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Friday, April 29, 2016

Gessobord Basics

Jennifer Philips
Starting Point
mixed media on Gessobord by Jennifer Philips

Museum Series Gessobord™ is the most trusted pre-gessoed wood panel by artists for their work. The coating is 88% thicker than other gessoed panels on the market.
The superior quality acrylic gesso ground does not dull colors, and the wonderful lightly sanded surface provides exceptional brush control. 

Made with true high density hardboard, from US-grown and renewable Aspen wood fibers, and coated with Archiva-Seal™ technology-- the surface is acid-free, non-yellowing, and archival. Every panel is protected by our proprietary Archival-Seal™ barrier technology, the most advanced formula for sealing wood that prevents support induced discoloration. Gessobord is archival, eco-friendly and formaldehyde-free, it doesn't get better than that! 

These panels are perfect for all painting styles with oil paints, acrylics and mixed media. We build our cradles by hand with premium grade 13-ply birch plywood for maximum stability and a clean, finished look from edge to edge. The cradle can easily be painted or stained to complement the artwork or primed with gesso to wrap the image around the edges. 





All things Ampersand, 

Karyn Meyer-Berthel 
Artist & Social Media Specialist 
Ampersand Art Supply 

Click here to explore the full selection of Ampersand panels and tools.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Featured Artist: David Somers

Seattle artist, David Somers recently started using Claybord™ for his laser engraving work and has shared his process and some of his work with us.  Below are two of his recent pieces in the process.  A big thanks to David for sharing so much of his learning and process with us.  This is such an interesting and original way to take on Claybord.  


Mt. Vernon Tulips, Laser Engraved Claybord, 5" x 5" 
before color application
"Laser engraving and laser cutting is typically done with lasers that create their beam by exciting CO2 gas using a number of techniques.  The materials they work on are mostly organic materials like wood, acrylic, plastics, leather, paper, glass, and rubber. A laser works by creating a coherent beam of laser light, one in which the rays of light are all parallel to each other.  Think of of it as a cylinder of light as opposed to the spreading cone of light you get from a flashlight.   That beam gets directed around the machine with mirrors until the beam is aimed down a tube and through a lens that is much like a magnifying glass.  That lens focuses the laser beam to a tiny point which is where it has the power to affect your material by either cutting all the way through it or just engraving a certain distance into the material.

In the case of Claybord I tried engraving the surface.  I found that by varying the power and speed of the engraving I could just kiss the surface of the Claybord, removing some of the clay layer without breaking through into the tempered masonite below it, or I could break through the clay layer and expose the dark board.  By applying more power and slower speeds I could dig deeper into the board if I wanted to create more of a bas relief effect.
Mount Ranier & Lodge, Laser engraved Claybord 
with Prismacolor pens & alcohol

My process so far is to take a photograph, usually a color image, and to convert it to gray scale.  Then I run that image through any number of digital photographic filters to reduce the image to a line drawing.   The laser engraving doesn't show until the surface of the Claybord is breached to reveal the board underneath.   The result is a two tone image made up of the white clay and the darker under-layer MDF.  Lightly scoring the surface of the clay does create a faint subtle shadow depending on your lighting but that is not enough to simulate a gray scale image.  The process does create a certain amount of soot as the clay is lased away.   Once the engraving is done I have used plain water, dish soap and sometimes a mild scrubber to wash the soot off.   

Once I confirmed this process worked well I played with applying some media to the Claybord.  So far I have only tried Prismacolor pens and watercolor.  I am not an artist so these are fairly feeble attempts that someone with even modest skill in any painting media could surely improve on.  The engraving process didn't seem to affect the remaining clay layer in terms of its ability to accept a paint."


All things Ampersand, 
Karyn Meyer-Berthel 
Artist & Social Media Specialist 
Ampersand Art Supply 

Click here to explore the full selection of Ampersand panels and tools.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Encaustic Resources: Oil and Wax

Beautiful effects can be achieved when combing oil paints with encaustic.  Oil can give to encaustic greater fluidity, color diffusion, and in some techniques, precision. Encaustic gives to the oil immediate “drying” time, the muted or gloss surface effects of wax, and greater textural variety. But is this combination structurally sound? It can be, but it is important to understand the ways in which a wax paint and an oil paint are and aren’t compatible.

Chemically, oil and wax are “cousins.” If oil is stirred into melted wax, the two will readily combine. In this mixture the balance of oil with wax should be seen as a continuum. At one end of the continuum wax is added to oil to give the paint more body, but the properties and requirements of oil predominate. The paint film will still be flexible, but it will have to go through a drying phase before it sets up and becomes permanent -- in fact, the wax itself will somewhat retard the drying of the oil since it has no drying properties of its own. 


R+F Handmade Pigment Sticks

At the other end of the continuum oil is added to wax, and the properties and requirements of wax predominate. The oil, however, lowers the wax’s melting temperature and makes it less hard. Artists who make their own encaustic often do so by adding tube oils to melted wax. This dilutes the strength of the pigment, resulting in a more subdued waxy finish. As long as too much oil is not added the paint film will still be hard, and it will set up and become permanent on cooling.There is a danger, archivally, in making a mixture of oil and wax that is too close to the center of this continuum, in other words, where the amount of oil and the amount of wax are equal. At that point the binding and the adhesive properties of both wax and oil are so compromised that the film they form is very unstable, since it is not able to either dry or harden.

Our Pigment Sticks are a very good example of a wax in oil paint. Because they are in stick form, they may seem to have a lot of wax. Actually they have very little wax -- less than 15% of the stick is wax. When molten wax cools, it retains the continuity it had in its liquid state and forms a uniform structure, binding the oil within it. But this wax structure is very weak, and the instant the stick is crushed by drawing it over a surface, the wax structure breaks down and becomes absorbed into the oil. Further manipulation with fingers, knife, or brush turns the consistency into that of a buttery oil paint.

This information was pulled from the resources on the R+F Handmade Paints website.  

For more great resources about encaustic:
More Resources on Encaustics from R+F Handmade Paints 
Encaustic Workshops at R+F Handmade Paints 

All things Ampersand, 
Karyn Meyer-Berthel 
Artist & Social Media Specialist 
Ampersand Art Supply 

Click here to explore the full selection of Ampersand panels and tools.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Current Events with Ampersand Artists


Macon, GA artist Micah Goguen will be participating in the LeMoyne Chain of Parks Art Festival in Tallahassee, FL on April 16-17. He'll be demonstrating acrylic ink on Aquabord, using it as watercolor, as well as showing other work.  The event attracts over 150 artists from around the country to display and sell their works.  

Jivan Lee opened at the LewAllen Galleries in Santa Fe, NM last week.  The show has around 35 paintings, from as small as 9" x 12" to as large as 48" x 120".  Jivan works in oil on Gessobord with landscapes as his primary subject matter.  





And don't forget the Sandra Duran Wilson workshop right here at Ampersand this weekend!


There is always a lot going on with Ampersand artists including exhibitions, workshops, festivals and new art techniques.  If you have a workshop coming up or an event you'd like us to share, please reach out to us at gallery@ampersandart.com.
All things Ampersand, 
Karyn Meyer-Berthel 
Artist & Social Media Specialist 
Ampersand Art Supply 

Click here to explore the full selection of Ampersand panels and tools.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Featured Artist: Dustin Dattilio


Rosie, 12" x 16", Gessobord

Newly graduated BFA artist, Dustin Dattilio came on our radar a few months back when he was sharing his ultra-realism paintings of fowl and other wildlife through Facebook.  Since Dustin captures the look of a high chroma photograph in his technique, I was intrigued about his method and came to find that he uses a combination of media to achieve his look. Dustin has spent endless hours perfecting his technique and turning what started as a 
college hobby into a full time career.

Dustin began college at Castleton University in Vermont with the aim to become an Athletic Trainer, but enjoyed his downtime pursuit of drawing.  In his senior year, Dustin moved fully into Graphic Design and earned a BFA.  

His natural inclination to study and work on wildlife comes from a full background of hunting and fishing, along with encouragement from his grandfather, who does animal wood carvings.  Dustin often chooses his subjects based on requests or seasonal work, as well as interesting commissions, like the recent piece, Morning Thunder, for the National Wild Turkey Federation banquet this past February.  


Morning Thunder, 16" x 20", Gessobord

Starting with airbrush to get a soft, almost blurry, background, Dustin carefully renders his subject matter in the foreground, using acrylics.  Upon discovering Gessobord™ for his work, Dustin shares that the panels give him the consistently smooth support and brilliant color he prefers.  "I use Gessobord for a couple of reasons. The first being that I've found that they seem to hold colors better than canvas. Another reason is that canvas is great, but it's also very expensive. There are so many brands out there of canvas that hold the paint different than the next, so I just stick with an affordable, dependable surface.  When it comes to mailing out and handling my paintings, I don't have to worry as much about the canvas getting a bubble or something poking through it."

Dustin can be found online quite a bit, sharing his work, his process and upcoming works for sale.  You can find him on his website or his Facebook page. Dustin also does quite a bit of wood burning work and sells prints of his work as well as the originals.  

All things Ampersand, 
Karyn Meyer-Berthel 
Artist & Social Media Specialist 
Ampersand Art Supply 

Click here to explore the full selection of Ampersand panels and tools.