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All Things Ampersand

John Cruz – Searching for the Emotional Connection

It’s hard not to get swept up in the work of Austin, Texas artist John Cruz. His paintings are at once recognizable and yet abstracted. Not only abstract in the customary execution, but also in the range of feelings that his imagery evokes. His subjects are identifiable – bokeh’ed representations of simple scenes and objects laced with pop-art sensibility. John looks for instantly relatable common themes and extorts their social commentary while shading them with a bit of humor. Ultimately, the subjects in his paintings take a backseat to the emotions they conjure up, which is exactly what he strives for. Continue reading >>

Ampersand 101: Unprimed Basswood Panels

For our third installment in our series of “101” articles about Ampersand “bords,” we are going to look at our most popular Value Series panel, The Artist Panel – Unprimed Basswood.  With so many new artists discovering and using our wood painting panels, the back-to-basics Ampersand 101 series is designed to introduce and explain the features and benefits of our different panels. But even if you are a seasoned Ampersand veteran, you will find information in these articles to inspire and hopefully encourage you to try or revisit a panel that you don’t normally use.

There is a plethora of raw wood panels on the market these days. In fact, the market has grown so much since Ampersand’s first commercial panel, that many manufacturers, large retailers, and distributors who were not in the panel business have introduced their own raw wood panels. Unfortunately, most of these panels are rough, poorly made, and contain inconsistencies that can ultimately compromise your artwork.

Continue reading >>

The Artist Panel: Unprimed Basswood

The Unprimed Basswood panel is handcrafted using a non-flexible basswood top, sanded perfectly smooth and ready to seal and prime with the ground of your choice. Compared with other wood panels on the market, the Unprimed Basswood is sanded perfectly smooth and lacks plywood seams, knots or raised fibers providing the cleaner, more professional look artists’ want. The support frames are made with quality solid pine strips that can be finished with paint or stain. Unprimed Basswood is great for encaustic, mixed media, collage and wood engraving and accepts all types of painting grounds .


All wood should be sealed and primed. For further instructions on sealing a priming, visit these previous blog posts:  
Available in two standard cradled profiles, 7/8” and 1.5”, both are simple to hang or frame.  You can find a chart on the standard sizes here:  Standard Sizes for Unprimed Basswood.  Ultra-stable, these wood panels will not give, bend or flex and like all Ampersand’s panels, they are made with quality materials that have been tested not only for durability, but also for performance with artists’ paints. For ideas on how to treat the edges of the cradle, consult this article on hanging and framing.


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.

The Artist Panel

Original Artist Panel

As 2013 opens, many of you, myself included, are setting artistic goals.  It is a great time to review what worked well in the last year and what you want to accomplish this year.  It is sometimes eye opening to see how well things went or what could be done better.  What a great time to reflect on how to improve one’s work or what to change in approach, style, materials, etc. 
 

On that note, I wanted to share more about the new products Ampersand introduced last summer, two new Artist Panels in different finishes. Some of you might already be familiar with the Artist Panel in the canvas finish.  It is an MDF panel with an acrylic gesso finish, textured like canvas.  I’m a fan of these myself, having tried several over the years.  In light of their popularity, we’ve come out with two new finishes. . .. the Artist Panel primed smooth on all sides (yes, all sides!) and the Artist Panel unprimed basswood.
 

The primed smooth panel gives artists the opportunity to finish the sides in any desired effect such as wrapping a painting around the edges with oils or acrylics.  It has a super smooth, semi-absorbent finish.  An acid free ground, it also works great for mounting giclées, prints or drawings.  The panels are 1/8″ MDF, fully primed with an acrylic gesso on the surface and sides, and cradled with solid pine strips, ready for hanging in either a ⅞” or 1.5″ cradled profile. 
 

The unprimed basswood panel can be used for encaustic, collage, mixed media or wood engraving. It also accepts all types of painting grounds for those who like to prepare their own.  The surface is sanded perfectly smooth, with no seams, knots or raised fibers.  The cradles are prepared with solid pine strips for a stable panel, easily finished with paint or stain.  All unprimed panels should be properly sealed and primed before applying paint:  www.ampersandart.com/tips/priming.html

One of the main benefits of the Artist Panel series is that they are made to Ampersand’s high quality standards, but designed for everyone’s budget.  Something to consider if you’re looking to alter your spending or if you just want to try something new.  Let us know what you think of the different Artist Panel finishes.  We’d love to hear from you!
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.