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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ampersand Celebrates 20th Anniversary with International Art Exhibit

Ampersand Art Supply GalleryAmpersand Art Supply will host an art exhibition featuring over 50 well-recognized national and local Texas artists to celebrate 20 years since it launched its business in 1994. Steve Hanks, Luana Luconi Winner, Louise LeBourgeois, Ali Cavanaugh, Roi James, Sally Maxwell and Amado Peña are just a few of the artists whose work will be part of this historic exhibit.
Seggebruch encaustic
Life on Fire, Encaustic by Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch

A public art opening will take place Thursday, October 2 from 6:00–9:00pm in Ampersand’s new manufacturing facility and art gallery located in Buda, TX.  According to company President and CEO, Elaine Salazar, “We felt that the best way to celebrate our 20 year journey, was to show a collection of work from some of the many amazing artists throughout the country who have been faithfully working on the surfaces we produce.” 

The exhibition will continue throughout the month of October and will be open to the public Mon-Fri between the hours of 9:00–5:00pm.

In 1994, Ampersand Art Supply began its mission of reviving the time-honored tradition of panel painting with the creation of Claybord™, their very first coated painting panel. Colorado artist and inventor of Claybord, Charles Ewing, partnered with Ampersand to develop it further and see its commercial success. Today, Ampersand’s product line has expanded to ten different surfaces in a variety of profiles and sizes. Ampersand sells its panels in all major art supply stores throughout the US. More recently, Ampersand launched its products in Germany and Great Britain. Marketing Director, Andrea Pramuk, who has been with the company since 1995, says Ampersand will continue to launch their line in key countries throughout Europe, Australia, and Japan in 2015. 
Spotted, Scratchbord
by Sally Maxwell

According to President and CEO, Elaine Salazar, “we are so grateful for those early pioneering artists who tried our panels and freely offered to help us refine each surface that makes the Ampersand family of “bords”. This family of artists still help us today.” She went on to say that a few key dealers played a critical role in the early years as they launched the line. Salazar remembers sending a piece of Claybord in a priority mail envelope to Allen Shefts, who then worked at Pearl Paint on Canal Street in New York. “A buyer called within days expressing an interest. It was that first order from Pearl for 1000 pieces of Claybord that officially launched Ampersand into the market in 1994.” According to Salazar, Meininger’s and Guiry’s, both Colorado dealers, were also a few of the earlier retailers who agreed to carry some of the product. “These were the days when Charles Ewing and his wife Barbara had tried to market Claybord under the brand, “Clayboard–real neat stuff” “, she adds.

In 1994, with the help of several local angel investors, family, and friends, the company set up its manufacturing facility at 1500 East 4 St in East Austin where it operated until 2013 before moving its entire operation to its current location in Buda. According to Edwin Ramos, Chief Operating Officer, Ampersand had completely outgrown the old 13,000 sq. ft. space in East Austin. The company had been operating out of two locations in Austin for over 5 years before moving to their current location in Buda. The company purchased and renovated the old shrimp farm metal building, “Big Blue”, for its new home, located about 20 minutes south of Austin. The new facility houses approximately 60,000 sq ft of manufacturing, warehousing, and office/gallery space. Backing from the local Buda Economic Development Council, Hays County, First State Bank of Central Texas and the SBA made the move possible for this small business. Salazar also shares, “As a small business, it has taken the hearts and hands of so many people to make it all happen. We are so grateful to both the Austin and the Buda communities and to the artists worldwide who use our products.”
Andrea Pramuk,
Marketing Director
Ampersand Art Supply 

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

Friday, September 12, 2014

Innovative Pastel Methods on Pastelbord

Pastelbord sampler
Pastelbord Sampler
Pastelbord is a rigid panel with a delightful toothy surface that has allowed me a newfound freedom when working with pastels. The sanded surface and absorbency of the panel allow me to work wet or dry and to layer pigments endlessly, creating rich and vibrant pastel paintings. The panel is available in sand, grey, green and white. On the white-colored Pastelbord, my opportunities for varying color are endless! Following are a few techniques you’ll want to try on this great surface!

Barb Pinc landscape misting
Sketching and Misting
With a pastel pencil, lightly sketch in the initial drawing. Next, mist the board with water just enough to moisten the surface evenly to begin painting the background. I use a cosmetic plastic spray bottle so that the misting is done evenly. Pastel on the wet panel will create really exciting textures for the background. After misting, I begin by laying in my background colors of green. Remember to wipe the pastel first on a towel to make sure clean even color is being applied.

Working Wet and Dry
Barb Pinc landscape
Shaving pastel
When laying in my background colors I also use a shaving technique to add depth and texture to the background. For example, for a glistening effect, I shaved the edge of a metallic color with a razor over the initial background colors. I allowed the pastel dust to settle onto the surface and then I began my wet techniques. Because pastelbord is a rigid, yet porous surface, you can use water without the fear of buckling or ruining your "paper". After applying the pastels, use a 3/4" angle brush with water to blend them as if painting with watercolors. A very soft and airy background can be created using this technique. You can also use a wet brush to lift off color in areas that have gotten too dark. Just remember to have an old towel to wipe your brush as you lift the color off the Pastelbord.

Blending and Softening
Barb Pinc landscape
While working, keep shaving more colors over the initial background and then misting them with water to soften. Use the mist water bottle along with your watercolor brush to blend colors. This technique helps you create depth of field and provides your basic shapes, forms, and color for your piece. At this stage I also use a flat chisel Colour Shaper to pat down lumps of pastels for varying thickness of pigments. Wipe the shaper or the brush you are using frequently to prevent the painting from getting muddy.

Details and Heavier Pigments
Continue using this shaving and layering technique for the leaves, the dark areas of the road, and weeds. Also, to lift color, use a wet brush to lift and then wipe on a towel and repeat until the color has been partially or completely lifted. This is a wonderful technique for bringing back light into your painting when doing landscapes, wooded areas, shrubs, etc. The light will appear natural, almost as if it peeking through the leaves of the trees. For the final touches, use pastel pencils for fine details and where harder edges are needed for volume.
Barb Pinc landscape

Finishing the Piece
Sealing pastels with a fixative tends to deaden pastel colors, so I don’t recommend it. Frame the finished artwork behind glass with a spacer.

Barb Pinc is an award winning watercolor and pastel artist with a background in art education. 

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.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Featured Gallery Artist: Leslie Pierce

Leslie Pierce
It's not you, It's me,  Oil and Encaustic on Gessobord, 16" x 20" 2011
Artist Leslie Pierce will have an upcoming show "Code Defied" at Space 4 Art in San Diego, CA opening on September 13 from 6-9 pm and running through September 20, 2014.  

You can find out more about Leslie's projects and workshops on her website:

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, September 5, 2014

Featured Artist: Madeline von Foerster

The Promise, von Foerster
The Promise, 16" x 20", 2012
"I find Gessobord to be an ideal painting surface:  smooth, even, and with the perfect amount of tooth.  I don’t know about any other panel out there that is both archival and sustainably sourced, two factors which are very important to me!" ~Madeline von Foerster

Madeline von Foerster, American born artist living in Germany, carefully plans and executes with beautifully rendered detail "living still lifes."  Madeline has perfected the 15th century Flemish Master technique, mische, working in layers of egg tempera and oils to achieve a glowing work which is realistic but also breathtakingly luminous.   Madeline explains her love of both the media and subject matter in her artist statement, sharing that meaning and beauty are the two cornerstones of her work.
Pangolin, von Foerster
Untitled (Pangolin), 36" x 36", 2012

Madeline has always felt the pull as an artist, drawing being a favorite thing for as long as she can remember.  With steady encouragement from her family, Madeline pursued art school studying at the California College of Arts and Crafts and with Philip Rubinov-Jacobson.  Her education and patience exude through her exquisite detail and process.  Before Madeline worked in the "mixed technique" or mische, she pursued oils "ala prima" for many years.  She shares further, "
I was a huge fan of the Flemish Renaissance Masters, but when I tried to emulate their effects (glowing colors and crystalline details), I had the feeling I was missing out on some crucial information.  It was next to impossible to achieve what they did using my methods and materials, and the attempt was an unrewarding ordeal."  Upon learning of Professor Philip Rubinov-Jacobson's seminar in Austria, she signed up immediately.  The style resonated with her, and Madeline has worked over 50 paintings in the mische technique since.

Madeline von Foerster
Bufo Periglenes, 8" x 8", 2011

With Madeline's appreciation for creating a quality painting in style and technique, she has found the perfect match in Gessobord, a well made, quality panel that will stand the test of time.  "Good materials are part of an artist’s necessary support system – they are part of what allows an artist to do his or her best work.  Good brushes, panels, and paints are more pleasurable to use and provide superior results – but also, most importantly, they don’t get in the way," she explains.  

On her website, Madeline gives a detailed explanation and work in progress photographs of how her paintings are completed.  You can see her rendering, underpainting, layers of egg tempera and oil paint.  Madeline also lists her upcoming shows, press and other events. 

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.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Gallery Artist: Jennifer Herrera

Hummingbirds in Garden, 2012, 16" x 20"

Full time mom, veteran and busy artist, Jennifer Herrera works in a range of both materials and subject matter.  Her work in Scratchbord here has won 1st place in the Albuquerque, NM VA art show and 3rd place in the New Mexico Veterans art show.  She will have two pieces at the upcoming New Mexico State Fair fine art show expo running later this month.
More details here on her website:

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.