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Friday, December 28, 2012

Artist Trading Cards with Jean Parker

Jean Parker recently shared with us her technique for Egyptian Encaustic, working on the Encausticbord Artist Trading Cards.  Below is her text, technique and photographs.

Egypt used encaustic methods 4,000 years ago to preserve their art work, like old fashion varnish, this method has been found in the pyramids.  This is not a full class in encaustic - there are wonderful books and videos, please read and learn more.

This is my quickie form of encaustic to try out new techniques and do little thumbnails before I do a larger project with all my encaustic tools.
First purchase some Ampersand Encaustic ATC (they are covered with special R & F encaustic gesso).  Then using R & F Encaustic medium in a crock pot (must be the style with high, low and warm) and a flat candy thermometer that I keep in to watch so to maintain a temp of 200 degrees.  Please make sure you are working in a well ventilated area because of fumes and NEVER leave the wax (I am married to a firefighter and safety is always first).  It will take the wax about 30 minutes to melt, this is my quickie method, I keep it full - when I work on larger project use a wax palette and colors, and other tools.

Using a hake brush 2” that will forever be a wax encaustic brush after using in the wax – I wipe the brush on the side of the crock pot and lay one layer over the card (placed on silicone mat for heat and protection).  Then fuse with an embossing gun (again part of my quickie kit – when doing large projects I use a man size paint remover heat gun).

Do second coat going in other direction and fuse (this is done after every waxing – move in little circles and when you see the wax shine move to next area.  If you stay wax will melt off – I look at it sideways to see when it starts to shine and every added wax coat it will melt faster).

Pick your images from Dover Copyright free books, and make a copy, cut out (sometimes I do a transfer method, but too lazy to rub the paper off so many).  See left photo.  When laying down image wait till just warm and place down, then I use a small piece of wax paper (kitchen type) and back of spoon to burnish down, not to hard so you don’t make dips in wax, pull paper off gently.

This is when I take a single edge blade or a pottery tool and scrape off the excess wax.
Next, I took a dental tool, but anything strong and sharp will work to dig out Egyptian symbols.  I just copied some symbols from designs in book.  Then I used a Winsor Newton oil pastel and filled in the lines, used veggie oil on paper towel to wipe off excess.  Dried - cut small strips of Speedball Simple Leaf – gold and copper.  This stuff is so easy to work with being on paper backing and I tease that I must be related to Minnie Pearl because I love gold and glitter.  I used a neat little tool from R & F in the cold tools to burnish down.

Then use Jacquard Pearl Ex Powders with a brush and aged the edges.  Love the Aztec gold and Antique Copper for the rich old look.  These are very versatile because you can mix with varnish, paints, gum Arabic and do a ton of different things.  Photo on the right shows how I let them cure for at least 24 hours and then buff with Viva paper towel to a shine.  Store wrapped in kitchen wax paper.

You can find Jean Parker on Facebook and Pinterest.

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, December 21, 2012

Happy Holidays

What's under your tree this year? ;)

From all of us at Ampersand Art Supply, have a wonderful Holiday Season.

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

Friday, December 14, 2012

Ampersand Faces: Karyn Meyer-Berthel

I first came upon Ampersand panels at a NAMTA conference several years ago.  I was impressed by the high quality craftsmanship, the professional look and the range in sizes and finishes.  This was just when Pastelbord™ had first come out, and Elaine Salazar gave me a sample to test.  I hoarded it for the longest time, knowing it was too beautiful to use.  But after attempting to create my own panels for a number of years, I found that Ampersand could do a better job at an affordable price for my needs.  I'm never shy about selling a work on these panels, because I know they will last.

I work in acrylics, the love affair I've had with them goes way back to junior high when I took a painting class during the summer.  I find the medium easy to use and clean up and incredibly versatile.  I know that there is so much more to explore in acrylics and I haven't even scratched the surface.  Since I work primarily with layers and layers of acrylic paint, and more layers of high gloss mediums and varnishes, I needed a support that would hold up to the weight of the paint.  Some of my earlier large works were on canvas, but they began to sag and warp.  It was an easy transition to panel for the security of having proper support and an archival surface.  However, I've always liked the feel of working on canvas, even if the texture is covered up with layers of medium.  So, I started working with Hardbord first, to test out how to apply fabric to the panel and work from there.
Porcelain Blue
Sometimes, I will apply a completed painting to Hardbord™ and at other times, I will apply a fresh piece of canvas directly to the Hardbord to work.  With either process, I coat the Hardbord in a few layers of Soft Gel Gloss or Varathane Polyurethane.  I coat the entire panel, equally on all sides and edges, giving it plenty of time to dry.  Then, I use Soft Gel Gloss to adhere the fabric to the panel, or the painting to the panel.  If I am adhering just the fabric, I'll coat the top with a mix of water and gel to pull the fabric to the surface, pushing it on with a soft cloth or hardware store brush.  Turning the panel face down, I place weight (usually books) on the back to press the fabric evenly on the surface.  Once the piece is thoroughly dry, I trim the edges with a sharp razor blade to show the unfinished cradle and then I finish as desired.  Often I will apply a heavy coat of MSA varnish to the pieces once they are trimmed.  

Once I started using Ampersand panels, I didn't look back.  I haven't yet tried all of the surfaces, especially the newer surfaces that came out this year.  However, I am thrilled with what each surface brings to my studio and art practice.  I am continually working to develop my style and push myself, and these panels offer more and more ideas with each type of medium.  I regularly use the Hardbord and Gessobord right now, but I've recently stepped into the Aquabord and Encausticbord, testing out more watercolor and mixed media.  And who knows what the new year will bring?

Thanks for reading my story.  If you want to see more of my work, check out my 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.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Featured Artist: Jim Hair

We are often asked how to mount work to our panels.  There are so many variations of this depending on both the medium being mounted and the panel used.  So, I thought that I would share with you Jim Hair's version of mounting his photographs to Ampersand Panels.

Thank you, Jim, for sharing your process with us.  

To see more of Jim's work, you can find him at:

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, December 7, 2012

How to Connect Cradled Panels

For artists working with multiple Ampersand DEEP cradle panels, bolting together their own panels is an inventive way to present their work. If you can drill a hole and have a little patience, bolting panels together and mounting hanging hardware is really no big deal.

Figure 1a
Bolting small panels together
(ex. 12˝x12˝ and smaller)

Bolting Materials List
Ampersand DEEP cradle panels
Crescent & socket wrenches
Electric or cordless drill
7/16˝ drill bit
3/8˝ x 2˝ hex bolts
3/8˝ nuts & washers

Pencil & ruler/tape measure

Step 1: Decide how the painting should be assembled.
Next, lay the pieces face down on a soft cloth or towel so as not to damage the painting surface. Caution! When turning the painting sections over, make sure you have arranged them correctly from top to bottom and left to right. Double-check again before drilling holes.

Figure 1b
Step 2: Measuring the placement of the holes. Line up the panels flush and hold them in place with clamps if necessary. Measure the center of the cradle frame and pencil-mark the two panels that are to be connected (fig. 1a). Unclamp the panels and measure the center of the side of the cradle from top to bottom using your center mark from the backs of the panel as your guide (fig. 1b). Placing the holes in the center of the side of the cradle will prevent the panels from pulling forward or pulling backward and will keep the panels perfectly flat.

Step 3: Drill the holes (fig. 2)
You may want to adjust the size of your holes and the size of your bolts depending on the size of your panels. For this demonstration on both the large and small panels, we used a 7/16” drill bit. Important: Drill the hole from the outside of the cradle to the inside. Repeat this process for all the cradles. The hole will be larger than the bolt so that you have some “wiggle room” for shoring up the panels. Sand the holes if necessary and vacuum or brush away any debris.

Figure 3
Step 4: Bolt the panels together (fig. 3-4)
We used a 3/8˝ x 2˝ bolt, one 3/8˝ washer and one 3/8˝ nut. Insert the bolt through the holes of both the panels to be connected. Put the washer over the end of the bolt and then attach the nut. Make sure the panels are flush together and adjust if necessary. Tighten the nut with a socket or crescent wrench while holding the bolt steady with a second crescent wrench. Repeat this process until all the panels are connected. Test the tightness of each connection to be sure they are completely secure. 

Figure 4
Bolting larger panels together (ex. 24˝x 24˝ and larger, fig. 5)
Larger panels may require more bolts if you’re assembling them into a straight line so as to prevent twisting. A general rule to follow is one bolt every 12˝-16˝. For this demonstration, we used two 6˝x 24˝ panels mounted to one 18˝x24 panel, creating a 24˝x30˝ panel in three sections. Since the piece was tall and narrow, two bolts seemed a logical choice. When you are working with larger panels, keep the panels clamped together tightly while drilling the holes through both panels simultaneously as illustrated in Figure 5. Follow the same step 4 above (fig. 3-4) to bolt the panels together.  

Any technical questions you might have about this process, feel free to contact me. Thank you for using Ampersand panels for your art; we appreciate your support!

Andrea Pramuk
Marketing Director & Artist
Ampersand Art Supply 

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

Friday, November 30, 2012

Featured Artist: Patricia Seggebruch

Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch, encaustic artist, experimenter extraordinaire, inventor, camp director, author, instructor, and a mom of four boys is possibly one of the busiest artists I know. She is truly a presence in the encaustic community and a leading instructor on this medium, with several books and DVDs out to instruct people on how accessible this medium can be. She makes encaustic possible and reachable to those that are hesitant to start the medium or to work in the arts at all.

Trish has always been creative–sewing when she was younger, creating her own designs and trying everything new in different mediums and techniques. When her boys were younger, she was working in mixed media for an artistic outlet, and wanted to get more texture in her pieces. While starting with paraffin on her own and doing some research, she came across encaustic and took a workshop. There was no going back.  

Since Trish was already familiar with Ampersand panels for her other mixed media work, primarily Claybord, it was a given that she would want the perfect surface for heated wax. In communicating with Elaine Salazar, Ampersand's President/CEO, Trish began to discuss what was needed in a panel for encaustic. Soon after, Elaine started collaborating with Richard Frumess at R&F Handmade Paints to create the perfect panel.  to create just the right panel for encaustic. Watch the story of Encausticbord™ as told by Elaine and Richard on our YouTube Channel.

There are so many advantages for an artist to work with Encausticbord. Besides the heat resistent surface, the board is ideal for mixed media, and even accepts watercolors and acrylics, a unique attribute of this surface.  And with the encaustic medium itself, there is no varnishing. Only a light buffing is needed from time to time to remove dust. Also, like all Ampersand panels in the cradled profile, no extra framing is necessary.

Trish has created a unique workshop retreat just for encaustic, a week long experience starting from the basics up to all sorts of mixed media and advanced techniques. You can sign up for Encausticamp which is taking registrations until Dec 19th for 2013. It will take place outside of Seattle on a beautiful retreat, with instructors from all over the United States. Samples of Encausticbord will be included for you to try.

Trish advises new artists starting in encaustic to just go for it. The medium can be intimidating, as it is unique in using heated tools, but Trish is working to make it affordable and tangible for artists. She explains that her purpose as an instructor is to educate the next generation of people who can bring the medium back to students. To see more of Trish's work, signup for her workshops, see her products and check out Encausticamp, peek at her website:

For those of you living close to Seattle, WA, you can catch a new opening of Trish's work at the Hanson Scott Gallery, opening December 1, with a gallery talk on December 15.  

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.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Catalyst Tools on Ampersand Panels

Jenny Lerner
Princeton Brush has innovation and customer service at the top of the list.  They are continually reaching to improve tools that artists can use, hence the Catalyst tools came along.

"The Catalyst design team realized a need for both tools and brushes that worked especially well with heavy paint.  We wanted to give artists tools that answered this problem in a durable, yet elegant, way," explains Virgina Cofer, Catalyst Production Manager.

The Catalyst tools do just that.  They are a FDA approved silicone shaped and molded in 6 different tips, sequential sizes and wedges in each.  Since they are heat resistent up to 450 degrees, they work very well with encaustic and won't scratch hot palettes.  And, since they are silicone, they work quite well with acrylic, allowing the artist to leave the paint to dry on the tip before peeling off and tossing.  No need to wash.

Rebecca Crowell
Since many of the Ampersand panels work beautifully with innovative techniques, mixed media and heavy bodied paints, these tools are a perfect choice.  Encausticbord especially is structured for mixed media application and hot wax, so the blades and wedges can move easily on their surface.  And since panels hold the weight of gels and mediums unlike canvas or paper, Catalyst tools can be used to pile on the paint.  The pairing of Ampersand panels and Catalyst tools is a perfect match.

Rebecca Crowell

Even though the tools were designed to be used with any type of heavy medium in mind, they can be used with anything -- even cooking and cake decorating if you're so inclined.  To see some innovative techniques with the unusual tools, peek at the Catalyst YouTube channel.

Janice Mason Steeves
To see the Catalyst blades and wedges in person, you can purchase via Dick Blick, Utrecht, Cheap Joes and Sax Art Supplies as well as many local art supply stores.  You can also learn more about each shape from the Princeton Brush website.

Ampersand's Warmest,
Andrea Pramuk
Marketing Director
Ampersand Art Supply

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

Monday, November 19, 2012

Scratchbord™ Glows on Spike TV's Ink Master

In April, Spike TV's network producers for their popular show, "Ink Master", contacted Ampersand about featuring their product Scratchbord™ in a flash challenge episode airing this fall.

Seeing this as an irresistible opportunity and creative challenge, Ampersand agreed to custom-build 10 - 7ft x 7ft Scratchbord panels supported with 2in deep cradle frames specifically for the show.  And, there was another stipulation; the producers said the drawings had to glow under black light.  Not only are these the largest custom-built scratchboards that have ever been created in the history of Ampersand and possibly ever in the history of scratchboard art, but also, this unique collaboration between Ampersand and "Ink Master" produced a highly exclusive scratchboard product that has never before been seen or used.  Scratchboard aficionados/artists Sally Maxwell and Rodman Leisure helped provide expert technical advice in this endeavor.

For the flash challenge, competitors teamed up in pairs to create huge wall-size 7 ft x 7 ft scratchboard drawings.  The drawings were then critiqued and judged under black light, quickly exposing each and every tiny flaw.  The main criteria, gradation technique or the artist's skill at shading, was used to determine a winner for the challenge.

How well did the artists do?  Did the boards really glow under black light?  Who won the competition?  Well, you will have to see for yourself!

Watch:  Next episode of Spike TV's "Ink Master", entitled Holy Ink
Date:  Tuesday, November 20, 2012 10/9c

Watch as top tattoo artists work their magic on Scratchbord in this clip from next week's episode

Flash Challenge: Gradation
Spike Full EpisodesSpike Video ClipsSpike on Facebook

About Ink Master
16 of the country's most skilled tattoo artist compete for $100K and the title of "Ink Master" when Spike's top rated tattoo competition returns for its second season in this high-stakes elimination competition, hosted by rock legend Dave Navarro and judged by tattoo icons Christ Nunez and Oliver Peck contestants are pushed to their limit.
Andrea Pramuk
Marketing Director
Ampersand Art Supply

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

Friday, November 16, 2012

Collective Sense Opening Tour

Andrea Pramuk
Andrea Pramuk
Collective Sense presented by opened this past weekend during EAST.  I thought it best to show you how beautifully these three artists came together with their styles, all on Ampersand panels, I might add:  Ampersand's Andrea Pramuk working on Claybord, Artists Panel and some Encausticbord.  Kerry Schroeder working on Gessobord and Judith Simonds 2D work on Claybord.

Ampersand and Jerry's Artarama  co-sponsored this event to benefit several Austin area non-profits.  In turn, 40% of each purchase of art will go to the non-profit of the collector's choice.  For more information on the whole show, you can view the "Ampersand is Generous" post.
Andrea Pramuk

Collective Sense will continue through this weekend during the East Austin Studio Tour,  both at the Center61/PeopleFund building in Austin and online at:  Take note that you can make a purchase online as well as in person, so you don't need to show up in Austin to see the whole show and support your favorite non-profit.  Show ends Sunday 11/18.

To view all of the works online, have a look at the website:

Kerry Schroeder
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.

Kerry Schroeder

Kerry Schroeder
Judith Simonds work

Judith Simonds

Judith Simonds

Friday, November 2, 2012

Ampersand is Generous during EAST

Shadows in the Ash by Andrea Pramuk

Ampersand Art Supply is proud to co-sponsor a special exhibition entitled Collective Sense that opens during the upcoming East Austin Studio Tour. This initiative is part of a new outreach program designed to give back to the local Austin arts community. Organized by Generous Art, an online gallery that supports both artists and non-profits, the exhibition features three of their artist members:  Andrea PramukKerry Schroeder, and Judith Simonds. These artists present a cohesive look at how the power and fragility of life can be seen and expressed from three unique points of view, each drawing inspiration from the natural world.

All three artists are contributing members of and eagerly accepted the invitation to participate in this show. Founded by Austin artist Jennifer Chenoweth as a way to bring collectors, artists and non-profits together, Generous Art donates 40% of each sale to the collector’s non-profit of choice and another 40% goes to the artist.

All three artists created work on a variety of Ampersand panels including Claybord and Gessobord specifically for this fundraising event, a good number of which are presented in frames provided by Jerry's. Both the panels and frames used in the exhibition are available for sale at both the Jerry's store in Austin and online.

By purchasing a work of art from Collective Sense through Generous Art, 40% of the sale will benefit these fantastic non-profit organizations. Artwork can be purchased both in person and online, either option will benefit the participating non-profits listed below.

[Preview the art here]

Collective Sense is jointly being sponsored by Jerry’s Artarama, PeopleFund and Center61. Jerrys Artarama is an art supply store for painting supplies, picture framing and more at discount prices. Jerry’s can be found both locally in Austin and online. PeopleFund provides small business loans as well as business assistance and education to people with otherwise limited access to such resources such as artists and creatives. Center61 serves Austin-based nonprofits and social entrepreneurs through access to collaborative workspace and professional facilities.

Still No Rain by Kerry Schroeder
You are invited to see the exhibition, meet the artists, and enter to win great raffle prizes from Ampersand and Jerry's like free custom panels and art supplies.

Exhibition Details:

November 10-11
November 17-18
11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
both weekends

2921 E 17th St
Austin, TX 78702
Free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Andrea Pramuk
Marketing Director
Ampersand Art Supply

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

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Featured Artist: Denise Weston

Chloe, watercolor on Aquabord
Chloe, watercolor on Aquabord
The following story is from Denise Weston, a new Aquabord™ fan.  

"You took my order for some custom Aquabord panels a few weeks ago, and I wanted to get back to you with some great news!

I wanted to let you know that the very first painting I created on Ampersand Aquabord won an award!

I have been using watercolors for many years now and have always struggled with the difficulty of painting on paper – I lift color a lot, and even though I do it with minimal scrubbing, I could never get the paper back to pure white. Also, the paper in the places where I lifted paint would change texture, and even lose the texture, so that part of the painting looked “different” from the rest.

After trying Ampersand Aquabord, my experience with painting watercolor has gone to new heights altogether. Prior to last month, I have never won an award for watercolor before, even though I had entered several exhibits over the years.

I have attached an image of the painting, “Chloe”, which won the Honorable Mention Award at Southwest Washington Watercolor Society Fall Juried Exhibit last month. This exhibit was juried by Linda Aman, a nationally known watercolorist whose work frequently appears in national magazines.

Picnic Spot, paper mounted on panel
Picnic Spot, paper mounted on panel
I have been creating art for about 40 years, and have tried just about every medium there is, both 2d and 3d. I have studied a lot and earned an MFA in Printmaking from the University of Oregon.  During this time, I have investigated the best materials for me to express my artistic vision.  My biggest challenge has been to find a medium that suits me, and reflects my style as well as my working method with my subject of choice.

After an absence of about 3 years, I returned to a wonderful watercolor group that paints and critiques together. There I heard about cradling watercolors from our mentor. He was attaching paintings on paper to the cradled boards. I went home, investigated the cradling concept and discovered Ampersand Aquabord online. I bought a piece at my local art store and painted Chloe’s portrait on it. I have never had such ease of painting and feeling of freedom, not to mention breathtaking results.

So often in the past, my watercolors turned out muddy looking because I wasn’t able to remove color sufficiently, and then would paint over it, and get mud.

Well, not anymore!  I feel like I am well and truly on a path that I have been trying to find for years! I would have felt that way even without the Award, but that was certainly a nice validation of my work."

To see more of Denise's work, check out 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, October 26, 2012

Featured Artist: Ranjini Venkatachari

Epiphany at the UKCPS Show by Venkatachari
Epiphany at the UKCPS show
Washington based artist, Ranjini Venkatachari, another wonderful colored pencil artist, has shared her work with us and her process of working on Pastelbord™.  She explains why Pastelbord's surface has worked so easily for her style and experimentation.  "I like working on surfaces that have a little bit of texture compared to smooth ones like a hotpress paper. I do not make my work look completely smooth, I really like the texture of the board showing through to some extent in the end.

With Pastelbord, Ranjini uses the grit in the surface to blend her Neocolors and colored pencil, working with a stiff bristle brush.  She has also mastered a technique to correct mistakes by working through the layers of pigment down to the grit of the surface, which remains intact. "If there is a mistake in the Neocolor layer, the board can be cleaned off with just plain water. If I have something to erase after I have started the colored pencil on top of the neocolors, I use the battery operated eraser.  Even if you have to get through a painted neocolor layer, the battery-operated eraser easily gets right through and the grit still remains to add color on top." 
WIP Orange by Venkatachari
Line Drawing, Necolor II, then Colored Pencil on top
Pastelbord has even inspired Ranjini to test oil pastels and to combine her colored pencil with soft pastel.  She originally began working in graphite, as she has always had a tendency for drawing.  Pencils are portable, easy to clean up and little health risk.  So, it was natural for her to gravitate to colored pencil once she moved to the United States from India in 2003. 

When she first began using colored pencils, Ranjini was working on paper.  But quality materials, in both Pastelbord and Neocolor II, dramatically changed her work.  She was able to work more quickly, layer the colored pencil as she was accustomed and work in both wet and dry media together.  Plus, no framing needed!  Ranjini finishes her work with 4-8 coats of Lascaux fixative and then sprays with a Damar/UV varnish.  

Cherry Delight by Venkatachari
Cherry Delight, 9" x 12"
To catch a glimpse of Ranjini's colored pencil works in person, you can see her show at the Nuneaton Art Gallery for the UK Colored Pencil Society through November 25, 2012.  She is also showing with Women Painters of Washington's Traveling show starting in November at the Schack Art Center in Everett, WA.

To see more of Ranjini's work online, keep updated on her workshop schedule and shows, or to see works in progress, visit her blog and website.  

And just for fun, check out this video demo of Ranjini's work on Pastelbord:


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, October 12, 2012

Panel Painting Tips: Image Transfer on Claybord™

Image Transfer and Collage:  A Demonstration by Dana Brown using Claybord™

My artwork often involves combining several techniques and materials. Ampersand Claybord™ is great for this kind of work because it is so versatile. The strong, rigid panel can take the pressure of a transfer process without bending or tearing. Its smooth surface allows for a clean transfer and collage materials make a perfectly flush connection. I also really like that Claybord is an archival surface and that the panel is well sealed and primed.

For this demo, I combined a color copy transfer with collage. I began by selecting an image for the transfer. I chose a family photograph in digital format. I resized it and reversed the image left-to-right on my computer with image software. I flipped the image because in the transferring process, it will print in reverse. Once the image was ready, I printed it out on a color copier. Alternatively, you can resize and reverse a printed photograph by using a color copier directly.
Positioning the image

Next, I prepared the 9"x12" Claybord with 3/4" cradle for the transfer. I used a 3" foam brush to apply Daniel Smith’s World’s Best White Acrylic Gesso to the surface. This layer should be evenly applied so that it adheres well to the color copy and doesn’t dry too quickly. Daniel Smith’s gesso works great for this step because it is already the perfect viscosity right out of the can.

Apply pressure before flipping over
To make sure I positioned the image correctly, I set the color copy face-up on the table and lay the gessoed Claybord face-down onto the image. Then, I applied pressure to the back and flipped the panel over.

Burnish the image with a rubber brayer
The next step is to burnish the image to the panel. The purpose of this step is to make sure that the gesso adheres properly to the ink from the copy. You can smooth the back of the image copy with your hands. While this works, it can result in a inconsistent and irregular transfer. Likewise, too much pressure can either tear the paper or squeeze too much gesso out from under the paper causing faint areas or areas with no transfer at all. The method that I find works best is to use a rubber brayer, rolling from the middle out to the sides using medium pressure. This pushes out any air bubbles and achieves a flat, even bond. Make sure to go over the entire image thoroughly with the brayer or it can result in an uneven or poor transfer. For a good bond, it is very important to make sure there is enough gesso on the Claybord, especially on the surrounding and outer edges of the panel.
Rubbing the paper off gently

Once the gesso is dry, begin removing the paper from the surface, so that the ink from the copy is left intact in the gesso layer. This is done by dissolving the paper with water. Slowly remove the paper by dipping your fingers into the water and gently rubbing it off the surface. This part of the process generally takes 2-3 passes to remove all of the paper lint. The first pass allows you to remove most of the paper as well as the excess paper hanging over the sides. Be extra careful with the edges of the image so that you do not peel or rub the ink away too. This is the most fragile area of the transfer. For best results, start rubbing from the center of the panel outward and in one direction only or the edges of the image might peel up. Do not be afraid to re-wet the area if the paper is not rubbing away. After the first pass, I allow a few minutes for the surface to dry slightly. This makes it easier to see where the paper lint is still on the image. These areas will look “faded” or “dull”. When finished, the transfer surface will feel consistent and smooth.

Finished work
There are many different uses for image transfers. Because the surface is Claybord, you can paint, collage, print on, or even scratch into the transfer with Ampersand Scratchbord™ tools.  I decided to collage on top of the transfer. I “drew” shapes by connecting small magazine strips to make lines and curves. I used Lineco neutral pH adhesive to attach the tiny papers to the transfer. To finish, I brushed Golden® soft gel medium over the artwork to seal it. Then, I attached hanging hardware directly to the back of the cradle.

To see more of Dana's work, follow his blog on Tumblr: 

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, October 5, 2012

Featured Artist: Kendra Ferreira

Claybord Box lids in Ocean them, Kendra Ferreira
Box Lids for the upcoming show at the Providence Art Club

Rhode Island artist, Kendra Ferreira, is currently working on a series of Claybord™ Boxes for an exhibit at the Providence Art Club in Providence, Rhode Island.  The show opens this month, but you can take a sneak peek here of both the lids and inside images.  These works on the lids are image transfer and colored pencil.  

Inside images for the boxes

Kendra found Ampersand through the Colored Pencil Society of America.  There is a chapter in the New England area that meets regularly and discusses ideas about their work, materials, etc.  Someone shared Pastelbord™ and Kendra tried it out.  Since about 2004, Kendra has worked on Gessobord™, Pastelbord and Claybord for her artwork, trying them with the various mediums she uses-- oils, pastels and colored pencil.  Her galleries asked her to move away from framing with glass, so Kendra needed a viable substrate that would hold up archivally and protect her work.  With the right combination of panel and varnish, Kendra found a solution.  Since Kendra's works are so vibrant, people often mistake her colored pencil work for paintings.  Kamar varnish and Golden UVLS polymer varnish create the perfect finish for her pieces.

Even though Kendra has a full background in printmaking, oil painting, pastel and figure drawing, plus loads of foundational drawing, her love is colored pencil.  With it, she can do experimentation in both drawing and painting.  Gamsol odorless mineral spirits, applied by brush, open the door for the medium to become fluid and work like paint.  When working on Gessobord, Kendra primes it first with a sanded pastel primer, Colorfix, and then she can use a brush to push the pencil into the grooves.  With a Claybord substrate, Kendra often mounts the work with double tack mounting film after preparing the image on illustration board or paper.  

Besides a full time career as an artist, Kendra also teaches workshops in colored pencil, pastel and drawing.  She is starting an Art Boot camp this month, in fact.  To find out more, you can contact her directly:  Art Boot Camp

To learn more about Kendra and see her upcoming works as well as read about her process, follow her blog or check out 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.