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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”. 

1. Well-prepared rigid panels are undeniably the best support for your artwork

It is extremely difficult – especially over time – for a stretched canvas to support thick layers of oil, acrylic paints or alkyds without resulting in cracking of the paint film. Stretched canvas is much more susceptible to atmospheric changes in moisture and temperature – which affects the stability of your artwork over time.

Rigid substrates, on the other hand, can support thick layers of heavy bodied paints without damage. A great example can be found in paintings on prepared wood panels from the 3rd and 4th centuries that are still intact without cracking of the paint film. Many “old masters” painted on panel, including DaVinci, Rafael and Rembrandt.

2. Panels can support any paint medium

Any medium can be applied to one of Ampersand’s panels:  pastel, charcoal, acrylic, oil, watercolor, gouache, alkyd, casein, ink, oil pastel, oil bar, encaustic, egg tempera and more. For tips on which panel might be right for you, refer to the  panel comparison chart below or visit this page for more information..

Wood Panel painting surface comparison

3. Ampersand’s high-density hardboard is engineered for strength and stability

All of Ampersand’s Museum Series panels are made with premium US made hardboard that has a high-density fiber core engineered for maximum dimensional stability, and moisture and warp resistance.

All hardboard is not alike! Ampersand’s hardboard significantly outperforms MDF and raw wood panels in eliminating panel warping and bowing.

This article about Ampersand’s Hardbord explores some of the more technical aspects of Ampersand’s Hardbord.

4. Ampersand’s patented Archiva-Seal barrier technology protects your artwork for
decades to come

All wood panels should be sealed before applying the painting ground and before painting on the surface.

Have you ever used a pure white gesso ground directly on wood only to discover that it looks yellow or marbled? This will simply not happen with Ampersand’s acid-free surfaces.

Ampersand’s hardboard supports are properly sealed with Archiva-Seal. Only Ampersand uses this unique patented barrier technology to seal the hardboard, preventing any support-induced discoloration and any separation of the painting ground from the panel.

5. Ampersand’s surfaces are completely acid-free

Every single ground Ampersand uses is acid-free and long lasting, from the smooth absorbent clay ground of Claybord to the bright acrylic gesso ground of Gessobord.

6. Choose from a wide variety of finishes and textures without having to seal and prime

Claybord, Encausticbord, Pastelbord, Gessobord, Scratchbord and Aquabord are all ready to use right away without the need to seal, prime and gesso the panel. However, if you do want to prepare and apply your own ground, you can use Ampersand’s Hardbord and enjoy the benefits of our hand-made construction and high-quality materials.

7. Many popular standard sizes and profiles

Ampersand has a huge variety of sizes and cradle profiles from 1/8” 4”x4” panels up to 2” 48”x36” – over 500 configurations! In addition to flat panels, we have 3 sizes of cradles available – ¾”, 1 1/2” and 2”.

Download a pdf of our complete product line here.

8. Easy to frame – or not!

There is no need to frame our cradled panels as they are ready to hang as soon as the painting is complete.

Only Ampersand cradle support frames are handcrafted with 13-ply stable Birch plywood that can be painted, stained, waxed or left unfinished.

Visit this linked page on our website for some hanging tips and cradle treatments.

9. Made from FSC certified sustainable
US forest products

Using wood panels can be daunting knowing that trees are processed to make them! Ampersand is acutely aware of this potential drain on our environment. That is why, although more expensive, we choose FSC certified wood products from US forests that are renewable and sustainable.

FSC certification is the most effective environmental standard for the protection of wildlife, soil and water quality.Ampersand Hardbord is also manufactured using a completely green process: we use no harmful chemicals, create no hazardous waste and no gas emissions exist for the artist—and our panels are completely formaldehyde-free!

10. Hand-made in the USA!

The Ampersand official headquarters is in Buda, Texas – Just south of Austin –  providing manufacturing jobs in our community and the highest quality handmade products for artists everywhere. The attention to detail and quality control is unmatched.

Read about our Manufacturing process here.

Ampersand builds our panels using only high-quality materials and processes that are deliberately chosen and designed with the artist in mind. You can rest assured that when your work is on an Ampersand panel, your work will last for many years to come.


2017 Fall Back to School Sale!

The Fall Back-to-School sale on Ampersand panels is going on now and runs through the end of September. Gessobord, Claybord, Scratchbord, our Artist Panel Series (Primed Smooth, Canvas Texture and Unprimed Basswood) and more on sale for up to 50% off at select retailers across the country.


One thought on “Top Ten Reasons Artists Should Use Ampersand Panels”

  1. Avatar Dava Dahlgran says:

    I also use the Gessobord for colored pencil. It works very well with my method of mixing a metallic leaf background with colored pencil drawing. Love the way it accepts pencil and let’s me erase when necessary!

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