Watercolor ground – final panel

Finally. I think I am done with this final panel of the trio I had 😀 So also final review on the Belle Arti Panel with Daniel Smith watercolor ground.

This time, after a bit of break and understanding the differences, it was not as bad as with the first trial. Can’t say the experience was bad at all 😀 I embraced the possibility to wipe clean and redo and was not layering colors as much, so no problems. I also used scratching on the surface when I wanted to lighten smaller areas.

Not sure how nicely any watercolor effects can be achieved with grounded surface, so that to be explored in any future trials, as well as maybe mixed media (watercolor, inks, acrylics).


  • good for heavy lifting (intentional)
    • easy to get back to white, clean with damp brush, magic eraser (sponge)
    • or can use light scratching, or reapply ground
  • ok for watercolor, as long as considered the surface is its own medium with different technique
    • I need to try mixed media more (inks, gouache, acrylics)
    • watercolor / colored pencils work ok, just do not use too much pressure so surface is not scratched
  • surface is smooth clay like, also different textures and ground colors available (and from multiple manufacturers)
    • at least I find the surface very nice, fresh change from paper, but need to consider what you want to paint and how to achieve the wanted end result

  • not that good for layering/glazing due to lifting
    • could tackle this with permanent colors (inks, acryla gouache, acrylics). Though not sure if watercolor ground is that relevant if doing full acrylics (vs. just gesso on panel), unless using more ‘watercolory’ techniques?
    • not a problem if you do not glaze much anyway
  • not paper, but should not use it like paper
    • own medium with different techniques
    • can be seen as negative, if you try to use like paper, adjust technique, but can be also positive if you like the ground texture
  • harder to create watercolor effects/textures
    • as I’ve read, I did not experiment this in my paintings. Need to trial. But in general yes, since the overall feel is different, and need to adjust techniques

An option instead of using ground on panel, would be to paint on paper and attach the paper on canvas, panel or board. I would do this instead, in case I really wanted to use paper to use the techniques I am more familiar with and to achieve watercolor effects on paper and not frame the piece behind glass.

I have a few uncradled wooden panels on the way, and different brand ground and other funky stuff, so lets see what I try next 🙂 (whenever the goods arrive, so slow now, which is fine)

Final painting, a little happiness and sunshine:

Happiness, a watercolor painting on panel
Happiness (2020) – painting on wooden panel primed with Daniel Smith watercolor ground (mixed media, watercolor and soft pastels). Wax finish. 40 x 40 cm

edit. Before varnishing the painting with fixative and wax I also used soft pastels to tune some places (Varnishing trial).


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