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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.