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Friday, July 15, 2016

Karyn's Last Blog Post


To all the amazing artists that use and support Ampersand, 

It has been a wonderful part of my journey to spend time here with you on the blog, on Facebook, on Youtube, Twitter and Pinterest over the past several years.  This has been the most thoughtful, passionate and skilled audience I have ever met online, and I will miss talking with you regularly.  It is time for me to move along to other art ventures of my own, and I thank you so much for joining me here online with Ampersand.

Ampersand's online presence is growing and expanding and you will likely see more blogging, more articles, more videos and more employees on the social networks.  I will be watching from a distance and working on my own paintings as well as moving into some new projects.  If you want to keep up with me, you can still find me in the Ampersand Facebook Group, on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thank you for reading,
Karyn Meyer-Berthel 

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

Friday, July 8, 2016

Getting Started with Aquabord™

Sand, Water and Meg, watercolor on Aquabord by Phillip R. Austen
When using watercolor, you have a couple of choices with Ampersand's panels.  If you are a traditional watercolorist or gouache painter who uses very wet washes, try Aquabord. It behaves more like cold press watercolor paper and is more absorbent than Claybord. However, if you're familiar working with watercolors or gouache on hot press paper to achieve high level detail, you may find working with Claybord very exciting. Our "product selection guide" is also a good resource for choosing the right panel.


Watercolors and gouache, when used on Aquabord, are richer and more vibrant than when used on paper. Aquabord is also very forgiving. If you make a mistake - just wash it off! This museum quality panel has a soft, absorbent, mineral coating with a unique granular texture. 

You may notice small "pin-like" protrusions once you lay down your washes and you may also see tiny bubbles forming on the surface. This is normal. We recommend “flushing out” Aquabord before beginning your painting by simply applying an even wash of water with a large brush over the entire surface. Let the air escape. Once the board is back to a damp stage, you can begin working on it. Beginning with this method will result in a more even wash. The sponge-like granules absorb the water and pigment allowing incredible control over color and washes. The surface's clay-base holds colors in suspension, allowing them to flow into each other to create seamless washes when the board is wet or dry. The surface is pH neutral and acid free; and, when sealed, it will last forever.

To create natural looking highlights and bring the light back into your painting, use a wet sponge, cotton swabs, white erasers or a clean brush to lift and remove colors with ease. Paint as heavily as desired because Aquabord won't warp, crack, or bend like paper when using heavy paint applications. Don't worry about lint residue, torn paper, or using masking fluid because Aquabord is very forgiving and durable and will hold up to repeated wetting and scraping. You can even add fine lines and details with a scratch knife or other Claybord Tools which will bring back the white of the board. 

When finished, seal Aquabord™ with a finishing spray and free your painting from the additional weight and glare caused when framing behind glass.  Seal watercolors or gouache with several light coats of spray varnish (or fixative), being careful to spray outdoors during warmer months or in a well ventilated and heated area during colder times of the year. We recommend the Krylon® UV Archival varnishes. These spray varnishes offer advanced non-yellowing protection against fading, dirt, moisture and discoloration. The Krylon® UV Archival varnishes contain superior levels of UV light absorbers and are removable for conservation purposes. For additional protection against scratches during transport and also ultraviolet light, follow the application of Krylon® spray varnish with Golden® Polymer UVLS varnish. About 4 coats brushed-on, provides a very durable archival finish and is also removable for conservation purposes.

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, June 21, 2016

Honoring Scratchboard Artist Diana Lee

Tiny Feet

Diana Lee, internationally known scratchboard artist and dear friend to Ampersand passed last Wednesday evening.  She was surrounded by family and passed peacefully after a long struggle with many ailments, according to her adoring husband, Steve Bockman.  

We are deeply thankful for the time we have had to get to know Diana and her work, to see her passion for Scratchbord™, and to witness her involvement in teaching and the International Society of Scratchboard Artists.  She raised the bar for scratch art and brought so much attention to the medium.  Her body of work is a testament to her great skill and stamina in pursuit of creating some of the most beautiful imagery and story through her art.

We wish much peace to Steve and family and send our deepest sympathy to the scratchboard family.


Tiny Dancer


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Current Events with Scratchbord™ Artists


Saltie, 8"x 10" work by John Agnew
Crocodile Scratchboards opened last fall on tour by notable animal artist, John Agnew and curated by David Wagner. It is currently at the Sternberg Museum in Hays, KS  and will be on display through August 31, 2016.  Thirty works created altogether, with 20 Scratchbord works, all on Ampersand Scratchbord™ panels, and ten preliminary sketches and paintings. John is a current member of the International Society of Scratchboard Artists and particularly enjoys crocodilian subject matter although he has traveled worldwide to capture all varieties of animals not only in scratch art but also in painting.  John keeps his website current with a beautiful display of his work:  http://www.johnnagnew.com

For those that are new to our blog, to Ampersand, or to Scratchbord™, there is a wonderful group of artists in the International Society of Scratchboard Artists.  This international group began from a WetCanvas! forum and has brought much attention and education to the world of scratch art as well as a mutually beneficial relationship with Ampersand.  We are proud sponsors and supporters of their annual exhibition and convention with several workshops and a juried show.  Next year's convention is tentatively scheduled for Australia.  The past exhibition finished in April this year in Tucson, Arizona by you can view the exhibition online.  Associate membership is open to anyone interested in Scratch art, and Active membership is open to those interested in exhibitions.  Details of membership, events, workshops and the society can all be found through their website:  http://www.scratchboardsociety.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.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Scratchbord™ Basics

Scratchbord flat panel by Ampersand Art Supply Ampersand Scratchbord™ has a smooth, absorbent kaolin clay ground evenly coated with black India ink. Scratch the black ink away with ease and control to crisp white fluid lines. 

Backed with Ampersand’s true artist hardboard, Scratchbord will not tear, crack or bend like other paper scratchboards and can be sealed with spray fixative to eliminate fingerprints for perfect glass-free presentation. 

Tips for Using Scratchbord™ 
  • Start by drawing your subject matter directly on the Scratchbord™ surface with pastels, plain white chalk or graphite pencil. 
  • You can also transfer a completed drawing by chalking the back and tracing over the main lines with a pen or pencil or by using graphite transfer paper. 
  • To begin, scratch out all the lines from your drawing on the Scratchbord. Next, scratch in directional lines to show volume. Following the directional lines and repeating them to fill in, start sculpting out the shapes. Go over areas several times that need to be the most highlighted. 
  • When the drawing is completed, clean off any scratched clay-ink debris and chalk dust with a very soft cloth.  

Adding Vibrant Color
  • To add color, use Scratchbord-Claybord™ Inks that are both waterproof and transparent. 
  • For best results, build up the color in diluted washes following the directional lines in the drawing. Other brands of ink can leave heavy residue on the black surface and can be difficult to scratch if not quickly wiped off. 
  • For final touch up, apply Ampersand Black Repair ink around the edges of the subject matter to cover any left over residue and over-painting. Once all the color is in, go back and scratch out the highlights. 
  • If you make a mistake, you can repair it. Although the repaired surface won’t be completely the same as the surface you began with, there are a couple of ways to repair areas that need to be changed. For best results, use Ampersand Black Repair ink or Sumi India ink diluted 1/2 with water and gently apply with a cotton swab or small brush over the area to be repaired. Repeat thin applications until the area is completely covered. An airbrush can also be used for larger areas. 

Seal Scratchbord™ 

    Scratchbord Tools & Accessories
  • Use an acrylic spray fixative like Krylon® UV Resistant Clear Coating #1309 (Matte) or #1305 (Gloss). It will dissolve fingerprints and even out smudges while also protecting the surface from dirt and water. 
  • First, remove all loose dust and debris from the surface with a soft brush or cloth being careful not to scuff the surface. 
  • Spray with 2 -3 coats of fixative (as directed on the can) in low humidity, warmer temperatures and in a well-ventilated area. 

Step By Step Sally Maxwell's Demonstration
Scratchbord Tools & Accessories
Coloring Scratchbord with Ampersand Inks
Ampersand's Scratchbord Videos
International Society of Scratchbord Artists
WetCanvas! Scratchbord Forum

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, May 26, 2016

Featured Artist: Lynnette Shelley

Nightlight, "11 x 14", ink and acrylic on Aquabord

Pennsylvania artist, Lynnette Shelley's unusual and culturally charged artwork has won numerous awards and found its way into collections across the world.  Her mixed media pieces are a conglomeration of her drawing passion and the collection of interests she has pulled from Celtic art, wildlife, archetypal symbology and art nouveau.  Lynnette explains, "I've been fascinated by artwork from native cultures from all around the world, and also by the folklore and mythology from those cultures. This was natural as when I was a child, Greek mythology and fairytales were some of my favorite reading material. So, my current style is an amalgam of things I have picked up over the years as well as my love for patterns and stylized shapes. These sort of all meld into the pictures I am creating now."

Scolding Bird and Horse, 18" x 24", ink, acrylic
and Pysanky eggshell mosaic on Aquabord
Lynnette's drawing has been the primary focus of her work, guiding her to mixed media and to find Aquabord™, a toothy surface that grabs her drawing utensils. "I originally worked on paper and illustration board since I am heavily into drawing. However, as I developed my background splash techniques, I needed a sturdier surface and one that could absorb water well. I also wanted to be able to eliminate glass framing from the finished process as I did not want a barrier between the viewer and the artwork, not to mention the expense of custom glass frames. Doing some research online, I came across Ampersand's Aquabords. These seemed to be the perfect solution for what I wanted to do. I picked some up several years ago and they have been a game changer in my artwork practice. I would say at this point 85 percent of my artworks are on Ampersand Panels. Usually Aquabord, though I have also used Gessobord and Hardbord as of late," she shares.  Lynnette works with ink, acrylic and sometimes unique materials like Pysanky eggshells.  Her subjects, passions and media come together as a story all in one striking piece.

El Pulpo, 12" x 12", ink and acrylic on Gessobord
This coming July, Lynnette will be part of a Philadelphia exhibit, DNC Donkeys Around Town, featuring 28 artists who have painted 57 life-size fiberglass donkeys, representing the fifty states, six U.S. territories and Washington, D.C. The exhibit, for the Democratic National Convention, will be displayed around Philadelphia at popular tourist spots and Lynnette will be featuring Missouri and Oklahoma for her two donkeys.  However, if you would like to see Lynnette's work on panels, or purchase her work, you can find her in numerous places.
Lynnette regularly exhibits her work and is represented by (and co-curates) at the JAM Gallery in Malvern, PA and also by Mala Galleria in Kennett Square, PA.  You can keep up with her current work on our Facebook Group where she posts frequently, or you can find her full exhibition schedule on her website:  lynnetteshelley.com/art-shows

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, May 21, 2016

Current Events with Encaustics & Ampersand Artists

There is always a lot going on with exhibitions, workshops, book releases and awards with our followers and Ampersand artists.  This month, encaustic artists, Bonny Leibowitz and Elise Wagner both have great happenings in their regions.

Announcing a new 2 day workshop with T.E. Siewert at The Encaustic Center in Richardson, TX. The workshop, Cold Wax and Oil Expressions: "Exercising your Artistic Voice" will run August 27th and 28th many of the materials supplied,  including Ampersand Gessobord™.  This is an exploratory class to demonstrate and allow students to engage cold wax medium with oil paint.  The instructor will demonstrate various techniques and work individually with each student to develop color palette and basic compositions.  For more information, the details are coming to The Encaustic Center website.


Elise Wagner "Genesis"
work from Elise Wagner's "Genesis" exhibition
Portland Artist, Elise Wagner has a solo exhibit, "Genesis" running now through May 28th at the Butters Gallery in Portland, Oregon.  She uses encaustic painting and a unique printing process called "encaustic collagraph" to create her complex, layered artwork.  

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, May 13, 2016

Encaustic Resources: Tips on Beginning with Encaustic Paint

The first step to painting with encaustic is melting the paint. At room temperature encaustic paint is a solid. When heated it becomes a workable liquid.  In this liquid state it can be applied to the surface with brushes, but you can also get paint on the surface by pouring, dipping or using heated tools.  

Here are some basic tips for painting with encaustic: 

  • Make sure your temperature is between 180-200°F and you have your surface thermometer on your palette. 
  • Select the colors you will be using and decide if you want to melt paint directly on your palette or in palette cups. 
  • Decide which brushes you would like to use and arrange them on or next to your palette. You will notice that it is necessary to keep your brushes warm so that they remain soft and ready to use; pausing with your brush will cool and harden the paint.  The types of brushes you use will affect the way you apply the paint to the surface; a soft hake brush will leave almost no brushstrokes while a bristle brush will. 
  • If you apply warm paint to a warm panel the paint will flow more readily onto the board, while if you apply warm paint to a cool panel the paint will cool quickly and create texture. 
  • It is helpful to heat your support directly on your palette or with the use of a heat gun. If you skip this step the paint will cool very quickly and you will have short brushstrokes. 
  • You can come back to a painting at any time to rework it with the addition of heat. 


This content is from the R+F Handmade Paints blog and website.  For more resources on encaustic painting,check out our Encaustic Resource Center.

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, April 29, 2016

Gessobord Basics

Jennifer Philips
Starting Point
mixed media on Gessobord by Jennifer Philips

Museum Series Gessobord™ is the most trusted pre-gessoed wood panel by artists for their work. The coating is 88% thicker than other gessoed panels on the market.
The superior quality acrylic gesso ground does not dull colors, and the wonderful lightly sanded surface provides exceptional brush control. 

Made with true high density hardboard, from US-grown and renewable Aspen wood fibers, and coated with Archiva-Seal™ technology-- the surface is acid-free, non-yellowing, and archival. Every panel is protected by our proprietary Archival-Seal™ barrier technology, the most advanced formula for sealing wood that prevents support induced discoloration. Gessobord is archival, eco-friendly and formaldehyde-free, it doesn't get better than that! 

These panels are perfect for all painting styles with oil paints, acrylics and mixed media. We build our cradles by hand with premium grade 13-ply birch plywood for maximum stability and a clean, finished look from edge to edge. The cradle can easily be painted or stained to complement the artwork or primed with gesso to wrap the image around the edges. 





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, April 22, 2016

Featured Artist: David Somers

Seattle artist, David Somers recently started using Claybord™ for his laser engraving work and has shared his process and some of his work with us.  Below are two of his recent pieces in the process.  A big thanks to David for sharing so much of his learning and process with us.  This is such an interesting and original way to take on Claybord.  


Mt. Vernon Tulips, Laser Engraved Claybord, 5" x 5" 
before color application
"Laser engraving and laser cutting is typically done with lasers that create their beam by exciting CO2 gas using a number of techniques.  The materials they work on are mostly organic materials like wood, acrylic, plastics, leather, paper, glass, and rubber. A laser works by creating a coherent beam of laser light, one in which the rays of light are all parallel to each other.  Think of of it as a cylinder of light as opposed to the spreading cone of light you get from a flashlight.   That beam gets directed around the machine with mirrors until the beam is aimed down a tube and through a lens that is much like a magnifying glass.  That lens focuses the laser beam to a tiny point which is where it has the power to affect your material by either cutting all the way through it or just engraving a certain distance into the material.

In the case of Claybord I tried engraving the surface.  I found that by varying the power and speed of the engraving I could just kiss the surface of the Claybord, removing some of the clay layer without breaking through into the tempered masonite below it, or I could break through the clay layer and expose the dark board.  By applying more power and slower speeds I could dig deeper into the board if I wanted to create more of a bas relief effect.
Mount Ranier & Lodge, Laser engraved Claybord 
with Prismacolor pens & alcohol

My process so far is to take a photograph, usually a color image, and to convert it to gray scale.  Then I run that image through any number of digital photographic filters to reduce the image to a line drawing.   The laser engraving doesn't show until the surface of the Claybord is breached to reveal the board underneath.   The result is a two tone image made up of the white clay and the darker under-layer MDF.  Lightly scoring the surface of the clay does create a faint subtle shadow depending on your lighting but that is not enough to simulate a gray scale image.  The process does create a certain amount of soot as the clay is lased away.   Once the engraving is done I have used plain water, dish soap and sometimes a mild scrubber to wash the soot off.   

Once I confirmed this process worked well I played with applying some media to the Claybord.  So far I have only tried Prismacolor pens and watercolor.  I am not an artist so these are fairly feeble attempts that someone with even modest skill in any painting media could surely improve on.  The engraving process didn't seem to affect the remaining clay layer in terms of its ability to accept a paint."


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, April 15, 2016

Encaustic Resources: Oil and Wax

Beautiful effects can be achieved when combing oil paints with encaustic.  Oil can give to encaustic greater fluidity, color diffusion, and in some techniques, precision. Encaustic gives to the oil immediate “drying” time, the muted or gloss surface effects of wax, and greater textural variety. But is this combination structurally sound? It can be, but it is important to understand the ways in which a wax paint and an oil paint are and aren’t compatible.

Chemically, oil and wax are “cousins.” If oil is stirred into melted wax, the two will readily combine. In this mixture the balance of oil with wax should be seen as a continuum. At one end of the continuum wax is added to oil to give the paint more body, but the properties and requirements of oil predominate. The paint film will still be flexible, but it will have to go through a drying phase before it sets up and becomes permanent -- in fact, the wax itself will somewhat retard the drying of the oil since it has no drying properties of its own. 


R+F Handmade Pigment Sticks

At the other end of the continuum oil is added to wax, and the properties and requirements of wax predominate. The oil, however, lowers the wax’s melting temperature and makes it less hard. Artists who make their own encaustic often do so by adding tube oils to melted wax. This dilutes the strength of the pigment, resulting in a more subdued waxy finish. As long as too much oil is not added the paint film will still be hard, and it will set up and become permanent on cooling.There is a danger, archivally, in making a mixture of oil and wax that is too close to the center of this continuum, in other words, where the amount of oil and the amount of wax are equal. At that point the binding and the adhesive properties of both wax and oil are so compromised that the film they form is very unstable, since it is not able to either dry or harden.

Our Pigment Sticks are a very good example of a wax in oil paint. Because they are in stick form, they may seem to have a lot of wax. Actually they have very little wax -- less than 15% of the stick is wax. When molten wax cools, it retains the continuity it had in its liquid state and forms a uniform structure, binding the oil within it. But this wax structure is very weak, and the instant the stick is crushed by drawing it over a surface, the wax structure breaks down and becomes absorbed into the oil. Further manipulation with fingers, knife, or brush turns the consistency into that of a buttery oil paint.

This information was pulled from the resources on the R+F Handmade Paints website.  

For more great resources about encaustic:
More Resources on Encaustics from R+F Handmade Paints 
Encaustic Workshops at R+F Handmade Paints 

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, April 7, 2016

Current Events with Ampersand Artists


Macon, GA artist Micah Goguen will be participating in the LeMoyne Chain of Parks Art Festival in Tallahassee, FL on April 16-17. He'll be demonstrating acrylic ink on Aquabord, using it as watercolor, as well as showing other work.  The event attracts over 150 artists from around the country to display and sell their works.  

Jivan Lee opened at the LewAllen Galleries in Santa Fe, NM last week.  The show has around 35 paintings, from as small as 9" x 12" to as large as 48" x 120".  Jivan works in oil on Gessobord with landscapes as his primary subject matter.  





And don't forget the Sandra Duran Wilson workshop right here at Ampersand this weekend!


There is always a lot going on with Ampersand artists including exhibitions, workshops, festivals and new art techniques.  If you have a workshop coming up or an event you'd like us to share, please reach out to us at gallery@ampersandart.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, March 26, 2016

Featured Artist: Dustin Dattilio


Rosie, 12" x 16", Gessobord

Newly graduated BFA artist, Dustin Dattilio came on our radar a few months back when he was sharing his ultra-realism paintings of fowl and other wildlife through Facebook.  Since Dustin captures the look of a high chroma photograph in his technique, I was intrigued about his method and came to find that he uses a combination of media to achieve his look. Dustin has spent endless hours perfecting his technique and turning what started as a 
college hobby into a full time career.

Dustin began college at Castleton University in Vermont with the aim to become an Athletic Trainer, but enjoyed his downtime pursuit of drawing.  In his senior year, Dustin moved fully into Graphic Design and earned a BFA.  

His natural inclination to study and work on wildlife comes from a full background of hunting and fishing, along with encouragement from his grandfather, who does animal wood carvings.  Dustin often chooses his subjects based on requests or seasonal work, as well as interesting commissions, like the recent piece, Morning Thunder, for the National Wild Turkey Federation banquet this past February.  


Morning Thunder, 16" x 20", Gessobord

Starting with airbrush to get a soft, almost blurry, background, Dustin carefully renders his subject matter in the foreground, using acrylics.  Upon discovering Gessobord™ for his work, Dustin shares that the panels give him the consistently smooth support and brilliant color he prefers.  "I use Gessobord for a couple of reasons. The first being that I've found that they seem to hold colors better than canvas. Another reason is that canvas is great, but it's also very expensive. There are so many brands out there of canvas that hold the paint different than the next, so I just stick with an affordable, dependable surface.  When it comes to mailing out and handling my paintings, I don't have to worry as much about the canvas getting a bubble or something poking through it."

Dustin can be found online quite a bit, sharing his work, his process and upcoming works for sale.  You can find him on his website or his Facebook page. Dustin also does quite a bit of wood burning work and sells prints of his work as well as the originals.  

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, March 15, 2016

Claybord™ Basics

Claybord™ is made using 1/8" true artist hardboard and features Ampersand’s amazing kaolin clay ground formula similar in paintability to the clay gesso grounds used during the Renaissance. The surface is sanded to an ultra-smooth, highly absorbent finish so your paint colors remain true and brilliant. 

This museum quality panel our most versatile panel, and it is excellent for india, pigmented and alcohol inks, egg tempera, acrylics, collage, pencil, pens, airbrush, casein, watercolor, gouache, mixed media and even oils.  It also bonds well with adhesives to mount paper and fabrics.  Work the surface by thinly applying paint or ink, then remove it, reapply it, even scratch through it to add contrast, texture and fine details. Apply paint and ink using brushes, sponges, palette knives, paper towels, airbrush, technical pens and painting tools. Claybord is also an excellent printing surface and can also be used for image transfers.

With Claybord, paints and inks can be manipulated to vary tonal value, create detail and to develop highlights and correct mistakes. Various artist tools can be used such as Ampersand scratchboard tools, hobby knives, razor blades, etching tools, sand paper, oil-free steel wool, and electric erasers. Claybord's clay coating allows for the use of sgraffito techniques to cut into the surface and re-expose the white clay ground, similar to our ink coated Scratchbord. The coating is 7 to 10 dry-mils thick allowing for multiple cut-ins or erasers. The smooth finish and the absorbency of the clay ground allows the use of an abrasive like oil-free steel wool or sand paper to remove pigment without damaging the finish. 

For more information on using Claybord:

Only Ampersand builds their cradles by hand with premium grade 13-ply birch plywood for maximum stability and a clean, finished look from edge to edge. Choose from 3/4", 1.5" and 2" Deep, all made in the USA.

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, March 8, 2016

New Products at NAMTA

We have a wonderful new product line coming soon and I'm thrilled to be sharing a preview of it with you.  If you have kept up with us on Instagram and Facebook, you'll know that we shared our new line of frames at NAMTA this past weekend. 

Our new floater frames for our panels will come out in retail stores this coming fall.  A complete solution for framing 7/8" and 1.5" cradled panels!  

The price range will be comparable to our Museum Series panels, cradled Gessobords, for example.  I will share more details as they come and keep you all posted on this awesome new addition to our product line.







All things Ampersand, 
Karyn Meyer-Berthel 
Artist & Social Media Specialist 
Ampersand Art Supply 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Featured Artist: Soña Holman

Holman
Dreaming the World
Austin artist, Soña Holman's work is as progressive in appearance and technique as her life has been, traveling around the world and gathering culture to bring into her multi-media work.  It is no surprise that her work reflects movement and high energy, and her inspiration is found in the transient environment around her.  "I like to impart a sense of movement in my work, an aliveness, giving a feeling of shifting entry and change that connects to the spiritual. I use expressive, organic form in transient, shifting environments and the energy/life force inherent in all things," she explains.


Holman
Beneath the Blue Sky
Soña's rich, colorful paintings are a combination of acrylic and venetian plaster with wood-burned drawing on our basswood panels. She has been working with our basswood panels because the smooth finish and soft grain allow her to combine her drawing and painting in a completely original way.  Soña began wood burning upon entering a drawing exhibition in Austin, and it evolved with some input from a Sandra Duran Wilson workshop into Soña's current series "Pyrographic Paintings."  She compares the wood burning drawing to "drawing in butter" on the surface of the basswood, and credits Ampersand for making panels with high archival standards.  

Holman
Free Spirit
Soña exhibits her work frequently and has several pieces now hanging through April 5th at the Austin Bergstrom International Airport in the West Airside Gallery.  You can also see most of her current work on her website and blog:  www.sonaholman.com/paintings

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, February 26, 2016

Artists Changing Tomorrow 2016

work by Ken Muezenmayer in acrylic
In 2010, ARTS (Arts for Rural Texas) launched the first ACT International Invitational Exhibition.  ACT, Artists Changing Tomorrow, has been developed to sustain and maintain the arts and bring together the people who are interested in maintaining the arts' ever important cultural contribution. ACT is a prgram designed by and supported by artists, patrons and sponsors that understand the critical need to maintain the arts. These artists and patrons work tirelessly to "pay it forward." ACT's purpose is to raise funds to sustain the arts throughout the world.  Since 2010, ACT has raised over $100,000 that has contributed to arts and cultural events for over 6000 children and adults. 

We often say the arts are a universal language, cutting through individual differences in culture, educational background, and ability. The contributing membership of ACT truly believes this. Learning through the arts not only results in the creation of beautiful works, but contributes to greater academic achievement, higher test scores, and the creative thought that leads nations.  As well, art education helps develop a well rounded individual with better communication skills. 

The ACT International Invitational Exhibition is held biennially and consists of 100 works of art contributed by artists from across the world.  The exhibit and silent auction raises funds that ARTSa 501(c)(3) organization, uses to expand art education in an effort to offset the cutbacks in art education in schools.  

Ampersand is a proud sponsor of ARTS and this event, donating panels for each artist who contributes their work.  You can view the full gallery of this upcoming exhibition on the ACT 2016 website, and you can join the auction by proxy if you are unable to attend in person.

~Content from the ARTS and ACT websites.

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, February 23, 2016

Pastelbord™ Basics

Pastelbord™ is one of our absorbent textured surfaces, created for endless layering with soft pastel, oil pastel or colored pencil artists in mind.  Pastelbord is a clay and gesso coated hardboard panel with a granular marble dust finish comparable to a sanded pastel paper except more durable and more versatile.  It can be used with a combination of wet and dry media.  

An underpainting or wash can be applied to the entire surface with acrylic or watercolor before working pastel onto the surface. Blending with water or solvent, an artist can create layers of color for a deep, rich finish.  Water will not make Pastelbord rip or buckle, so you can use a damp cloth to blot away pastel marks to completely rework the image.   

Artist Ken Muenzenmayer has found Pastelbord to be one of his favorite surfaces for acrylic painting because the texture holds a long open time.  He finds that he can get rich, glowing color on Pastelbord that surpasses any other surface.

For more techniques on using Pastelbord, take a peek at our YouTube Channel.  Artist Kendra Ferreira shares her blending techniques with colored pencil and watercolor pencil on Pastelbord to get rich color underpainting.  




Pastelbord is not available in cradled panels as pastels need to be framed under glass for the most protection.  However, Pastelbord does come in four colors:  grey, green, sand and white and a variety of 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.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Current Events with Ampersand Artists



Exhibition in Scratchbord
The International Society of Scratchbord Artists is holding their annual exhibition this year at the at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum in the Ironwood Gallery. The show will include 70 scratchboard works from artists around the world (represented this year are USA, Canada, Australia, and China). The public is welcome and invited to attend our show reception on April 8. The show will hang at the museum from April 8 - May 29.  More information about the event at www.scratchboardsociety.com

Workshop at Ampersand with Sandra Duran Wilson
Mixed Media artist and writer, Sandra Duran Wilson will be teaching numerous workshops this year, including one at Ampersand in Buda, Texas the first week in April. Information and registration for the class: Acrylic for Special Effects. In addition to her busy workshop schedule, Sandra is featured in the January Catalog at Xanadu  and in the January/February Issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors.

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.