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Friday, September 28, 2012

Featured Artist: Michael Ireland


  One of 5 pieces donated by Micheal to the Children's Hospital
One of 5 pieces donated by Micheal to the Children's Hospital
Children's Hospital in Chicago, IL
Children's Hospital in Chicago, IL
Organic Leaves by Michael Ireland
Organic Leaves
As a painter, Michael Ireland works on large-scale watercolors, something rarely seen in the medium, thus bringing him regular commissions for hospitals, businesses and homes across the country. His work transcends its tangible presence as a painting on the wall and brings calm and tranquility to those it’s near.  And Aquabord™ makes it all possible.
 

Michael, like many professional artists, has been involved with art his entire life. A one time musician, graphic designer and art director, Michael came back to painting, his true love, about twelve years ago. Watercolor has always been his medium of choice, ever since studying under  Irving Shapiro at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, IL.  The medium of watercolor, Michael says, "is both delicate and dynamic.  It is a cruel mistress." Michael has certainly mastered the medium and has learned many life lessons through doing it.

Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL
Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL
Upon finding his passion for watercolor and not wanting to leave it to increase the scale of his work, Michael began searching for ways to sustainably go larger. During his search, he came upon Ampersand's cradled Aquabord, 12"x12". His new pieces sold quickly, challenging the queries of those skeptical of purchasing watercolors. The archival Aquabord didn't require glass and could easily be varnished for protection instead. The use of glass caused some loss of sales as viewers complained of seeing only their reflections.

Still his desire to work larger wasn’t completely resolved. So, he began making grids of 30-40 square boards for shows and found his audience giddy with the idea. So, why not go even bigger?  After consulting with Andrea Pramuk, Marketing Director here at Ampersand, about the sizes available, Michael began ordering the largest panels he could get. He was buying 10 sheets at a time 4'x8'-- truckloads. 


St.Joseph, Mt.Sterling, KY
St.Joseph, Mt.Sterling, KY
Finding Aquabord was life changing. He explains that he wouldn't have gone this route if the product were inferior. Finally, Michael could produce the work he wanted at the scale he wanted. He explained that "yes, it isn't like working on cold press watercolor paper. There is some need to alter one's approach, but the ability to remove color came as a revolutionary surprise”, says Michael. It is like having a tube of white in your hand. In order to risk altering his style in what he had already done on paper, Michael knew the result had to be well worth it. Being able to lift color off with a brush or sponge was life changing.   
Elmhurst Memorial Hospital, Elmhurst, IL
Elmhurst Memorial Hospital, Elmhurst, IL
Along with successful selling, Michael found a niche teaching workshops for large-scale watercolors. Granted, there is the issue of physical space in these classes, so Michael limits them to only a few a year. Book early if you'd like to attend one of his workshops. 

Since Michael's pieces are both beautiful and peaceful, they've been recommended to many hospitals across the country for waiting room areas. And, as the pieces do remarkably bring a sense of tranquility and beauty to an otherwise uncomfortable sitting, Michael is booked with commissions.


If you are enjoying Michael's work, check out his website to see more and find out about his workshops:  www.irelandwatercolors.com

Gessobord™, Claybord™,  Hardbord™, Encausticbord™ and the Artist Panel are all on sale right now through the end of September.  Find a retailer near you:  Fall Sale  
 

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 21, 2012

Panel Painting Tips: How to Seal Hardbord™ Panels

Hardbord™ is one of the few panels we offer unprimed and unsealed as a raw wood surface. There can be great pleasure in working directly on raw wood. However, for long term stability, we recommend sealing all unprimed wood panels, including our own, to protect against support induced discoloration (SID), warping and adhesion issues. Whether you're working in acrylics, oils, encaustics, alkyds or tempera, paint will adhere best to surfaces that have been properly prepared using archival practices.
 
A size is a thin solution (often a weak glue) that is brushed directly onto a support. Sizing or sealing is recommended to protect Ampersand’s uncoated panels from support-induced discoloration (SID) when using  acrylic gesso. If wood is not sized or sealed properly before applying the gesso, yellowing can occur because water [a solvent] can cause acids, occurring naturally in wood, to migrate to the surface. In fact, it is extremely important  to properly seal any and all un-primed wood substrates to prevent support-induced discoloration (SID) that can cause your paint film to yellow over time. Hardbord™ is manufactured using Aspen fibers, a wood with a very low acid content, but it still needs to be sized and sealed. Sealing only the "paintable" side will possibly lead to warping if moisture or pollutants leach through the raw wood cradles or backing. So, seal the entire panel for the ultimate protection.  

To see first hand the effects of SID on a panel, check out this video from Golden:


To apply the size, use a wide flat brush to lay on 2 layers of GAC 100 or 4 layers of Gamblin PVA size, allowing each to dry completely before applying gesso layers. For more complete directions click here to read about sealing with Acrylic Gesso and click here to read about sealing with Oil Ground.


Some artists prefer having this work done for them, and by all means, feel free to purchase a Gessobord™, Aquabord™, Claybord™, Encausticbord or Pastelbord™ to suit your purposes.  Gessobord and Claybord, along with Hardbord, Encausticbord and the Artist Panel are all on sale right now through the end of September.  Find a retailer near you:  Fall Sale

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 7, 2012

Fall Sale happening now: Claybord, Gessobord, Encausticbord and Artist Panel

The Fall Sale is on, so what does this mean for you?  And how can you get in on the action?

Well, a few times a year, Ampersand has a sale on a few of the products, which means that the Ampersand retailers can sell them 20%-50% off to you, the artist.  Not all the products go on sale each time, so you have to watch carefully for when your favorite panels are in the sales.  During each sale, the website, the blog and our social media outlets mention the products and places where you can purchase them easily.  

This September, Claybord™, Gessobord, Hardbord Encausticbord and the Artist Panel are all on sale.  For a quick reminder on all the pros of each panel, check the list below and notice the new products:  Artist Panel Primed Smooth and Artist Panel Unprimed Basswood as well as 1.5" profiles for Claybord and Gessobord.   

Claybord
Patti's New Bowl, colored pencil on Gessobord by Kendra Ferreira
•  Superior performance with mixed media
•  Ultra-smooth, highly absorbent finish
•  Ideal for inks, acrylics, pencil and gouache

Gessobord
•  Ideal for oils and acrylics
•  Consistently even, bright white finish
•  Perfect level of absorbency for paints

Hardbord
•  Build up your own painting surfaces
•  Accepts all types of gesso grounds
•  Eco-friendly, high-density Aspen fiber core

Encausticbord
•  Ready-to-use encaustic gesso surface
•  Use with encaustic, collage, inks and mixed media
•  Absorbent and heat resistant

Tree of Life by Andrea Pramuk, on Artist Panel
The Artist Panel Canvas Texture
•  Ready to use with oils and acrylics
•  Achieve better and truer color
•  Medium canvas texture for optimum paint control

New!  The Artist Panel Primed Smooth
•  Fully primed top and sides
•  Super smooth acrylic gesso finish
•  Ideal for oils, acrylics and pencil

New! The Artist Panel Unprimed Basswood
•  Good with all painting grounds
•  Smooth uniform basswood finish
•  Free of knots, seams and raised fibers

New! Ampersand 1.5” Cradle Profiles
•  Fit into floater frames (1.5” total depth)
•  Paint, wax or stain the sides
•  Choose from Claybord™ or Gessobord™

To find a retailer in the sale near you:  Fall Sale 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.