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All Things Ampersand

Featured Artist: Louise LeBourgeois working on Claybord™

Louise at work


Louise LeBourgeois paints waterscapes like no one else, on Claybord™, with oil, and in her studio rather than at the waterfront.  The water brings her back to the rural places she found magical as a child, and the paintings she creates are pure magic made from pigments, oil and Claybord.  Very few oil painters gravitate towards Claybord, but for Louise, nothing compares. 

Isthmus #440 by Louise LeBourgeois
Isthmus #440, 12″ x 12″, 2010

In college, she had learned how to stretch canvas, but found the “bounce” of the fabric uncomfortable.  Pulling the fabric too tight to eliminate bounce would then warp the bars; so for years, Louise stayed away from painting all together.  After reaching limited blending with oil pastel, she tried oil painting again and working on panel.  Louise worked on panels she made and sanded, so they would be as smooth as she liked.  She would work and sand long weekends on her back porch during the Chicago summers to get the precise surface.  Laborious and hard on the body, sanding gave way to searching for prepared panels.  Both the Gessobord™ and Claybord appealed to her, however, it was the Claybord’s ultra-smooth surface that won out.

Water 456 by LeBourgeois
Water #456, 36″ ‘x 36″, 2011

Although Louise uses Claybord, which is highly absorbent with oil paints, she says that it is the best surface for her work because it has the same ultra-smooth finish she aimed for in her own panel making.  The first few oil paint layers dry to a matte finish, which is okay because she expects those first layers to be just lay-in color, determining the overall direction the piece will go.  The more layers she applies, the richer the oils become on the surface, sitting atop one another.  Louise does nothing extra to prep the panels when they arrive, she just digs in.

Water 447 by LeBourgeois
Water #447, 10″ x 12″, 2011

Louise was born in New Orleans, lived as a child in Clemson, South Carolina, and also Oxford, England before moving to Chicago as a young teen.  The city wasn’t as “free” as she was accustomed and the move unconsciously altered her subject matter over time as an adult artist.  It was the swimming of her youth, and now the waters of Lake Michigan, that opened the boundaries and gave her freedom as a person and artist. Her art mirrors life changes and melds with the swimming that has always been a steady discipline for her.  From drawing in oil pastels early on to fully blended atmospheric oil paintings, Louise’s magical work is much more than a waterscape or moonscape, it is her own story. 

Follow Louise, her work, her teaching or contact her for commission, check out her website:  www.louiselebourgeois.com

For more tips in painting on Claybord with Oils:  Claybord and Oils

Ampersand SaleClaybord is now on SALE at 40% off at Ampersand Art Supply retailers around the country.  Now it comes in a 1.5″ deep cradle as well!  Find a retailer near you: Fall Sale Ampersand Dealers

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.

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