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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year from Ampersand Art Supply

A belated Happy Holidays to you all and a Happy New Year!

We've had a wonderful 2015 sharing new artists and new ideas with you here on our blog, and we give a huge thanks to all of the artists who have been willing to be featured on our blog, in our videos and on the ever growing social network, (as we have joined Instagram this year.)  

We are also super grateful to the new retailers and new stockists we have acquired internationally; who have given artists around the world a chance to try Ampersand panels for the first time.  

Lastly, we are honored to have so many talented and amazing artists using our products and we are thankful for your support, your emails, and your images of your artwork. 

Keep creating and keep sending images to us in 2016.

Warm Regards from all of us at Ampersand


Friday, December 18, 2015

The Artist Panel: Primed Smooth

Mallard Ducks by Dustin Dattilio in acrylic and airbrush
Our Artist Panel series was created with affordability and ease in mind.  But, some artists are driven to use Artist Panel for it's unique benefits.  There are three distinct panels in this series, all of which are different from our Museum Series of panels, adding opportunities for artists who need something a bit different.
River Trees by Andrea Pramuk in mixed media

The Artist Panel comes in Primed Smooth, Canvas Texture and Unprimed varieties.  I want to highlight the Primed Smooth panel because of its perfectly prepared edges, something not available in any other panel we make. It is a great surface for wrapping a work around the edges in lieu of framing.


The panels themselves are made from sustainable MDF, medium density fiberboard, and the cradles are made from solid pine, and available in both 7/8" and 1 1/2" depths. The panel is also available in an 1/8" flat design, too.  This Primed Smooth panel is completely ready for taking on art, prepared on the surface and all of the edges with an acid-free acrylic gesso ground.  It's semi-absorbent surface is good for oils, acrylics and drawing as well as mounting paper, prints and canvas.  

We are always on the look out for artists using our products, so if you work on the Artist Panel, give us a shout.  You can reach us here through our blog, on Facebook, through Twitter or Pinterest and via email.  

More work to come by Artist Panel artists.

Happy 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, December 11, 2015

Featured Artist: David Gonzales

David Gonzales
David Gonzales has a long history of working with materials to create something from his observations having been reared in a close knit family of artists. Born in Germany, but raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico, David had opportunity to begin exhibiting his talent and artwork at the age of 12. He went on to receive the "Governor's Award" at the age of 17, displaying his work at the Nation's Capital in Washington, D.C.  Shortly thereafter, he received a full scholarship to attend the San Antonio Art Institute.
David Gonzales

As a multi-media artist with a rich Native American and Hispanic cultural history, David's work includes pieces of his heritage, the world around him, and the stories unfolding before him.  The viewer, although looking at a two dimensional piece, gets to catch a full event through the motion, brilliance, color and design of David's work.  He shares, "I love painting the same way an athlete would move, full of motion and energy.  Life is in constant motion and it is this activity that I strive to capture in my work.  Most recently, I have been painting a lot of sports from cycling to skiing and this kind of subject matter is perfect for that athletic zest to pour into my paintings."  

David's colorful work includes a variety of media, from acrylic to pastels, and his connection with Ampersand fits perfectly into his appreciation of the environment and a multi-media surface.  David found Ampersand's panel in his quest for art materials that are better for the earth and humankind.  He was concerned about using cotton canvas, with the harmful pollution and pesticide use in the cotton industry.  "When I learned that Ampersand makes their panels here in the U.S. and from sustainable forests, I felt like I hit a gold mine," he explains.

David GonzalesDavid's work is represented by Art on a Whim in Breckinridge, CO, where he has current work exhibiting.  His work is also at Aspen Art Gallery in Denver and Aspen, CO, at Fare Bella Art Gallery in Manitou Springs, CO and at Great Southwest in Sedona, AZ.  To see all the latest news and art by David, check out his website, or follow him on Facebook.  

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.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Current Events with Ampersand Artists

Egg and Shells #7, oil on Gessobord, 9" x 24"   by Larry Preston

Self taught artist, Larry Preston is part of a group exhibition at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA.  "Small Works" will run from December 5, 2015 through January 1, 2016.  Larry works in oil on gessobord, creating detailed, stunning still lifes. 


Pramuk Estuaries
Estuary II, mixed media on Claybord, 30" x 60" by Andrea Pramuk
Ampersand's own, Andrea Pramuk, is opening an exhibition with the FW Gallery in conjunction with the Shaw Center for the Arts in Baton Rouge, LA.    Andrea's mixed media work on Claybord is a combination of luscious color and thoughtful design.  Andrea's work will hang from December 4, 2015 through February 12, 2015.  

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, December 4, 2015

Basic Tips to Getting Started with Encaustic

Encaustic is a beeswax-based painting medium that is worked with heat. Painting with encaustic is a multi-step process.  First, the paint must be melted, or liquefied.  Next, the molten paint is applied to a porous surface. Then the applied wax is reheated, or fused into, the working surface, allowing it to form a good bond.  As a final option, the cooled paint can be buffed to bring up the luster of the wax and resin.

Basic Setup Suggestions:
•  You will need a clean level counter or worktable to put a heated palette on.  When setting up your worktable take into consideration the space that your palette will occupy and give yourself extra room for additional materials, like heat gun and works in progress.
•  You will want to make sure that your work area has proper ventilation. Exhaust fans in windows, cross-ventilation, or a studio ventilation system are all good options.  It is important that you have a source of fresh air in your workspace.  Though not unpleasant to smell, wax fumes should be treated like solvent fumes.  A well-placed window fan should be adequate for a small set-up. 
•   It will be imperative that you have adequate electrical outlets available for use. Consider that you will have a palette, possibly a heat gun and/or other tools that will require electricity and it will be helpful to position your workspace accordingly.
•  Keep in mind that anytime you use heated tools/equipment it is recommended that you have a burn kit and a fire extinguisher on-hand for safety purposes.   
Tools & Equipment:
  • Heated Palette: The heated palette is an essential tool to the encaustic artist.  It provides a surface to heat and mix encaustic paint and medium on. Less expensive alternatives to purchasing a custom palette include electric skillets, crock-pots or electric griddles. Regardless of the palette you select, it is important that it be equipped with temperature controls. 
  • Palette Surface Thermometer:  It is crucial to be able to monitor the surface temperature of your palette.  A surface thermometer can easily assist you in monitoring the temperature of your palette (the safe working temperature for encaustic paint ranges from 180-200°F). 
  • Fusing Tools:  As you apply layers of paint to your support you will want to fuse (or re-heat) each layer to ensure that it is adhered to your ground or substrate.  It is important to fuse between layers to prevent them from separating.  There are two methods for fusing; either indirect (heat gun, torches, light bulbs, or sunlight) or direct (tacking irons, spatulas, heated brushes, plaster tools, palette and paint knives, etc.) 
  • Brushes:  Use natural bristle brushes only;  synthetic brushes can burn and melt on the palette.
  • Mark Making Tools:  Any type of mark-making tool will work with encaustic paint.  We recommend etching, wood carving dental, sculpture, and clay working tools.
  • Supports: For best results, encaustic should be painted on a rigid, absorbent, and heat resistant surface.  Examples include: wood (maple or birch plywood), heavy watercolor or printmaking paper glued to board, or raw canvas glued to board (avoid pre-gessoed canvas boards).  Three-dimensional or sculptural work that is porous and rigid can also be used. Plaster, stone, wood, terra cotta, or cast paper are all acceptable surfaces to work on. (We here at Ampersand recommend Encausticbord as the best option as it is designed specifically for encaustic painting.)
  • Soy or Paraffin Wax:  There are two options for clean-up, either Soy or Paraffin wax.  We recommend using soy wax for clean-up because soybeans are a renewable resource, while paraffin is a petroleum based product.  An additional benefit to using soy wax is that it can be washed off with soap and water leaving brushes supple.
  • Palette Cups:  Great for keeping melted waxes separate on your palette.  R&F carries heavy aluminum and steel alloy rectangular palette cups in two sizes (sm/lg) to fit 40 ml and 104 ml cakes. 
  • Encaustic Paints: There really is no general recommendation for a starter palette of colors, since different artists have individual preferences, but we recommend that you choose a good balance of opaque and transparent colors.  Try starting with a red, yellow and blue, and build from there. 
For more information about Getting Started in Encaustic, check out the Encaustic Resource Center on R+F Handmade Paints website: www.rfpaints.com/resources/encaustic

This post taken from content on the R+F Handmade Paints website.

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

Friday, November 20, 2015

Featured Gallery Artist: Steven Roswick


October 1897 #1, 24" x 24",
oil stick and collaged fragments of New York Herald from Oct 1, 1897 on Claybord

Steven Roswick takes mixed media to a whole new level by introducing truly vintage newspapers into his work, and he credits his past work at the United Nations in directing the cultural influences of his work. 

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, November 13, 2015

The Versatility of Claybord™

Claybord™ is our most versatile board, in fact, the creation of Claybord is how Ampersand got its start.

Louise LeBourgeois
The Far Away #539, 30" x 60", oil on Claybord, 2015 by Louise LeBourgeois
Claybord's highly absorbent surface is created from kaolin clay; a velvety smooth coating that is similar to traditional egg tempera panels.  The surface is so ultra smooth that it is ideal for mounting work on paper, canvas, photography, or fabric.  This panel is beautiful for working in graphite, charcoal, and subtractive work like scratching, but it also is perfect for inks, acrylics, gouache, casein, airbrush, egg tempera and even oils, like the work of Louise LeBourgeoisClaybord is exceptionally forgiving, it accepts our brilliant inks with ease, but allows for "erasure" with our oil-free steel wool.  

Claybord comes in 1/8", 3/4" cradle, 1 1/2" cradle and 2" cradled edges, and in a huge variety of sizes from 5" squares to 48" panels.  

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, November 6, 2015

Featured Gallery Artist: Karen Gaudette


Gaudette
Curious Companions, 24" x 16", Scratchbord, 2015

Karen Gaudette, a full time middle school art teacher and scratchboard artist is currently finishing up a thoughtful, mystical series, Wishing for the Moon, that will debut at the Brattleboro Museum in Vermont next year. The series of 14 pieces has yet to be fully revealed, but you can catch a glimpse of the work on Karen's KickStarter Project.  

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 30, 2015

Current Events with Ampersand Artists


Zion National Park Plein Air Invitational is starting next week on November 2 -8 in Springdale, UT with painting demonstrations, lectures, and a silent auction.  Our artist friend, Earnest Ward will be speaking as the Artist in Residence at Zion National Park.  Earnest is also giving a free Sketchbook Journaling workshop tomorrow, Oct 30th with all materials provided, registration at the Zion National Park visitor's center.  
Colored Pencils

Also opening next week on November 6th is the Wildlife Art Exhibition in Singapore:  Mandala Fine Art gallery organises Asia's largest wildlife art exhibition, focusing on conservation with 36 international artists from 15 countries. World renowned wildlife master painters exhibit their beautiful paintings, drawings, sculptures for the first time in the history in Singapore, including artist Cathy Weiss, featured on our blog recently.

The new Strokes of Genius 7 by North Light is out, featuring work by Master Scratchbord artist, Lorna Hannett.  Lorna's work, Colored Pencils is in the book on page 83.  

And, we are on Instagram.  Come follow us there and tag us so we can see your work and share it!

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 23, 2015

Featured Gallery Artist: Ilayda Gülden

Ilayda Gulden
Untitled, chalk pastel pencil on Pastelbord, 24 x 30 cm
This beautiful portraiture was created by 16 year old, Ilayda Gülden from Germany, who works on her art in her free time when not in school.  She is completely self taught and uses a variety of media in her work, including chalk pencils on Pastelbord and watercolors and and pastel on Aquabord.  You can find her online and join her following on Instagram or Facebook.

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 16, 2015

Featured Artist: Cathy Weiss

"This oil painting, "Chobe Elephant", on Gessobord, was my first with this media. I chose to work on a smooth board as opposed to linen for easier, smoother detail. It has worked out quite well and is now my preferred surface. After deciding on the composition and size in Photoshop, I draw directly on the board using an HB pencil. The drawing is sealed with a thin coat of acrylic, picking up a basic ground color of the subject. Then, I am ready to start with many layers of oils to complete the painting." ~Cathy Weiss


Chobe Elephant, 24" x 36", oil on Gessobord
Washington artist, Cathy Weiss completed her formal training at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA and went on to have a full career in Los Angelas as an illustrator and designer.  After years of creative work and raising a family, Cathy went on to find more meaningful work in her own wildlife painting.  Below is Cathy's detailed and thoughtful process in using Gessobord for her work.

The Roller's Cry, 24" x 12", oil on Gessbord
"I found Ampersand Gessobord™ on the Dick Blick art supply website. After seeing other artists using this medium I thought I would give it a try, as I was looking for a smoother surface than the linen canvas I was currently using. After my first painting on Gessobord I have not gone back to canvas. I much prefer the detail I can achieve on this smooth surface. I transfer my graphite drawing onto 1/8" Gessobord, and then fix the graphite with a thin layer of acrylic paint using a midtone of the painting color. I then proceed to paint at least 4 layers of oils to achieve the completed piece using Grumbacher Alkyd Painting Medium mixed with Winsor and Newton Artists' Oil Colours.  

I am so pleased with the results of this surface as it takes the oils consistently letting me paint wet into wet if I need to blend colors or create soft edges. Drying time is consistent, too. Likewise, if I need a crisp edge I can achieve this easily. Whether these panels are kept flat or framed, I have never had a warping problem even at 24"x36". I prefer this thin board as I can use almost any frame because the rabbit required is so small. Also, if I want the size adjusted, I have my carpenter cut the panels."

Cathy has a show in Singapore from November 6-15 presented by Mandala Wildlife Arts with 36 international artists showing over 200 works; Cathy has three pieces in the exhibit.  To keep up with Cathy, you can find her blog, more of her work and process on her website: www.cathyweissfineart.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 9, 2015

Five Ways to work on Hardbord™

John Mercado
Landscape Series by John Mercado, 6" x 6"
There are numerous ways to use our boards that are unprimed.  Our museum grade unprimed panel is Hardbord™, a beautifully smooth surface finished with our without cradled edges.  For artists that want the satisfaction of finishing their own panels and the affordability of getting museum quality surfaces that are unfinished, then Hardbord is the best choice.  

Below are some of our favorite ways to work on Hardbord, but by all means there are many more.  Hardbord can be prepped to work with almost any medium, more resources on Hardbord here including instructions on sealing and priming.  If you're concerned about making the right choice for a panel and preparing it correctly, just give us a buzz or an email.

1.  Mixed Media-- Mixed media does extremely well on Hardbord; like the collage work of John Mercado, a Texas artist who recently exhibited with GenerousArt.org and is exhibiting later this month in Galveston, TX.  He seals the board first with Gamblin PVA size before applying pages from recycled books and painting and drawing.  


2.  Acrylic-- Acrylic is so versatile as a medium and plays well with other media that it can be used easily on several of our boards, (Gessobord, Pastelbord, Claybord, Aquabord), with no prep whatsoever.  However, if you'd like to work on Hardbord, we recommend at least sealing and priming for a more stable surface.  

Scott Gellatly
work by Scott Gellatly
3.  Oil-- With a little preparation, Hardbord is easy to seal and prime to accept oil paints, like the work of artist and technical director at Gamblin, Scott Gellatly. Or Hardbord takes well to the pressure of oi
l sticks, like some of the work of Aida Schneider.

4.  Mounting paper or canvas-- Hardbord works well as a panel to mount paper, fabric or canvas with art already created or before painting.  It can be sealed and primed if needed, or just sealed before attaching work.  

5.  Encaustic-- Hardbord is not quite absorbent enough to hold encaustic on its own; for solid adhesion, we recommend a sealer and then a coating of R+F Encaustic Ground.  

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 2, 2015

Featured Gallery Artist: Scott Daryn Tillett



Scott Daryn Tillett
Out of the Blue, 16" x 20", oil on Gessobord, 2014

Scott Daryn Tillett says he was born an artist, and it shows in his paintings that he has been practicing and honing his skills for decades.  Scott is a proficient representational artist, working in colored pencil, pastel and oils.  He is also active online so you can see more of his work at The Artistic Visions of Scott Daryn Tillett.


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, September 25, 2015

Featured Artist: Dawn Emerson

EmersonNightOwl
Night Owl, 12" x 24", mixed media on Claybord
Emerson Owl
She Calls, mixed media on Claybord
Oregon artist, Dawn Emerson has been working in soft pastel for over 20 years, perfecting her technique and showcasing the beauty of her environment while gaining international recognition as both artist and instructor.  Below is her experience discovering Claybord.

"In the printmaking studio I belong to in Bend, Oregon, a lot of people were raving about the amazing surface of Claybord™.

As printmakers and painters, they were carving into the surface, using all kinds of media, and loving the fact that they could hang the cradled piece without a frame. Primarily a pastelist, I have been exploring mixed media, including monotypes, collography, and engraving for the past 8 years. I finally ordered a few 12x12 cradled Claybords about 2 years ago, when I was preparing for a one person show of horses to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Horse.
At first I couldn't get pencil to work, nor color pencil, and I started throwing stuff on the surface in desperation. I washed all the stuff off, and noticed the surface was softer. I put sumi ink on it, and started scratching it off with a razor blade, then steel wool, and other tools. I loved the feeling of scratchboard I was getting, but unlike scratchboard, I could get grey tones, and marks left from the tools I was using. In order to get color with the black and white, I started using liquid water color and oil pastel.

Like most artists, I've had oil pastels hanging around forever, but couldn't find a use for them or a surface to paint on that made sense. I wanted to see if they'd work on the Claybord, and decided to take off the wrappers and use them on the side. I am primarily a soft pastelist, and using pastels on the side is the way I always have worked. The result was exciting-- the oil pastel layered just like my soft pastels on paper! I used Sennelier's oil pastel fixative for oil pastels, and was delighted with the textural effect.
Emersonhorse
On Alert, mixed media on Claybord
I did about 20 pieces, mainly horses. This was the most affordable show for me because I didn't frame them, and the gallery was delighted with the coherent look of the show, and with the sales. Since then, I have incorporated ink, oil pastel, soft pastel, water color, pencil, and collage into the pieces, and continue to discover new ways to use the Claybord. The surface encourages me to create tools to make marks that will convey movement  in fascinating new ways." ~ Dawn Emerson


EmersonHorses
Romp before Dusk, 12" x 12", ink on Claybord
The raven above, She Calls, was accepted into the 2015 Birds on Art Show at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wasau, WI through November 29th and will go on national tour.  You can also find out more about Dawn's upcoming workshops for this fall and next spring on her website, along with learning about exhibitions and seeing more of her current work.  www.dawnemerson.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.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Acrylic Image Transfers on Panel

Mixed media and collage work continue to push the boundaries of art, and experimentation is endless in this genre.  One of the more popular methods of utilizing imagery is by an image transfer, from either a photocopy or print.  There are several methods of doing such and most of them have been tried and tested by our friends at Golden Artist Colors.  

One of the easier and quicker methods of transferring is through a direct image transfer onto the substrate using an acrylic medium or gel.  Since Ampersand panels are smooth and flat, prints go on easily.  

Simply copy the image on a Xerox machine or through a laser printer.  Brush on a thin layer of the chosen gel or medium and press the image face down into the medium.  Place a layer of HDPE plastic over the image to prevent tearing.  Burnish the print evenly with a plastic scraper and wait a minute or two.  Begin removing the top layer of paper to check if the image has transferred.  Remove the rest of the paper with a fingertip and a bit of water by rubbing gently.  If needed, allow the image to sit a while longer and remove the rest of the paper when the image area has dried more.  The video below will show the process in detail, with instruction from Mike Townsend, a Golden Materials Applications Specialist and artist.

There are more methods of image transfer on the Golden website with acrylic products.  If you have a technique you'd like to share, comment here on our blog or join us on Facebook.



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, September 4, 2015

Featured Gallery Artist: Sheryl Unwin


Striped Beauty, Scratchbord
A Massachusetts native, Sheryl Unwin studied at the Art Institute of Boston and has been an illustrator for over 20 years.  Now residing in Florida, she creates stunning works mostly from wildlife and sometimes portraiture.  You can find more of her work and purchase prints through her website:  sheryl-unwin.fineartamerica.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, August 28, 2015

Encaustic Wax

Beeswax
Where does Encaustic Wax come from and how is it standardized for artist use?

Beeswax is secreted by wax glands in the bee’s abdominal area and used to create the honeycombs of the hive. Pure beeswax is composed solely of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Its natural color when it is secreted is white. When beeswax is harvested from the hive it is often contaminated with impurities, which discolor it. At this stage it is called unrefined or crude beeswax. Unrefined or crude beeswax is colored in a range of earthy hues from yellow to black. This coloration is caused by pollen, propolis (resin), and dirt. If you use unrefined wax for its color, it is important not to assume that the color is permanent because the color is organic matter, which is not necessarily stable in light and is subject to fading, darkening, or a color shift.  

These are reasons why you would most likely want to use decolorized, white beeswax for encaustic. You may wonder how does the wax get whitened? Artist manufacturers avoid the term ”bleached beeswax” because it implies the use of chemical bleaches. But the wax industry uses the term for the mechanical as well as the chemical methods of decolorizing beeswax. 

Chemical bleaching is not the best choice for artists for two reasons. For one, chemical bleaching (which uses either potassium permangenate & phosphoric acid or sulfuric acid or various peroxides) does not always mean removing the colorant. In many cases it simply masks it. It is often used to whiten colorants that non-chemical bleaching can’t, but these colorants can later return to their original color. Furthermore, chemical bleaching can be harsh on the wax, creating free fatty acids and making the wax more reactive to pigments and pollutants. 
R&F Handmade Paints

Sun bleaching exposes the wax to the ultraviolet light of the sun, which breaks down the colorants. This is a gentle and effective method of decolorizing the wax. The process, however, is expensive on an industrial scale because it requires so much space, but it is also the most accessible method for artists who want to bleach their own wax on a small scale. 

Filtration is a process in which the wax is forced under high pressure through filters of activated carbon and clay that absorb the colorants and take out all foreign matter. Filtration is preferable to chemical bleaching because it maintains the structural integrity of the wax. It is also, in the long run, the least expensive and the most practical of the three methods. It is the best choice for artist material.

Pharmaceutical grade beeswax is a standard set by the government that certifies that the wax meets certain chemical requirements and that it is pure beeswax. The chemical standards (such as its ability to be saponified) are of importance to the cosmetic and pharmaceutical use of beeswax. For the artist, the real importance of pharmaceutical grade beeswax is that it is a guarantee that the beeswax has not been adulterated with other waxes (such as paraffin or microcrystalline), rosins, stearic acid, or tallow. However, the term pharmaceutical grade does not refer to the method by which it has been decolorized. Artists should seek out wax that is both guaranteed 100% beeswax and filtered or sun bleached. 

And, in case you’re wondering, R&F uses only pharmaceutical grade filtered beeswax.

Taken from the Encaustic Resource Center and written by R&F Handmade Paints.

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

Friday, August 21, 2015

Featured Gallery Artist: Angel Domingo Fernandez

Angelo Fernandez
Centerhill Morning, 24" x 36", acrylic on panel

Tennessee artist Angelo Fernandez is a self taught artist with a lifetime of experience in all types of media.  He is a member of the Portrait Society of America and writer for their Literary Committee along with being a full time artist.  Angelo chooses his media for a work based on the subject matter and his vision, as in Centerhill Morning.  "This is a painting of the cool, placid tranquility experienced at dawn on Centerhill Lake, Tennessee. The acrylic medium allowed the textured expression, color, and beauty of the layered rocks along the shoreline," he explains.

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, August 14, 2015

Featured Video: Priming on Hardbord™

Now that you have your Hardbord™ or Artist Panel Unprimed sealed completely, you are ready for priming.  Whether you choose to use an oil based primer or a water based primer is up to you, and we have directions on both on our website.  

One of the advantages to acrylic primer or acrylic gesso is a quicker drying time, and a primer that easily accepts any type of paint or mixed media on top.  Below, I have outlined the steps for priming a sealed cradled Hardbord panel in this quick video using Golden Artist Colors Acrylic Gesso.  Enjoy and feel free to ask any questions in the comments here or on our YouTube channel.





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.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Featured Video: Sealing Hardbord

One of our biggest questions here at Ampersand Art Supply is how to properly seal and prime a panel to accept paint.  This information is detailed on our website, but now you can also watch this video which outlines and demonstrates the process of sealing a panel.  In upcoming videos, I'll share how to prime with either an acrylic ground or oil based ground.

We recommend using GAC 100 to seal wood or Hardbord panels.  In the video below, I demonstrate how easy it is to use the product and protect and prolong the life of the artwork.    After properly sealing a panel, it is ready to accept priming.




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 31, 2015

Current Events: Diana Lee

One of our Scratchbord artist friends, Diana Lee, has a lot going on this year.  Having just closed an annual exhibition with the Silicon Valley Women's Caucus for Art, Diana's full year is just getting going.

Currently, Diana's work is hanging in the O'Hanlon Center for the Arts, featuring the Bay Area Women Artists in a juried exhibition running through August 20th.  The opening reception is on August 4th along with a roundtable discussion of the participating artists on their creative process.


Diana Lee
Camellias Reflecting
Diana also had work in the annual International Society for Scratchbord Artists exhibition, where she was honored with the People's Choice Award with her work Camellias Reflecting.

This coming October, Diana will open her home studio give viewers a chance to see her art in person. This year during the Art Trails weekends, October 10/11 and October 17/18, there will be a sale wall where some of her work will be more affordably priced.  To keep up with everything that Diana is working on, follow her Facebook page or tune in 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.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Featured Gallery Artist: José M. Fontaiña


Out of the Blue, acrylic on Gessobord
Jose is an internationally reknowned artist, born in Spain and partially raised in the U.S.  He exhibits internationally and more of his beautiful work can be found on his website:  josefontaina.webs.com

"My paintings are a true reflection of myself and I enjoy the wonderful freedom that originality provides,” says Fontaiña. I describe my work as being a good Caldo Gallego, a delicious Galician soup made by mixing together many vegetables and meats. Instead of using cooking ingredients, I use the elements of art. Creating art is my full time job. I am obsessed with it, but it is a healthy and rewarding obsession. Each blank surface is a painting with a new beginning, an intriguing puzzle that must be solved, and a wonderful means for discovering myself in a way of life that I love to live.”    ~José Fontaiña   

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 24, 2015

Featured Artist: Leslie Neumann


"Good materials are crucial for good art - not only for the in-the-moment experience, but also for the legacy of the work.  Much of my work has been collected by museums and corporations and residential clients, and so I feel good that I use the best of everything.  I am a very loyal customer of R & F Handmade Paints, the pioneer in encaustics and oil pigment sticks, and now a partner with Ampersand Panels for their Encausticbord." ~Leslie Neumann
photography by George Blanchette
Florida artist Leslie Neumann, knew as a young child she was an artist, remembering drawing when she was two and three. During her freshmen college year, in the midst of family tragedy when she lost her only sibling in an automobile accident, she found herself committing to fine art full time.    Reinventing herself, she transferred to the California College of Art to receive her BFA and later moved to NYU for her MFA.  After years of living and teaching in New York, St. John's University in Queens, Leslie moved to the Gulf of Mexico in Florida to work full time as a painter and active environmentalist.

Installation at Firebirds, photo by Nancy Rankin
Leslie's love of landscape came with her move to Florida.  The figurative work faded away as the lush Florida vegetation and native bold colors caught her attention.  "I never gave myself permission to distort the figure- as did Francis Bacon or Willem DeKooning or Pablo Picasso, although they were my favorites, but I have no problem painting the landscape on my own terms.  While my landscapes are representative to a degree, they are quite abstract.  Paint is always the first and foremost consideration, not depicting something accurately," Leslie explains.  "In the last decade, I have added a cosmic dimension to my landscape-esque work.  It seems natural to me to be thoroughly immersed in the hot, primitive wetlands- and then to drift effortlessly up into the nether regions of space, where we are released from time and gravity."

Leslie began her journey as an oil painter, but found that her large impasto passages took years to dry.  In 1989 a friend gave her "some wax" to try and she never looked back.  The combination of the oils and wax gives her the impasto she likes along with the atmospheric and diaphanous look of the oil sticks.  She explains further, "I also love how you simply cannot predict what will happen with wax.  You put it down, but then when you heat it up to bond it to the surface of your substrate - anything can- and does happen.  You must be fully present when you work with wax, not just for the fire and safety aspect, but because you're making seat-of-the-pants decisions second by second.  I love the surprises.  I swear that half of what I end up with is a gift that comes from the materials!"
photography by George Blanchette

Besides the numerous corporate and private collections around the country, Leslie's work can be found in Firebird restaurants around the country as she was commissioned from the national chain's opening to create original work for each location.  You can also find Leslie online at her website, to see more of her collection and videos of her philosophy.

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 17, 2015

Featured Gallery Artist: Cheryl Williams


Cheryl Williams
Oregon Coast, 24" x 36", 2014, acrylic on Claybord

Cheryl Williams' work is in residential and corporate collections around the world.  Besides painting abstract landscapes and contemporary works in acrylic, she sculpts and creates Prosperity Bowls.  

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.