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Friday, March 28, 2014

Featured Artist: Susan Outlaw

Spring, oil on Gessobord, 24" x 18", 2012
"Susan's paintings are a response to a scene which has moved her in an emotional or spiritual way, she endures to capture that emotion in paint. She sees beauty in her surroundings and in the every day objects. Light playfully weaves throughout Susan's work allowing the viewer to respond to form, colour and overall composition."

Award winning Canadian artist, Susan Outlaw, captures the beauty of the change in seasons, the rural living and forests around her home in Ancaster, Ontario.  She gives exquisite detail and life to her subjects, bringing out the beauty in the every day.  

Crimson on White, 18" x 24", 2014
Susan began her art journey as a child, knowing early on that she needed to paint.  "I remember in kindergarten starting at an easel and having to go to the block station when my time was up, the disappointment of leaving the painting station still resonates with me,"  she shares.  Susan completed formal education at Sheridan College in Commercial Arts where she took on both fine art and advertising, giving her a basis for both realism and her desire to push her work further and think critically.

Susan paints in both acrylics and oils, preferring oils because of their blending properties and using acrylics often as an underpainting.  Finding Gessobord™ in a local art store in Hamilton, Ontario, Susan says she fell in love with the quality of the surface.  "Ampersand Gessobords are extremely smooth and the surface works well with my painting style.  I find that oils will still sink in to this surface, sometimes allowing me to get away with one layer only, whereas with other boards, the oil remains on top almost like plastic or glass, drying time is longer and challenging to blend."  Gessobord works best for Susan's higher realism works, her finer detailed pieces because of its slight absorbency and smooth surface.  In her looser styles, often landscapes or architectural pieces, Susan leans towards canvas.    

Small Shell, 8"x 10", 2013
Susan recently sold work to the prestigious 47 Park Place Hotel in London and she is represented by Earl's Court Gallery in Hamilton, Ontario.  You can see more of her work online there or at her website and stay in touch with her upcoming shows and exhibits via Twitter.

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, March 21, 2014

New Sizes for our Panels!!

This year, we added 6" x 8" inch flat panels to our size offering in Claybord™, Gessobord™, Pastelbord™, Encausticbord™ and Hardbord™, due to popular demand. They are small, lightweight and packed in threes for both convenience and cost effectiveness, and perfect for plein air painting.  Both Jerry's Artarama and Dick Blick are  carrying the new sizes.  

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.


"Leopard", originally uploaded by Ampersand Art Supply.

Beautiful scratchbord work by Mark Hatfield, 11" x 14".

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


"Oranges", originally uploaded by Ampersand Art Supply.

Oil on Gessobord work by Larry Preston, 16" x 24".

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

"Working Man"

"Working Man", originally uploaded by Ampersand Art Supply.

Stunning work by Charles Ewing, the father of Claybord. 16" x 20" India ink on Claybord, with scratchboard technique.

Monday, March 17, 2014

"Over Union Bay"

"Over Union Bay", originally uploaded by Ampersand Art Supply.

Oil on Gessobord work by Scott Gellatly, 12" x 12", 2006.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Aquabord 2.0 Revisited

Aquabord™ has undergone a number of important changes a few years ago due to a change in one of the raw materials we use to produce this unique surface for watercolors. We saw this challenge as an opportunity to make Aquabord even better than before. While the newer Aquabord is in essence, the very same, it does have a few differences: 
Above: New Version
Below:  Older Version

1. The new Aquabord™ surface has a flatter, more even texture. It’s less pebbly and feels more like a cold press watercolor paper.
2.  The new surface is slightly softer. You need to use less pressure when wet-lifting paint just like you would on paper.
3.  The new surface is more absorbent and emphatically more like watercolor paper (see helpful tips below).
4.  The new surface requires less water for washes and blends. It behaves more like a cold press watercolor paper now, so you don’t need as much water for wicking the paint across the surface – the paint moves more freely and blends beautifully.
5.  The vibrant color you’re accustomed to still applies.
6.  The lovely eggshell color of the natural clay you’re accustomed to is still around.
7.  You can still seal your watercolors and frame them without glass.

The new Aquabord surface is very porous. You may see some air bubbles come up when you apply very wet washes of color. To prevent this, flush the surface first before you start painting. Take a flat brush and apply big washes of water across the surface. Allow all the air bubbles to release. When the surface reaches a damp stage, then you can start applying watercolor to the surface. By allowing the air to escape first, you are basically opening up your surface to accept the pigment. This process will prevent those tiny air bubbles from affecting the consistency of the smooth transitions in your washes. 

More than a dozen professional watercolor painters and avid Aquabord users repeatedly tested our trial runs until we had the surface they felt worked best. We think the newer Aquabord is well worth the changes and we hope you do too. 
Above:  Washes on Aquabord
Below:  Washes on watercolor paper

We greatly appreciate thoughts about the reformulation, and you are welcome to share your feedback with us. We make Aquabord for you and it matters to us that you have a successful experience with our products.

Ampersand Aquabord™ panels are now available in both 7/8in and 1.5in Cradle Profiles that offer more flexibility for hanging and framing your work. Featuring a 7/8in and 1.5in total panel depth, these new cradle profiles are handcrafted with premium grade 13-ply birch plywood, designed to fit both standard canvas and floater frames. The cradle can easily be painted or stained to complement the artwork or primed in order to wrap the image around the edges. As with all Ampersand Museum Series panels, this product is eco-friendly, artist safe and made in Buda, Texas from US grown renewable wood sources. Other available options include a 1/8" flat panel and 2" deep cradle. 
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, March 13, 2014

"Wooden tile installation"

8 small Gessobord cradled panels mounted with paper prints of original oil paintings. Work by Karen Deans..

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


"Kathleen", originally uploaded by Ampersand Art Supply.

Stunning pastels on Pastelbord by Trilby Wood, 21" x 18";

Friday, March 7, 2014

Featured Artist: Jessie Benson

Waiting to Be, 6" x 6"
"Encaustic is the culmination of all my loves -- drawing, painting, and sculpture.  It also has the surprise element of printmaking and developing black and white photography in which the final piece is never exactly like you expected, which I really like.  It is this all-in-one characteristic that keeps me returning to my studio again and again." ~Jessie Benson

Lowfields Farm, 8" x 10"
North Carolina artist, Jessie Benson creates encaustic work that encompasses not just her love of many art mediums, but also her deep respect and passion for nature.  She finds constant inspiration in the trees, leaves and birds around her.  "Birds are a favorite subject matter as well and I am fortunate to have a yard full of birds of many species.  They are constantly inspiring me," she explains.  "I love to paint trees, birds, nests, flowers, really any part of nature I find beautiful."  However, Jessie also likes the challenge of commissions, because the subjects aren't normally what she would choose, such as a recent ship triptych.

Becoming the Moon, 6" x 12"
Jessie has always been an art lover and began her path into painting with acrylic, ink, printmaking and even sculpture.  But it was encaustic that she was drawn to through seeing another artist's work at a local art fair.  She explains, "after reading about encaustic painting, I went to Jerry's to assemble the supplies including Ampersand Encausticbord™.  I loved the professional look of the cradled panels and the various sizes.  I also liked the way the final painting could be hung without needing framing.   I use all 1.5" cradled boards because I like the way the painting depth is uniform when hanging multiple pieces for a show.  I also like knowing that when someone buys my painting they are getting quality materials."  Jessie prepares around thirty of her boards at a time, in all different styles, ready to take on a painting at a moment's notice.   "This variety in panel size allows me to create the piece as I have dreamed it up and having many panels on hand ready to go allows my creativity to flow freely."  

Faith,  24" x 18"
Jessie has new work opening tonight at the Visual Art Exchange's MOVE show  including her favorite painting ‘Becoming The Moon.’  Come out to the opening reception with Raleigh’s First Friday events March 7 from 6-9 pm 309 W. Martin St. downtown Raleigh, NC.  Next week, Jessie will be in Woodstock, Illinois for the 27th Annual Women's Works Show to display her work Faith, opening on March 13thTo see more of Jessie's encaustic work, or her other art, tune in to her website at:  As an extension of Jessie's  love of nature, she gives a portion of her proceeds to the North Carolina nonprofit Center or Human-Earth Restoration that serves to reconnect adults and children with the natural world.

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, March 6, 2014

"Merbau Cuckoo"

"Merbau Cuckoo", originally uploaded by Ampersand Art Supply.

Oil and egg tempera on Claybord, 18" x 24", 2008. Work by Madeline Von Foerster.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

"Country Toothpick"

"Country Toothpick", originally uploaded by Ampersand Art Supply.

Pastels on gray Pastelbord, 11.5" x 15", work by Marilyn Grame,

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


"Majesty", originally uploaded by Ampersand Art Supply.

Scratchbord work by Pam Duncombe with acrylic.