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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Encaustic Painting Resources

Artist Trading Cards by Trish Seggebruch
Greek artists as far back as the 5th century B.C. practiced encaustic painting. The word "encaustic" comes from Greek and means to “burn in”, which refers to the process of fusing the paint. Perhaps the best known of all encaustic works are the Fayum funeral portraits painted in the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D. by Greek painters in Egypt. In the 20th century, the availability of portable electric heating implements and the variety of tools has made encaustic a far less formidable technique. This factor has created a resurgence of encaustic painting, and it is once again taking its place as a major artists' medium. Alfonso Ossorio, Jasper Johns, Lynda Benglis, Robert Morris, and Nancy Graves are prominent among the many artists who turned encaustic into a modernist and cross-disciplinary medium.

Encaustic Tools 
Palettes, brushes, cold tools, heated tools from Ampersand
Heating tools from Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch  
Supplies from Wax Works West
Encaustic Instruction
Books by Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch 
R&F Handmade Paints articles on starting and working in Encaustic  R&F Handmade Paints Blog on Encaustics
Encaustic with a Textile Sensibility by Daniella Woolf
The Encaustic Studio by Daniella Woolf
Embracing Encaustic: Learning to Paint with Beeswax by Linda Womack
Wax Works West in Corralitos, CA for learning encaustic
Encaustic Art Institute
The Encaustic Center in Richardson, TX

Encaustic Resources
R&F Handmade Paints Resource Center
           ■ Instruction
           Technical Sheets
Lisa Pressman

Some Encaustic Artists using Encausticbord
Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch
Cynthia Mosser
Elise Wagner
Cheryl Finfrock
Franciso Benitez 
Lisa Pressman 
Gwendolyn Plunkett
Brad Ellis
Daniella Woolf
Laura Moriarty
Linda Womack

Encaustic Workshops
Wax Works West in Corralitos, CA for learning encaustic
Video Workshops with Linda Womack
Encaustic Art Institute
The Encaustic Center in Richardson, TX
Encausticamp with Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch
Workshops in Australia
Elise Wagner Workshops
Francisco Benitez Workshops
Lisa Pressman Workshops

Encaustic Videos
YouTube Encaustic Playlist
Video Workshops with Linda Womack

Only Encausticbord has a ready to use surface formulated for the unique demands of encaustic painting and mixed media. Encaustic gesso is applied to Ampersand’s sealed Hardbord™ panel to form a bright, smooth and velvety surface that is ready to use with the ancient technique of encaustic painting. The ground is not only heat resistant and highly absorbent, but also holds tight to layers of wax and collage without the fear of cracking or separation.  

Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch gives a downloadable demonstration on creating encaustic trading cards:

Lisa Pressman shares the Top Five reasons to paint on Encausticbord here on our blog:  

And now, Encausticbord is on sale for up to 40% at participating retailers!

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, January 18, 2013

Featured Artist: Mark Meunier

"I work in egg tempera, a medium that can strike fear in too many artists who love the effects but after doing a little research have come away mind boggled with too many 'do's and don'ts' .  Over the years I've simplified the whole egg-tempera thing and love to pass on this demystified technique. Interestingly some people out there say you have to make your own boards, or buy 'true gesso' panels, [but] Claybord works very well, much better than any board I use to make." ~Mark Meunier

There are only a handful of professional artists working in egg tempera, and even fewer that have worked in the medium as long as Massachusetts artist Mark Meunier.  Even more astounding is that Mark taught himself the medium back in 1978 when oil painting wasn't giving him the effects he wanted.  He was aiming for more realism and wanted something quicker than oils.  With the almost instant drying time of egg tempera and the beauty that Andrew Wyeth captured with them, it seemed the ideal choice.

At the time, he knew of Andrew Wyeth and Robert Vickery painting in egg tempera, so he ordered Vickery's book, New Techniques in Egg Tempera, and began his own journey.  At first, Mark created his own traditional gesso with rabbit skin glue, whiting, and titanium dioxide pigment, working on masonite. He would grind each pigment down into an egg emulsion.  With traditional egg tempera, each change in color within an object is actually a different hue rather than a tint or shade, quite a laborious process to grind each.  He found that the paints dried quickly, too, on their own, and the panel making was tedious.  

However, since egg tempera needs a highly absorbent surface, there are few options to choose from for substrates.  Claybord™ solved the problem.  Mark explains that he did have to make a small adjustment to painting on Claybord as the surface is slightly different than rabbit skin glue gesso, but Claybord is highly absorbent, affordable and easy to work with.  As he evolved to using the Claybord, Mark also altered how he went about using egg tempera.  Instead of grinding each pigment down into the egg emulsion, he now wets his brush with the emulsion and dips the wetted out tip into a bit of pigment, mixing on his palette small puddles of paint at a time.  This way, his working paints stay moist.  Instead of mixing different hues for each object, Mark sticks with a palette of eight colors and works mixing those pigments to attain his colors, much like his oil painting background. 

With the translucent layers of egg tempera, objects form out of the two dimensional space, a concept that Mark hones constantly.  He continues his evolution as a painter by reaching his loyal audience through new subjects and ever bettering what he already knows well, taking realism a step further.  

Mark Meunier's work is in several galleries with new shows opening this year.  You can find his work at the Collins Galleries in Orleans, MA, at the R. Michelson Gallery in North Hampton, MA and at Tilting at Windmills Gallery in Manchester Center, Vermont with a show opening this coming May.

Mark has made egg tempera an accessible medium for anyone to use.  To start learning more about using Claybord with Egg Tempera, you can refer to these blog posts:  Painting in Egg Tempera on Claybord & Using Egg Tempera on Claybord.

Claybord is now on sale at select retailers across the country, along with Encausticbord, Hardbord, Gessobord and Artist Panel.  

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, January 11, 2013

Painting in Egg Tempera on Claybord

Many of the beautiful paintings from the Renaissance were done in egg tempera. Egg tempera is a brilliant, semi-translucent paint that dries almost instantly. This will have a profound effect on the artists painting style as it does not lend itself to washes, wet-into-wet, or oil-style blending techniques. Instead, egg tempera is best suited to short, overlapping strokes using cross-hatching for blending and toning effects.

Claybord is particularly receptive to this durable and vibrant pigment. The smoothness and absorbency of the surface is very similar to a 'traditional' gesso panel made with chalk and hide glue. Egg tempera requires the use of a rigid surface to prevent cracking and aging.  

The key to working with egg tempera on Claybord is a) how you lay down the first layers of paint and b) ensuring that you allow each layer to dry before beginning your detail work. 

When using egg tempera, begin by using three to four thin washes of paint washed over the entire panel, allowing paint to dry thoroughly between layers. The first four layers should dry overnight to allow good adhesion for subsequent layers. Use a very large brush and stay away from detail work in the beginning stages. Outline the shapes and shadows to position the subject matter where desired in this stage. After the preparatory layers are finished, alternate to smaller brushes narrowing down the clarity of the forms and subject matter. Continue painting in thin layers and allow adequate drying time between layers. Gradually increase the paint thickness as the layers develop. Repeat the previous step many times gradually narrowing the size of the brushes. When the final stages have been reached, a brush as small as #00 should used to create precise detail. The paint consistency in the final stages should be relatively thick so that the vibrancy and character of egg tempera is thoroughly enhanced. Varnish after adequate drying time is complete and frame.

To read the full article and access some egg tempera recipes, refer to our article:  Some General Tips on Egg Tempera

For even more tips on working in Egg Tempera, refer to this post by Andrea Pramuk: Using Egg Tempera on Claybord

Bonus:  Claybord is now on sale for up to 40% off at participating retailers, so click below to find a seller near you:

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, January 3, 2013

The Artist Panel

Original Artist Panel
As 2013 opens, many of you, myself included, are setting artistic goals.  It is a great time to review what worked well in the last year and what you want to accomplish this year.  It is sometimes eye opening to see how well things went or what could be done better.  What a great time to reflect on how to improve one's work or what to change in approach, style, materials, etc. 

On that note, I wanted to share more about the new products Ampersand introduced last summer, two new Artist Panels in different finishes. Some of you might already be familiar with the Artist Panel in the canvas finish.  It is an MDF panel with an acrylic gesso finish, textured like canvas.  I'm a fan of these myself, having tried several over the years.  In light of their popularity, we've come out with two new finishes. . .. the Artist Panel primed smooth on all sides (yes, all sides!) and the Artist Panel unprimed basswood.

The primed smooth panel gives artists the opportunity to finish the sides in any desired effect such as wrapping a painting around the edges with oils or acrylics.  It has a super smooth, semi-absorbent finish.  An acid free ground, it also works great for mounting giclĂ©es, prints or drawings.  The panels are 1/8" MDF, fully primed with an acrylic gesso on the surface and sides, and cradled with solid pine strips, ready for hanging in either a ⅞" or 1.5" cradled profile. 

The unprimed basswood panel can be used for encaustic, collage, mixed media or wood engraving. It also accepts all types of painting grounds for those who like to prepare their own.  The surface is sanded perfectly smooth, with no seams, knots or raised fibers.  The cradles are prepared with solid pine strips for a stable panel, easily finished with paint or stain.  All unprimed panels should be properly sealed and primed before applying paint:

One of the main benefits of the Artist Panel series is that they are made to Ampersand's high quality standards, but designed for everyone's budget.  Something to consider if you're looking to alter your spending or if you just want to try something new.  Let us know what you think of the different Artist Panel finishes.  We'd love to hear from you!

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.