For those of you who know me, one of my passions has been watercolor painting. But there is a problem: in it’s 600-year history, watercolor has been bedeviled with several intractable problems. Since watercolor is done on porous paper, water makes the paper bulge and warp. Before you start painting, you have to thoroughly wet the paper and “stretch” it onto a wooden backing board, pin, tape or clip it to the board, and let it dry. You’re usually ready to start painting the next day.
But it’s not just the water that gets into the paper; the paint also follows the water into the paper fibers, leaving a permanent stain. So if you make a mistake - no matter how small - there is literally no way for you to completely erase it. If you do try and erase it, you just ruin the surface. The best you can do is to incorporate the mistake into your painting and call it a “happy mistake”.
So I went into my garage and figured out a way to make both of these problems go away. But I didn’t do anything further with it for about ten years, and life just went on, as it has a habit of doing. But I finally decided that it was about time that I did something with my invention. But there was a problem: The solution involved using flammable liquids, which wasn’t something that I wanted to get involved with.
So I went to work. I spent the next six months tinkering in my garage, looking for a workable solution using products found at my local hardware store. But nothing worked. I had dozens of failed attempts strewn all over my garage, and I just decided to give it up.
I started tossing my test samples into the trash when I realized that there was one sample that had not been tested. I had all my notes for materials used, number of coats and the drying times for all of my samples. It wouldn’t be hard to check that one last sample and then just call it a day. And the darn thing worked! Even when dried, the ordinary watercolor paint from the tube erased completely... and without a stain!
It’s now been about a year and we have a patent pending on a board that’s 1/8” thick with what looks like textured watercolor paper on one side – a board that is lightweight, stands up by itself on any easel or stand, is instantly ready to paint on, and (with a little practice) can be used to make any painting using watercolors.
But the best thing is that, because it is completely erasable again and again back to pure white without disturbing the surface, you never have to worry about not finishing your painting or making mistakes that you can't recover from. You can use tube-type or pan-type watercolors and they are erasable even after they have completely dried. Using a microfiber rag (one of those orange or blue ones), you can erase all, or any part of your painting.
In my own paintings, I have changed the course of rivers, erased and replaced trees that didn’t look right and changed the size of a painting of a barn in a field. When you are happy with your painting, a quick spray with a fixative and it becomes permanent.
I have a partner who helps run the business. We have a unique new product, called the Encore WaterMedia Art Board. Encore comes in the three most common sizes (9x12”, 11x15” and 12x18”), and is available for purchase by pressing the Shop button or at our Etsy Store.
Give Encore a try! I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you can do.