Pencil sketch on the Aquabord™

Pencil sketch on the Aquabord™

It occurred to me that I have never shown an Aquabord™ painting in progress from start to finish. So I thought it might be interesting to do that with this new commission of a fellow boarder’s mare called Sunrize.  Here’s the original photo:

sunrize-sourceAs you can see from the sketch, the background will be modified, which I often do just because I’m an artist and I can! As the painting progresses, I think the thing you will notice most is how the watercolor layers are put down almost backward from the way I do oils. The oils start with thin layers, then get more vibrant as we go along. With the watercolors, that pretty much happens with the landscape backgrounds too. But the horse will usually start out quite vivid and then the colors will calm down a bit as I lift them off instead of applying more on top of the existing paint. For a quick look at an oil painting in progress, see my painting of Billy and his harem from early last year.

About Alli Farkas

Equine and landscape artist specializing in rural Americana
This entry was posted in Aquabord, art, horse portrait, horses, latest version, new horse portrait, painting techniques and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Sunrize

  1. catarzina says:

    I really enjoy the fact that you push and pull the image in your drawing from your resource. It adds so much to the work when you edit imagery…imho.


    • Alli Farkas says:

      I always draw freehand from the source image–no tracing, no projecting. I try to be as accurate as possible, but the fact that it is completely drawn freehand somehow makes it “mine” and also helps me to really know the subject and how I want to handle it when I get to the painting part. It also keeps the drawing from being too perfect…LOL!


  2. when growing up, i had a quarter horse named sunup! she could fly like the wind, and she kept me out of trouble on summer weekends. while most of my friends were getting into trouble, i was on the barrel racing circuit. what wonderful summers those were!
    the title of your painting reminded me of those carefree summers and my one-woman-horse, sunup!

    i have lived in latin america for a dozen years, and getting supplies is quite difficult. i have never heard of aquaboard.. it must be similar to illustration board, but with better paper?


    • Alli Farkas says:

      Hi Lisa! Aquabord is a hard surface substrate similar to masonite with a textured gesso coating that absorbs watercolor in similar ways to paper. You can read about it on the manufacturer’s website, They have several products for various media on the hardboard surface, including oils, acrylics, pastels and even encaustic. I like it because compared to most flexible surfaces it’s practically indestructible. No framing needed, either. Sizes are limited, though, so your large-format paintings would be problematical even if the material were available where you are. If you wanted to play with the Aquabord someone could probably send you a 3-pack of a small size (I use 5″ X 7″) and the best part is, if you don’t like what you did you can wash it off and start over!


      • thanks so much for that great explanation! \

        in costa rica, i switched to construction panels of a concrete type of board.. i’d cut it to what size i wanted and roll about three coats of good paint on there, and the texture is very similar to watercolor paper. because of the climate, i use acrylics, though watercolor is my joy.

        in ecuador, i could not find that concrete board, so i switched to smooth mdf plywood. it comes in different thicknesses, and is 4 x 9 sheets. at a big hardware store (four hours away!) they will cut those panels for me, always perfect and precise, and i take them home, prep them and paint on them. i’ve done a few watercolor understudies on them, and loved the way the watercolor worked. i thought, hmmmmm.’

        costa rica’s rainy season is so humid that the watercolor paper won’t dry! it also molds, and it’s sad to see a good painting later develop block dots of mold.

        using acrylic, one can wash the paintings with a damp towel to keep them fresh in the rainy season!

        the perils of living in paradise!!!

        thanks again for your reply!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.