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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.