1 (800) 822-1939   USA toll free
+1 (512) 322-0278   outside the US

All Things Ampersand

Top Ten Reasons Artists Should Use Ampersand Panels

We had a recent question from an artist who is brand new to panel painting.  She wanted to know why she should paint on panels and specifically why should she use Ampersand products over other brands.

We hear this a lot. With canvas being the “norm” and a plethora of cheap panels available, why would you want to specifically use Ampersand panels for your art?

Below are the top ten reasons and advantages of painting on rigid panels – specifically well-prepared Ampersand “bords”.  Continue reading >>

Panel Edges

Recently, we had a question about SID effecting the paint on the panel edges.  An artist was concerned about paint on the edges of the untreated panel, not cradle, and how that might effect his work long term.  Below, Dana Brown answers the question.


“The condition of SID is one of acrylic paint and acrylic dispersion ground (acrylic gesso). We make broad recommendations to sealing the painting surfaces of wood, as a separate step from priming, primarily due to the common use of acrylic gesso as a primer, but also to maintain a painting surface that is as acid-free as possible. It is also based on an understanding that proper habits can become good practice when using various materials. We know that sometimes artists will pick up a piece of wood to use as a substrate, not knowing its density or acid-level, and sealing the panel will give the painting a ‘fighting chance,’ of lasting.


Because of the differing characteristics of each paint type mentioned, I will address each separately.

Acrylics dripped over the edge (that thin, 1/8” thickness) will encounter some level of acids. It will also take on a level of discoloration. Support Induced Discoloration (SID) is not a dark blackening or even a dark browning of the paint film, and it is generally only noticeable in areas of white and generally only in the wettest of applications. This is why it is commonly associated with the applications of acrylic gesso, applied directly onto a wooden support. Areas of color mixtures or darker colors, especially when applied undiluted or more thickly, will not display noticeable discoloration in the same sense. If the entire acrylic painting is done onto an unsealed wooden surface, the levels of acids in the wood (which vary greatly from wood species and type) can cause damage to the artwork. The amount of acid or discoloration from a 1/8” edge is very small and will not put the painting in jeopardy of lasting or any continuous damage. The acid level in our hardboards is nearly neutral at that, and it is one of the reasons that we selected aspen as the overlay for our product. To sum up in reference to acrylic paint, if the drips or painted edge are white, applied quite wet, or thinly, discoloration may be noticeable. To prevent this, you can apply GAC 100 or PVA Size to the edges to create a barrier seal to the exposed, cut edges. For most painters’ practices, the effect of a few drips over the edge of a 1/8” thick panel is not damaging to the artwork or its appearance, and its durability is not at risk.

Gouache and oil colors are not susceptible to SID and the reason to carefully seal the panel before priming is again a rule of thumb, put forth by the general practice of acrylic dispersion grounds and acrylic based priming layers. The main issue with gouache dripping over the edge or being painted on the edge of a dark, brown panel is mainly that the edge may not be sufficiently absorbent to give a lasting mechanical bond between the paint and the panel’s edge. Also, the dark, brown tone may cause paint applications to look darker, requiring multiple applications.

For oil colors, there is also no risk of SID. The risk is more of great amounts of oil paint, directly applied to wood, soaking into the wood and oxidizing within the structure of the wood. This is even contentious amongst art conservationists and may be less of a risk than previously believed. The 1/8” thick edge of a panel will not allow for a risky level of oxidation within the wood support. The oils in oil colors will actually pass on some conditioning or preservation qualities to the wooden support, similar to applying oil to wooden furniture to recondition it.”

-Dana Brown
Artist & Customer Support at Ampersand


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

Which Panel should I use? A Product Comparison

Media
Product
Discussion
Acrylics Claybord™
Gessobord™
Pastelbord™
We highly recommend using thin washes of acrylics on Claybord or try Gessobord for a less absorbent panel or Pastelbord for a surface with more texture and a toned ground.
Airbrush Claybord™ Claybord is ideal for airbrush.
Calligraphy Claybord™ Ampersand recommends Claybord.
Casein Claybord™
Gessobord™
Claybord and Gessobord are both appropriate for casein.
Egg Tempera Claybord™ Use egg tempera on Claybord.  Compare with panels you are preparing yourself.
Encaustic Encausticbord™ Encausticbord is made for the unique demands of encaustic painting.
Gouache Aquabord™ We recommend Aquabord for gouache.
Graphite & Colored Pencils Claybord™ Use graphite and colored pencils with Claybord.
Inks Claybord™
Scratchbord™
We recommend Claybord with inks because they can be easily erased and manipulated.
Markers Claybord™ Use Claybord with markers and frame without glass.
Oils & Oil Sticks Claybord™
Gessobord™
We recommend Gessobord with oils.  Claybord can also be used, but is very absorbent.
Pastels Pastelbord™ We recommend Pastelbord with all types of pastels.
Scratchboard Scratchbord™ Use Scratchbord as a professional alternative to scratchboard paper.
Watercolors Aquabord™ Use Aquabord, similar to cold press paper for very wet watercolor washes.


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.

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

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

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




If you haven’t had a chance to purchase panels yet this winter, now is the time as select panels are on sale up to 50% off at dealers around the US and Canada: www.ampersandart.com/retailers2/promo-retail.html

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.

Acrylic Painting on Ampersand Panels

Ampersand really does provide a surface for every style of painting and medium out there.  With the variety of surfaces, it can be tough to choose which surface is right for you, especially if the medium is so versatile, like acrylic.  Let’s take a look at the properties of both and what works best with this medium.
Acrylics, or acrylic dispersion paint, is relatively new to the art world, coming into its own as the paint it is today in the early 60’s.  Acrylic paint is pigment that has been dispersed, or evenly homogenized and stabilized in an acrylic binder, which differs depending on the brand of paint you use.

Unlike any other painting medium, many raw materials may be added to provide a variety of working properties.  Brilliant color and quick drying time are commonly known attributes of acrylic paints. A variety of additives can control the thicknesses, density, hardness, flexibility and gloss levels of the paint.  As such, acrylics are a versatile medium, able to adhere to almost anything, work quickly as a watercolor wash or go on super heavy like alla prima oil paint.  They can work as washes under colored pencil, pastel, graphite, charcoal or ink.  And, they can handle specialized additives like marble dust, granite or pumice.  Acrylics can also be printed on via an inkjet printer or they can be used to embed an image from a printer.  Acrylics can be used to seal a watercolor painting, seal a raw panel, prime a raw canvas or “be the canvas” themselves.  Acrylics are so versatile that it seems they would work on any Ampersand panel.  And, while that is true, here are some thoughts about using acrylic on specific Ampersand boards.

Wilson’s Plovers, Acrylic by Ginger Gehres
  •  Gessobord™, our #1 recommendation, was designed with acrylics in mind for both thin washes and thick strokes of paint. To make Gessobord, we use a professional quality acrylic gesso that is sanded to a finely textured and slightly absorbent finish. Gessobord works well with gel mediums, scraping tools, palette knives and heavy layering. And now, it comes in a 1 1/2″ profile that fits into standard gallery and floater frames or that can be painted or stained to finish.
  • Claybord™ excels with thinned acrylic watercolor techniques because it’s highly absorbent, vellum-smooth and extremely forgiving with changes and clean-up. Like Gessobord, it’s also now available in the 1 1/2” cradle.
  • With more fluid and thinned acrylic paints, only Claybord™ allows for additive and subtractive art techniques. Easily remove color or add lines and texture with the Ampersand scratch tools and oil-free steel wool adding dimension and clarity to your image.
  • Since Claybord™ is so absorbent, when trying to preserve color, always thin down your acrylics with the appropriate medium, like a matte acrylic medium, for example, rather than with water.
  • Aquabord™ is more textured and absorbent than Claybord and allows for a more even build-up of paint layers and stacked brush strokes similar to using a cold press paper. Since it’s designed for use with watercolor, it’s also amazing with acrylic wash techniques and mixed media.
  • Pastelbord™ is also a viable option because it offers a longer open working time with acrylics due to its clay, gesso and marble dust finish that is not only finely textured, but also absorbent. This unique ground allows seamless flows and washes better than on any of our other surfaces.
  • Pastelbord™ comes in three great colors and white already, but can be easily toned with an acrylic color wash for your own choice of under-painting color.
  • Encausticbord™, originally designed for the unique demands of encaustic painting, is also an ideal choice for those looking to use acrylics alone or with mixed media and collage. The surface is sanded smoother than the Gessobord and is also a bit more absorbent. Encausticbord functions well for all types of acrylic paint applications. We don’t recommend using acrylics with encaustic paint, however, because the wax will not permanently bond with it.
  • “Orange you glad” Acrylic on Encausticbord by Ginger Gehres
  • For Scratchbord™ art, acrylics can be thinned down and used to color the white scratched-in areas. Our Scratchbord is coated with jet black india ink, but reveals the white underneath when scratches are made — it’s a smooth white clay surface that accepts all types of watermedia.
All of the Museum Series Ampersand surface coatings I just mentioned are pH neutral, acid-free and archival.

For more information on specific panels with acrylic paint, check out the articles below: