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Friday, January 31, 2014

New Retail Store for Ampersand Art Supply panels in Germany!!!

Ampersand Panels have settled in Germany full time!  A boost for all of you artists who are in Europe wanting to order our products.  Kunstpark is now listed on our International Retailer page on our website as well as several other social networks.  Since they are primarily an online dealer,  you can connect with Kunstpark on Pinterest, Twitter, Google, Facebook and their blog.  Kunstpark (The Art Park) is a wonderful art store selling all sorts of fine art supplies of the highest quality.  The website is a beautifully built resource for explaining how to use products and keeping artists up to date on what they have as well as upcoming workshops.  Kunstpark has done a great job of showing our products on their site and explaining the best uses for each type of panel.  Thanks for joining us Kunstpark!

Ampersand Panels in Deutschland Vollzeit besiedelt! Ein Schub für euch alle Künstler, die in Europa wollen, um unsere Produkte zu bestellen sind. Kunstpark ist jetzt auf unserer International Händler Seite auf unserer Website sowie mehrere andere soziale Netzwerke aufgelistet. Da sie in erster Linie ein Online-Händler, können Sie mit den Kunstpark auf Pinterest, Twitter, Google, Facebook und ihrem Blog verbinden. Kunstpark (The Art Park) ist eine wunderbare Kunstspeicher für alle Arten von feinen Kunstzubehör von höchster Qualität. Die Website ist eine großartige Ressource zu erklären, wie Produkte zu verwenden und halten Künstlern auf dem Laufenden über das, was sie haben und kommenden Workshops.  Kunstpark hat einen tollen Job zu zeigen, unsere Produkte auf ihre Website und erklärt die besten Anwendungen für jede Art von Platte. Vielen Dank für Ihre Teilnahme Kunstpark!

If you haven't had a chance to purchase panels yet this winter, now is the time as select panels are on sale up to 50% off at dealers around the US and Canada:

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 30, 2014

"Dog Tired"

"Dog Tired", originally uploaded by Ampersand Art Supply.

Scratchbord work by Allan Adams, 5" x 7".

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


"Aura", originally uploaded by Ampersand Art Supply.

Oil on multiple Gessobord panels bolted together, 40"x 40", 2007.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"Fountain at Nimes"

"Fountain at Nimes", originally uploaded by Ampersand Art Supply.

Oil on Gessobord work by Gordon Fowler, 12" x 16".

Friday, January 24, 2014

Featured Artist: Natalie Oswald

Natalie Oswald is a fine artist and illustrator living in Seattle Washington.  She is represented by Pacini Lubel Gallery in Seattle.  To see more of her work, visit

Exploring new mediums and techniques keeps your painting process exciting and can lead to stylistic breakthroughs. I enjoy working in layers and playing with decorative elements such as gold leaf and repetitive patterns in order to make my painting surfaces richer and more interesting. Beginning my painting with Ampersand Gessobord™ is essential to my process. Many of the techniques I use require a rigid support with a smooth and consistent surface—Gessobord has both of these qualities. I prefer the 2" deep cradled boards as they can be finished on the sides and hung without additional framing. The new large sizes of deep Gessobord are ideal for creating my large and dramatic works.

Gessobord is a wonderful surface for patterns made with stencils or block prints. For this painting, I carved a koi design into a soft rubber block of Safety-Kut™ using Speedball® linoleum block cutters. I mixed acrylic paint and Golden® Acrylic Glazing Liquid (this keeps the acrylic from drying too fast) and applied it to the block with a rubber brayer (fig. 1). I positioned the block face down on the panel and applied pressure with a rolling pin to transfer the image. I repeated this process multiple times (fig. 2-3).

Creating Depth with Layers
Unlike printing on paper, a print on Gessobord will have a slightly textured quality because it is not as absorbent as paper. This unique look is magical under layers of acrylic paint. For this painting, I applied several acrylic colors over the printed koi patterns in thin layers. Quinacridones and other transparent pigments are my favorites as they allow the patterns to show through.  Sanding through the paint layers or applying metallic paints can also create lovely and aged-looking results.

Applying Gold Leaf
Gold leaf adds a dramatic touch of sparkle. Gessobord is an ideal surface for gold leaf because it is rigid and smooth. You can apply the leaf directly to the panel or over the acrylic paint layers as I have done here. Brush on a thin layer of Daniel Smith Quick Size (fig. 4) and wait ten or fifteen minutes until the glue is dry yet still tacky. Gently apply the gold leaf to the sizing using the backing papers or a squirrel-hair brush (fig. 5) and then remove the excess leaf (fig. 6).

Adding Imagery in Oil or Acrylic
The final layer of this painting was painted using traditional oil techniques. I used Daniel Smith Oils and painting mediums to paint two very detailed Japanese cranes (figs. 7-8). The elaborate printed surface underneath compliments the two birds nicely. My favorite brushes are the Daniel Smith Series 85-01 Oil Blender brush for softening brush strokes and the Series 44-12 Rigger to create flowing lines. To finish the painting, I use Golden® MSA UVLS Gloss Varnish to protect the delicate gold leaf and to give the painting a uniform glossy surface.

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 23, 2014

"Evening sunset in Oxford"

Oil on Gessobord work by Ruthie Windsor Mann, 12" x 16", 2007,

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"Monkey with words"

"Monkey with words", originally uploaded by Ampersand Art Supply.

Acrylic and collage work on Claybord by Linda Sheets,

Friday, January 17, 2014

Painting on Panel: Resources for Hardbord

In our "Painting on Panels" series, I've been sharing a lot of tips on working on wood panels.  To keep it all in one place, this is a list of resources for understanding wood panels and the best practices in working on them for producing long lasting art.

Working with Masonite -- Read about what makes Ampersand's hardboard different than Masonite, archival to use and the differences between other panels in the market.

Solid Wood vs. Manufactured Wood Panels --  The top 4 things an artist should consider when choosing a panel type.

Differences between HDF & MDF -- What to look for in choosing a panel, whether it is hardboard, HDF or MDF.  Understanding the properties of each and how they will effect your artwork long term.

Cradling and Supports -- Why it's a good idea to brace large manufactured panels.

Sizing -- Why it is important to size panels before priming and how to choose the proper products for good adhesion.

Oil Priming -- All raw wood panels need to be sized and primed before painting. This outlines the basics on priming with an oil ground and which products to use for the best results.  

Acrylic Priming --  Step by step instructions for using an acrylic dispersion groung to prepare wood panels.

Support Induced Discoloration --  The reasons that SID occurs and what you can do to prevent it.  

Take note that Hardbord and Unprimed Basswood are on sale now up to 50% off list price through the end of February.  Here is a list of the participating 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.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

"Love Songs"

"Love Songs", originally uploaded by Ampersand Art Supply.

Oil on Gessobord work by Dena Wenmohs, 12" x 12",

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"Asteroid Loop"

"Asteroid Loop", originally uploaded by Ampersand Art Supply.

Encaustic on Claybord work by Elise Wagner, 30"x 30",

Monday, January 13, 2014


"Sun", originally uploaded by Ampersand Art Supply.

Acrylic on Gessobord work by Kazaan Viveiros, 24" x 24", 2008,

Friday, January 10, 2014

"White Bouganvillia"

Watercolor on Aquabord, 24" x 24" by Karen Vernon.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Featured Artist: Lori Wolf Grillias

Andy's Story
"I have tried your other boards, but hands down, I find Claybord to be the most sensual surface I have ever painted on!!  The smell, the silky surface and the way, no matter how I lay those watercolors down, there are always unexpected surprises that arise.  I feed off of being in the moment, responding to the mediums and the physicality of the materials.  Other boards just don't provide the variety that Claybord offers me."  ~Lori Wolf Grillias

Class Management
California artist, Lori Wolf Grillias, is both a full time teacher and a full time artist, working her own art and magic primarily when she has teaching breaks.  Lori works full time in 4 elementary schools plus at the Children's Creative Project and at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art.   When she isn't teaching, Lori works on Claybord, in mixed media.

Lori's inspiration is the world around her, the physical surroundings, the people, history, dreams and thoughts.  Lori's work is a reflective journal of her world that she carves out of what otherwise might be seen as an abstract piece.  She explains, "When I start a piece, and I usually work on 4-5 at a time, I use watercolors, wet on wet.  After several layers, I use acrylic and scrape it away, rather than using a brush.  For me, this technique gives me a much more irregular surface.  When the painting feels like it has been formed by natural forces, rather than made by the artist's hand, I know I have reached the next step.  I use Caran 'dache water-soluble wax pastels to draw into the piece, bringing figures, machines and structures into the forefront.  Once the narrative between all the figures 'make sense',  I go back to acrylic and define even further.  The materials are a HUGE part of this art adventure."

Eagle Rising
Lori met Catherine Eaton at the young age of 12.  It was then that she knew she was an artist herself, meeting such a talented artist and wonderful person.  Lori shares, "She took the time to help me understand acrylic paint, how to use the tools the right way and dream big!"  Lori's formal studies in college only heightened her passion, where she had encouraging professors and learned to find her own voice.  It is no wonder that Lori loves what she does as both an artist and instructor, having good teachers in her path.  

Lori will be showing at the Architectural Foundation in Santa Barbara in 2015, and 
this summer, Lori will be teaching a class on the versatility of Claybord at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art; you can find more of those details on their website.

To see more of Lori's work and resume, refer to her 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.
White Own

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

"Table for two"

"Table for two", originally uploaded by Ampersand Art Supply.

Work by Ron Ukrainetz, Scratchbord with acrylic. "12 x 16".

Monday, January 6, 2014

"Wedding ring"

"Wedding ring", originally uploaded by Ampersand Art Supply.

Mixed media work on Aquabord by Marian Steen.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Insights from the World of Scratchbord, Part 4

The fourth part of the series, "Insights from the World of Scratchbord" by Lisa Goesling:

Cape Buffalo, 36" x 48", Sally Maxwell
"Sally Maxwell discovered scratchboard in 1967 while creating illustrations for brochures and magazines. At the time, she was exhibiting at a local art show when a judge came up to her and said that he would buy every one of her drawings outright if she could add color to them. Since he was the curator for Marshall Field’s Department Store’s Art Gallery in Chicago, she decided to appease him. Sally figured out a way to add color to her scratchboards and the rest is history. She has had a path that lead her to everything from published limited edition prints to having her designs produced on Collector Plates.

Upon moving to Austin, TX, she learned about a new start-up company, Ampersand Art, and approached them about creating Scratchboard kits, videos/DVD’s, and instructional booklets. Working together with Ampersand, they produced a line of quality colored inks to work in unison with the Scratchbords. Sally mentioned how far scratchboards have come, “…hard surfaces that withstand major removal and multiple additions and subtractions of its surface allowing so much leeway for artists. The addition of ‘cradled’ boards offers a ‘gallery wrapped look’ providing strong support.” Scratchboards used to be limited to smaller sizes because of the risk of the clay cracking from the weight of a larger board. With the introduction of ‘cradled’ boards, artists can work on any size knowing that Ampersand’s cradled system will keep their Scratchbord secure.

Silent Swan, 18" x 24", Sally Maxwell
Sally has had gallery representation throughout the years, her longest relationship being with Cantrell Gallery of Little Rock, AR. She is presently represented by Seaside Gallery in Pismo Beach, CA. She is one of those rare artists whose galleries buy her art outright rather than on consignment knowing full well that it will sell.

Sally’s annual average has been in the six figures plus range for the past five years. Her largest Facebook sale to date was for $17,500.  “We, (Sally’s husband and her) do six shows a year. I do a simple demonstration of how it is done, talk about the piece, where we were when the photo was taken, our adventure with the subject and what it means to us. My collectors are drawn by the drama of the medium and the uniqueness, appreciating it even more when they learn how it is done. My pieces are powerful, and the powerful are attracted to them. I think another thing that has contributed to my success is that I do not immediately look at the bottom line or net profit from an exhibit. I look for one new collector per show, someone who will continue to purchase, not a one time buyer. Establishing relationships with collectors and keeping them going through the years is my goal.”

Essence of a Giraffe, 24" x 60",
Sally Maxwell
Sally added that she sells from her four-year old studio to preexisting clients who have seen something on the Internet or Facebook. She and her husband are in the process of remodeling their guesthouse so that buyers can visit for the weekend and spend time in her Studio in the Woods.

Scratchboard artists have elevated this medium into the realm of fine art. I encourage you to explore these boards and begin to make your own mark in the world."

An excerpt of "Insights from the World of Scratchbord" by Lisa Goesling.

For more information on using Scratchbord, check out this post on "The World of Scratchbord" as well as our videos on using Scratchbord on YouTube.

Click here to explore the full selection of Ampersand panels and tools.

"My four masks"

"My four masks", originally uploaded by Ampersand Art Supply.

Oil on Gessobord work by Harold Martin, 38.5" x 48.75".