance and is usually very circular in shape.  I use this natural shape to make the wave look foamy It dries very fast and leaves the white area of your paper for you to reintroduce more color or just to leave as is.


If you have any questions about the use of alcohol just write to me and I can explain its application further. 

The sea

The Sea 4 by 6 25.00 I was looking thru a book last night and the book has numerous pictures of oceans and beaches all over the world.   I can say….    I was inspired.   I don’t usually like the ocean as much as most of my friends, I guess you could say I’m more of a Mountain person.   But water itself has always captivated me.   The currants and the movement of water is as beautiful as anything on earth.   This is smooth clay board 4 by 6 and I thought the slick surface would enhance the way the watercolor moves and it would look very natural.    I opted for a very simple wave.  For a daily painting I think its a great subject.