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Friday, August 31, 2012

Art Opening: Breeze Block Gallery opens Space/Form

Artist Frank Gonzales
Space/Form is a group exhibition curated by Sven Davis, the UK Director for the online arts magazine, Arrested Motion.  The show opens at Breeze Block Gallery in Portland on September 6, 2012 and runs through till September 29, 2012.

As one of the key sponsors of Space//Form, Ampersand Art Supply provided a custom made panel for each of the artists to produce their own unique art piece for the show. Ampersand's unique surface coatings allow each artist to experiment and further their creative expression beyond what can be done on an ordinary stretched canvas.

Space//Form centers around notions of the architectural landscape. Over 100 of the most relevant young contemporary artists were each given an identical 10x10 inch panel and invited to create a work depicting their interpretation of space and form within either the constructed or the natural environment.
Artist Seonna Hong

Space//Form explores the constructed and natural environment while also serving as a comparative exercise in how different individuals respond to a single set of prescribed criteria. All of the participating artists were given the same commission guidelines and an identical surface material to work with. Each unique interpretation of the brief has led to the creation of a new artwork specifically for the show. The disciplines of art and architecture traditionally enjoy a symbiotic relationship, and the parallels run deep between the conception and realization of an architectural project and the Space//Form exhibition itself.
For further reading about the upcoming show, and viewing some of the works in progress, please visit the posts from Arrested Motion and curator Sven Davis:

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, August 24, 2012

Featured Artist: Louise LeBourgeois working on Claybord™

Louise at work
Louise at work
Louise LeBourgeois paints waterscapes like no one else, on Claybord™, with oil, and in her studio rather than at the waterfront.  The water brings her back to the rural places she found magical as a child, and the paintings she creates are pure magic made from pigments, oil and Claybord.  Very few oil painters gravitate towards Claybord, but for Louise, nothing compares. 

Isthmus #440 by Louise LeBourgeois
Isthmus #440, 12" x 12", 2010
In college, she had learned how to stretch canvas, but found the "bounce" of the fabric uncomfortable.  Pulling the fabric too tight to eliminate bounce would then warp the bars; so for years, Louise stayed away from painting all together.  After reaching limited blending with oil pastel, she tried oil painting again and working on panel.  Louise worked on panels she made and sanded, so they would be as smooth as she liked.  She would work and sand long weekends on her back porch during the Chicago summers to get the precise surface.  Laborious and hard on the body, sanding gave way to searching for prepared panels.  Both the Gessobord™ and Claybord appealed to her, however, it was the Claybord's ultra-smooth surface that won out.

Water 456 by LeBourgeois
Water #456, 36" 'x 36", 2011
Although Louise uses Claybord, which is highly absorbent with oil paints, she says that it is the best surface for her work because it has the same ultra-smooth finish she aimed for in her own panel making.  The first few oil paint layers dry to a matte finish, which is okay because she expects those first layers to be just lay-in color, determining the overall direction the piece will go.  The more layers she applies, the richer the oils become on the surface, sitting atop one another.  Louise does nothing extra to prep the panels when they arrive, she just digs in.

Water 447 by LeBourgeois
Water #447, 10" x 12", 2011
Louise was born in New Orleans, lived as a child in Clemson, South Carolina, and also Oxford, England before moving to Chicago as a young teen.  The city wasn't as "free" as she was accustomed and the move unconsciously altered her subject matter over time as an adult artist.  It was the swimming of her youth, and now the waters of Lake Michigan, that opened the boundaries and gave her freedom as a person and artist. Her art mirrors life changes and melds with the swimming that has always been a steady discipline for her.  From drawing in oil pastels early on to fully blended atmospheric oil paintings, Louise's magical work is much more than a waterscape or moonscape, it is her own story. 

Follow Louise, her work, her teaching or contact her for commission, check out her website:

For more tips in painting on Claybord with Oils:  Claybord and Oils

Ampersand SaleClaybord is now on SALE at 40% off at Ampersand Art Supply retailers around the country.  Now it comes in a 1.5" deep cradle as well!  Find a retailer near you: Fall Sale Ampersand Dealers

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, August 17, 2012

Studio Tour: Judith Simonds

Judy Simmonds
Judy Simmonds in her studio

Lucky me! I am the guest blogger for this week’s post. My name is Andrea Pramuk and I’m Ampersand’s Marketing Director.   

It occurred to me that I happen to know a lot of interesting and fabulous artists local to the Austin area where we manufacture your favorite panels and mine. I’m also an artist that uses Ampersand boards so I’m in a unique position to recommend our products to my artist friends. One of those is Judith [Judy] Simonds who I’ve known since our days in graduate school at UT Austin. Judy is originally from Mequon, WI, near Milwaukee, but has lived in Austin for more than 20 years and currently teaches ceramics at Austin Community College. A wonderful cook as well as artist, Judy invited me over for a delicious meal and studio visit just a few weeks ago. I managed to snap a few shots of her studio and works in progress with my phone while I was there.
Judy’s background is mainly in hand-built ceramic sculpture, but she is also multi-disciplined in painting and drawing. The art forms she uses for her language are lifelike, organic and earthy, inspired by nature, universality and life experience. Her newest pieces are dark, black and haunting, but also exude a playfulness and serenity that is unique to her work. If you’re interested to know more about this particular body of work, she talks about it during the last EAST Austin Studio Tour on KLRU and on Arts in Context on KLRU where she talks about her current experience as a Generous Artist.

Judy prefers to work in oils and acrylics on Claybord™ with the 2” deep cradles, as they tie in well with the sculptures she creates, painting the edges jet black to juxtapose next to the sculptures. I took a picture of them together so you’d get the idea. Mostly working from photographs, dreams and memory, Judy is able to create the most captivating and tactile natural art environments.  

Just as I walked into her studio (a converted two-car garage) I noticed this ingenious low-fi hanging hardware she had built herself. Amazingly enough, she designed it to hang our 2” cradled boards which fit perfectly over the top on the inside of the cradle–no wire needed! Built from connecting 2–1”x 2”x6” boards glued together and then securely screwed into a stud in the wall, this makes the perfect and LEVEL hanging system for photography and an organized space to critique her work and to hang wet paintings.

Do you love Judy’s work? 
Stay on top of her latest news: 

Visit Judith Simonds website: 

Simonds Studio Facebook Fan Page:

Judy's Hardware
Artwork hanging on Judy's homemade hardware

Friday, August 10, 2012

Featured Artist: Jennifer Redstreake Geary

Ball Jar with Cotton, 5" x 7", watercolor on Aquabord™
Jennifer Redstreake Geary, both a full time mom and full time graphic designer is also a prolific artist who is highly sought after for her work in watercolor and pastel.  Her work as an artist began before kindergarten, and she found solace in drawing throughout high school and college.  Only recently, did watercolors found their way into her repertoire when a friend introduced Aquabord™ to her as an alternative surface to paper.

Savanah with green gloves, 8" x10", 2011, watercolor on Aquabord™
Poor materials turned Jennifer off to watercolors years ago, when her first workshop included flimsy paper, poor brushes and a cheap watercolor pan.  So turned off in fact, she refused to try another class or to ever use watercolor again.  An admirer of Jennifer's pastel work suggested she try again, but this time using Aquabord and much better paints.

"I was skeptical," Jennifer explains.  "How could this be any different than painting on paper?  I took it home along with a palette full of Daniel Smith watercolors that she squeezed for me to try.  I painted a cactus fruit.  It was 'love at first brush stroke', so to speak."  It was the color and control Jennifer had over the working surface and paint that drew her into painting.  Since Aquabord is rigid, the surface doesn't wrinkle like paper and with an absorbent surface, the paint glides on, layers easily, and is simple to remove in subtractive techniques.   "Using Daniel Smith watercolors along with Aquabord is the perfect marriage, to me, of mediums.  I feel as if I am creating 'GOOD' artwork for the first time," Jennifer shares.  To finish her pieces, Jennifer uses 3-4 coats of varnish, a Krylon Satin Varnish, sprayed evenly in opposing directions for ideal coverage.

Golden Eyes, 9" x 12", 2011, soft pastel on Pastelbord™
Since Jennifer also teaches classes in her spare moments, she has introduced her own students to Aquabord.  New artists can really benefit from using quality supplies when they begin with a medium.  Unlike Jennifer's own first watercolor class experience, her students walk away with a successful piece, and they return to her classes. 

Long before Jennifer started using Aquabord, though, she was using Pastelbord™ and Hardbord™.  Since it was drawing and soft pastel that first drew her into arts, she found her way to Pastelbord via the advice of another good friend.  Hardbord was another natural gravitation for her collage and mixed media work.  The Hardbord surface takes gesso well, after being sealed, and is a perfect solution for mixed media.  The cradled frame is ideal for these pieces as they are ready to hang when complete and sell quite well for her at art festivals and on Etsy.

If you would like to experience Aquabord firsthand with a seasoned painter, Jennifer teaches watercolor classes at the Tullahoma Fine Arts Center in Tullahoma, TN.  To join the class or learn more about her work and commissions, contact her via her blog or 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.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ampersand's YouTube Channel

It is time to introduce you to our video channel, Ampersand Art Supply, on YouTube.  This channel is a collection of playlists of artists demonstrating different media and techniques using Ampersand panels and there are also a few demos from our President/CEO, Elaine Salazar.  We have just started uploading videos and more are in the works. In the meantime, these playlists should get you started on how to use Ampersand panels, or how to try them with a new or different medium. 

I have put together a list of channels from our retailers who share the latest in art materials and techniques. Some of those dealers also have great videos about using Ampersand panels. At the bottom of our channel is a list of some of our art material manufacturer friends, products that go hand in hand with Ampersand.

Browse, enjoy and send us your feedback. I would love to connect with you on YouTube as well, so if you have a channel where you're sharing your work and how-tos on Ampersand, let me know!

This video below was made by Daniel Smith Watercolors; it is an intro to Aquabord™." 

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.