Fixative on Claybord

Q. Should I use Ampersand’s fixative for watercolor and acrylic works on Ampersand’s Claybord, or will other brands work as well, such as Krylon workable fixative? Also, should I apply acrylic gesso on Claybord before working with acrylic paints?

A. Ampersand’s fixative is fine to use for watercolors, but it’s better when you’re using acrylics to use a spray varnish made specifically for acrylic dispersion paints. On the other hand, you might want to consider using a Krylon varnish, not a workable fixative, to preserve your acrylic paintings. Not only does it have a good reputation, but some of the varnishes also contain ultraviolet light absorbers and inhibitors, which improves their performance and longevity.

It’s not necessary for you to apply an acrylic ground to Claybord before you paint with acrylic dispersion paints, especially if you paint in more than one layer and slightly thin the first coat. However, if you don’t like the absorbency of the Claybord surface, you can apply a thinned coat of acrylic dispersion medium to it: Thin a pint of the medium with about a teaspoon of water and brush it on.

Jane Jones launched her art career in her mid-30s when she graduated from art school. She soon began teaching art history at Red Rocks Community College (Lakewood, Colorado) and painting as much as possible. Since then, Jones’ paintings have garnered numerous awards in juried competitions. Her work has also appeared in Best of Flower Painting and Best of Flower Painting 2 (both published by North Light Books), and is currently available as limited-edition prints form Mill Pond Press. Based in Arvada, Colorado, Jones is a member of several art-related societies and is represented by LeKAE Gallery (Scottsdale, Arizona), Desert Art Source (Palm Desert, California) and Horizon Fine Art (Jackson, Wyoming).

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