Search This Blog

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:  deniseclarkweston.com

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:  danabrownstudio.tumblr.com 

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:  www.kjfdesign.com.

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.