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All Things Ampersand

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.


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.

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.

Featured Artist: Susan Williamson

Susan Williamson


Susan Williamson has a passion for farm animals, getting to know them intimately through her painting.  She shares that she had an awakening during an encounter with a bovine and has never looked back.  “My goal is to depict these non-human animals as the sentient, beautiful beings that they are.  That’s it.”  Susan mostly paints cows, but she says all farm animals have a place in her studio.  She looks into their face, at their stance, or patterns in the coat and paints from her own photographs.

Susan Williamson

Susan WilliamsonSusan recalls a childhood full of drawing and painting, taking breaks for family and the corporate world.  Once she left her full time job at an engineering company, she began her own education, taking classes with artists like master watercolorist, Jim McFarlane, and reading art books to enhance her knowledge.  Early on, Susan explains that she chose her materials based on the instructor’s materials list or articles in magazines.  “In the beginning, I tried to save money and cheap out on materials which made the process more frustrating and gave me less satisfying results.  Maybe it was a combination of poor quality materials and a learning curve, but most of the paintings were thrown in the trash.  Using high quality materials is so much more satisfying. . . more pigment, more tooth, effective brushes all make a difference.”  

Susan WilliamsonIn her current work, Susan uses both pastels and oils, and often works on Pastelbord, which she discovered in a workshop with Stan Sperlak, pastellist and instructor.  When choosing her painting materials, she considers the final outcome of the piece and the subject.  “Pastels offer much more control for me and if the desired effect is more detail, I use pastels.  I use the largest brush possible with oils, which makes for much less control and more suggestion,” she explains.  All of her work, however, requires an underpainting, which is where Pastelbord shines.   “I always do a wet underpainting on Pastelbord and what a relief it is to not worry about buckling or ripples.  The finished painting really glows on this surface.  The pastel pigment really sticks, too.”  

Susan has a few upcoming shows including Historic Yellow Springs and a fundraiser for the local SPCA:  The Traditional Artists Show.  There is also much more of Susan’s work and intimate animal portraiture on her blog:  Mud, Manure and Paint.   or through her website and store:  susan-williamson.artistwebsites.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.

Featured Gallery Artist: Steve Miller

 

"September Morning" by Steve Miller
September Morning, soft pastel on Pastelbord, 24″ x 36″

Steve Miller’s work, “September Morning” was accepted into the 33rd Annual Pastel Society of the Southwest National Juried Exhibition now showing in the Convention Center and Visitors Bureau in Grapevine, TX through November 28th.

Steve is also part of the juried exhibition Broadview: A Spectrum of Nature to benefit the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge, running through November 23rd.

Texas artist, Steve Miller works in both oil and pastel, represented by the Weller House Gallery in Ft. Worth, TX, the Adobe Western Art Gallery in Ft. Worth and The White Buffalo Gallery in Glen Rose, TX.

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.