Search This Blog

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Cameron Diaz

Cameron Diaz, originally uploaded by Ampersand Art Supply.

Work by Thaddeus Spann, airbrush on Claybord. To find more of his work, tune in to

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"Chalk Birds"

Chalk Birds, originally uploaded by Ampersand Art Supply.

Work in acrylic on Artist Panel Canvas Texture, 12" z 12" from David Scott Meier.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Painting on Panel: Oil Priming

For those of you that purchase our museum quality panels, Aquabord™, Encausticbord™, Pastelbord™, Gessobord™ or Claybord, we complete the sealing and priming for you on the front of the panel.  However, for anyone who is choosing to do their own sizing and priming for oil painting, these instructions for priming in oil will be helpful.  Our Hardbord panel and the Unprimed Basswood Artist Panel both require sealing and priming before use.

All wood panels must be sealed (also known as sizing) before painting in order to put a barrier between the naturally occurring chemicals in wood and the painting ground. Support Induced Discoloration (SID) occurs when a panel is not properly prepared and these chemicals leach through to the paint on the surface. By choosing a denser panel with a low acid content, an artist greatly reduces their risk of SID. However, all wood panels should be sized (sealed) and primed before painting to ensure their longevity. 

Gamblin® Oil Painting Ground is our first choice in a good quality oil primer. However, the following instructions are virtually interchangeable with a number of other oil painting grounds if there’s one you like better or have more readily available. Gamblin® Oil Painting ground contains an alkyd resin vehicle that allows it to dry within a matter of hours. A number of other pre-made oil primers are also available and generally, they are made up of a white pigment, linseed oil and driers or solvents. Primers that use alkyd resin binder instead of linseed oil dry faster and are non-yellowing and more flexible than traditional grounds. Both may be applied in the same manner with either a large putty knife or a large stiff bristle brush. If you are using a traditional oil primer, it may need to be thinned with Gamsol® to a workable consistency enabling easy application over the sized panel. Never add oil to a primer. Its leanness must always be preserved.

Step 1 – Size and seal the wood
A size is a thin solution (often a weak glue) that is brushed directly onto a support. Sizing or sealing Ampersand's uncoated panels is recommended to protect against SID. In fact, it is extremely important to properly seal any and all un-primed wood substrates to prevent support-induced discoloration 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 still needs to be sized and sealed. The Natural Wood Panel™ and Unprimed Basswood panels are made with a thick basswood plywood top that has been sanded ultra-smooth. They are both seamless and knot-free and provide a perfectly smooth and uniform painting finish. When you apply the size and primer to the basswood surface, you won’t experience the raised wood grain fibers that can happen with some other rougher types of plywood; the surface stays nice and smooth. The basswood panels have solid wood cradles and braces that may be more susceptible to moisture and environmental changes than the birch plywood cradles we use on the Hardbord™. Therefore, Ampersand recommends that you prime both the front and back of the Basswood top to ensure long-term stability of the panel.  The best products we have found to seal wood are Golden® GAC100 [2 coats]  and Gamblin® PVA Size [4 coats].

Apply Golden® GAC100 directly to the basswood or hardboard surface with a 2" paintbrush or putty knife. Apply to the front and back if applicable. Allow the GAC100 to dry completely and follow with an additional coat. Do not sand between layers. Before applying oil primer or the painting ground, allow the GAC100 to dry for 1-3 days so that the sealer can coalesce into a uniform film for maximum protection. If you’re using Gamblin® PVA Size, use 4 coats and follow the same application instructions as for the GAC100.

Step 2 – Protect and prepare the cradle
Hardbord™ is available in either a flat 1/8" panel, with a 3/4" cradle, or with the 2" DEEP cradle. The Natural Wood and Unprimed Basswood panels are available in both a 7/8" cradle and 1.5" cradle profile. You have the choice of painting all the way around the cradle or leaving the natural wood showing for framing purposes. Be sure to size and seal the bare wood if you want to paint completely around the edges of the cradle. Or, to protect the wood from paint and primer, cover the sides of the panel with painter’s tape up to the edge of the surface. Do not remove the tape until the painting is finished. Painter’s tape does not leave a sticky residue like many household masking tapes that can be difficult to remove, and will leave a pristine surface underneath when the painting is complete. 

Step 3 – Apply the Oil Painting Ground or Oil Primer
Begin by mixing small amounts of Gamsol® with the primer to thin if necessary. You can test the right consistency by picking up the paint with a knife and shaking it gently. If it falls from the knife like soft butter, it is ready to use.

When priming with a putty knife [or wedge tool], begin by placing a portion of the oil painting ground or primer in the center of the [already sized] panel. Spread it in one direction, and then in the opposite, and finally in a diagonal direction. Clean the putty knife and run it over the ground to smooth and even out the surface. Also, prime the edges of the panel and the cradles if applicable. Don’t forget to apply GAC100 on the cradle edges first if priming them for painting. 

When the first coat of oil painting ground is completely dry (about 7 hours), lightly sand the surface with a sanding block using light grade 400/grit sandpaper. A second coat can be applied the next day or any time after the first coat is dry. If using basswood, for each additional coat to the panel face, apply the same number of applications to the panel back.

If priming with a brush, use a large bristle brush, at least 2"-3" wide (proportionate to the size panel you are using), and apply the ground or primer with quick alternating strokes, working it well into the surface. After evenly distributing the ground or primer over the entire surface, finish by going over it lightly with a clean brush, carefully in straight lines, or use a short-nap [cotton] roller. Let the first coat dry, then sand and apply a second coat. At least two coats of ground or primer should be applied. The more coats of ground or primer that are applied, the smoother the surface will become. For basswood panels, follow the same instructions, but also prime the back. For each additional coat to the panel face, apply the same number of applications to the panel back

Step 4 – To Finish
Eliminate any unevenness on the finished primed surface by lightly sanding the panel after it has thoroughly dried. The finished primed panels should be allowed to dry completely at room temperature before painting. If you prepare several panels at a time, then you will have stock on hand that is dry and ready to paint when needed. 

Below is a video produced by Gamblin with Scott Gellatly, technical director, explaining how to prime a painting.

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, July 26, 2013

Lisa Goesling demonstrates Scratchbord

Featured Artist, Lisa Goesling, was recently interviewed by Enid Silverman on Artist to Artist.  During the thirty minute interview, Lisa demonstrates how to work on Scratchbord™.  She explains how the surface works, how it takes color and what tools to use.  You can see a glimpse of Lisa's demo here on our YouTube channel.

Artist to Artist credits: 
Co-producers  Enid Silverman/ Mitzi Soskich

Director: Mitzi Soskich

Host: Enid Silverman

Lisa's work from the show is on her blog:

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, July 25, 2013

"Fall 2"

Fall 2, originally uploaded by Ampersand Art Supply.

Oil on Aquabord!, work by Carl Smith, 16" x 20". Carl shares more of his work on

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Perceptions, originally uploaded by Ampersand Art Supply.

Oil on Gessobord work by William Suys, Jr., 24" x 18". To see more of his work,

Monday, July 22, 2013

Friday, July 19, 2013

Sir Paul and Lady Linda

Scratchbord work by Sheryl Unwin, 8"x 8". You can see more of her work at

Thursday, July 18, 2013

"River Trees"

River Trees, originally uploaded by Ampersand Art Supply.

Our Marketing Director, Andrea Pramuk has a portfolio chocked with unique mixed media work. This piece is watercolor, alcohol inks, oil and cold wax on Artist Panel Smooth, 8" x8". To see more of her work, visit

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"Miko in Blue"

Miko in Blue, originally uploaded by Ampersand Art Supply.

Rory Lee's work in mixed media on Claybord, 8" x 10"

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Corgie, originally uploaded by Ampersand Art Supply.

Acrylic on Aquabord by Pat Weaver. With over 30 years experience painting in watercolor and teaching, Pat has an extensive portfolio in landscapes, florals and wildlife. Pat has written several books on watercolor and teaches around the country. To see more of her work or learn where you can take a workshop, log on to her website:

Monday, July 15, 2013

"White Love"

White Love, originally uploaded by Ampersand Art Supply.
Work by Claire Kendrick, oil & encaustic on Encausticbord, 30"x 30". You can see more of Claire's work here as a featured artist on our blog: Or, you can see work by Claire in her recent show at the Jacksonville International Airport:

Friday, July 12, 2013

"Triple Falls from the Top"

"Triple Falls from the Top" is by Andrew Judkins. Oil on Gessobord. You can find more work by Andrew on his website:

Friday, July 5, 2013

Featured Artist: Sandy Delehanty

"For my work, archival quality is key.  People spend good money to purchase my paintings, and I want them to out last me and the collectors who buy them. As I tell my students, when it comes to art supplies you get what you pay for.  A cheap surface is awful to work on and even more frustrating for students just learning to work in watercolors.  Ampersand's Aquabord performs so well that even my least experienced students can create paintings they are proud of."  -- Sandy Delehanty

Birds Back to Back
Internationally acclaimed California artist, Sandy Delehanty has an extensive resume in both oils and water media as well as a full plate as a workshop instructor world-wide.  Sandy claims she is obsessed with painting and never runs out of ideas, which is evident in looking at her growing portfolio.  With a BFA from California State and numerous studies under renowned artists, Sandy's design and style in all her work are uniquely her own and beautifully rendered.  

Sandy has spent decades refining her work and business and came to Ampersand Aquabord™ in 2008 during the crisis time before a show opening.  With three short weeks left and three paintings to complete and frame, a friend handed her a piece of Aquabord with cradles.  "I painted a zebra portrait with a red background and zebra stripes around the cradle edge creating a fun built in frame.  I was done in just two days.  I painted two more watercolors on Aquabord.  The show went well, and the three paintings on the Aquabord were the first to sell," Sandy explains.   "Those bold colors inspired my next series of watercolors on Aquabord-- tropical flowers.  In August 2009, when the California art market was at its worst, I had a show of watercolor flower paintings at Elliott Fouts Gallery in Sacramento.   We decided to test the market for watercolors on Aquabord.  We hung sixteen new flower paintings, eight watercolors on paper framed under glass, and eight watercolor paintings on Aquabord with the cradle edges painted black.   We sold eight paintings; seven watercolors on Aquabord and one watercolor on paper.  Gallery owners always say that it is far easier to sell works on canvas or panel than works on paper.  They say collectors complain about glare on glass, and they just don't seem to appreciate the value of works on paper.   Now that I paint my watercolors on Aquabord the gallery owners are actually asking for my watercolor paintings as well as my oils."

Tongue Tied
Sandy purposefully chooses her subjects for their bright colors, and the subject dictates the medium she'll work in.  "Tropical flowers look best when painted in watercolor on Aquabord™ because of the intense color that Aquabord makes possible.  I started my Aquabord adventure with a zebra painting, and I still choose watercolor on Aquabord to paint animals.  Tongue Tied my giraffe painting was so much fun to paint on Aquabord because I used wet in wet, slipping, sliding, pouring and spraying of watercolor to create the background."  Tongue Tied recently won the second place award in painting at the 8th Annual "Animal House" Open juried show at the Sacremento Fine Art Center.  "I also chose Aquabord when I painted Venetian Masks because I wanted to use a lifting technique to create the feathers and no watercolor surface lifts as well as Aquabord.  I used iridescent watercolors on the masks to add sparkle," she explains.

Venetian Masks
Besides the plein air and studio work that Sandy accomplishes stateside, she travels extensively for small companies on art workshops.  Her next trip is with French Escapade to Spain, an 8 day trip beginning August 31.   Sandy works in watercolor on her trips, but she is open to other mediums that students bring along.  Besides the Spain trip, Sandy is teaching numerous other workshops; you can view her summer 2013 schedule here:
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.