Clayboard verses paper, a watercolorist’s dilemma.

People write to me often and ask me why I paint on surfaces other than paper. Some folks have always challenged my methods because they are not traditional in nature. The use of heavy pigment at times almost straight from the tube, the use of spray fixative and of course the use of non traditional painting surfaces. First, I would mention that this is nothing new, people have been painting on gessoed masonite for over 40 years. I’m sure canvas, wood and other supports have always been available to watercolorists and have been used as well. I started painting on other surfaces for several reasons. I’ve painted on paper for more than 20 years and feeling like i was missing something, wanted to branch out. I’ve always like experimentation & now that I’m confident of my painting skills, wanted to see what else is out there for the watercolorist. There is a lot of work in the area of water media, which is exciting and fresh and not limited by the traditional restrictions of watercolor on paper. Even our state (SC) watercolor society changed their name to watermedia society and this made me realize that things were changing. The South Carolina watercolor society has always been at the forefront of new artistic avenues and being a part of it was important to me. I also found that sales of my paintings on clay board, canvas or gessoed masonite were selling for a higher price than the works on paper. These surfaces are actually easier to paint on once you learn their limitations and yet give the artist many ways to express an idea. Without having to plan ahead, and the ability to correct mistakes easily it helps the artist be more in the moment. It also allows the artist (especially the new artist) a certain amount of freedom that watercolor on paper can only do after many years of experience. I still love watercolor on paper and probably always will. It not that one is better than another but they offer the artist variety and a challenge. Also… why is it that we watercolor  artists feel we must restrict ourselves for traditional methods. Some of these methods aren’t even traditional but have just recently ( within the last 40 years) become rules. For instance the forbidden use of white paint, Turner, Homer, & Sargent all used white paint. I love the look of white paper but don’t see anything wrong with using white if the painting calls for it.

Here are three examples of very similar paintings on three different surfaces. Fom a distance they look very much the same but up close they have a slight variation in texture.  The one on the right is traditional 140 lb paper. The one in the middle is gessoed masonite and the last is illustration
(#100 )board.

DSCF2190 Gessoed masonite illustration board

watercolor paper


Ancient Ritual 117 Sold


4 by 4 watercolor on gessoed masonite…. abstract $25.00

This series explores the use of ritual in our lives to mark the passing of time and events in our lives.

I enjoyed my self doing the demo at cheap Joe’s today. I will be teaching a class there soon, email if interested in joining the class.

shipping is 5.50

“As the dogs watched”, watercolor on gessoed Illustration Board

SOLDthe-dos-watched.jpgSpecial of the Week $ 25.00 5.5 by 5.5 watercolor on gessoed Illustration board.Another small painting in my dog series. I have three dogs so I guess that why I continue to paint most of these in groups of three.


5 inches by 5 inches
watercolor on gessoed illustration board. 35.00 plus shipping

This landscape was painted with thick watercolor and very little water. The colors are naples yellow, primary red, indigo, pthalo blue and pthalo green .

“Nude” Michelle Washing


Watercolor on gessoed paper. 55.00   5 by 5 inches This is one of our models from my life drawing session I host on Saturday mornings.I gessoed the surface of some archival mat board and painted on it with watercolor. I drew her as she sat for us for one long pose.   I was able to get three drawings and this is one of them.   I brought two of them home to to paint.   Today I pulled out this small drawing  at my Tcal art league open studio  and decided it would be my daily painting.

Koi Games ll watercolor on Gessoed paper

Koi games ll NFS 5.5 by 8 inches

This morning I got up at 4:00 am so I could get everything finished. I’m working on my large painting ( see other blog at and of course I’m doing my regular daily activities . Anyway, I didn’t paint a small painting today and I decided to put this little painting up for you to see. I painted it a few days ago and I ‘ll be sending this off tomorrow to one of my collectors as a gift. I usually try to give my repeat customers a small gift of a painting or an ACEO every now and then. She purchased a number of my koi in the past and I think this painting will go well with some of her other Koi paintings.

Hope you like it!

Koi inka dink

Koi inka dink $40.00 US 6 by 7 inches

The name of this piece was suggested by a fellow artist and I’m sorry but I can’t remember who. It was during one of those times when I asked for suggestions and I received about twenty names.

This painting is is on Gessoed paper and I like the texture. How I make this texture is by spritzing the watercolor with water and wiping it off with a Kleenex. Where the spots of water fall onto the dry paint.. the kleenex picks up the color.