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All Things Ampersand

Featured Artist: Madeline von Foerster

The Promise, von Foerster
The Promise, 16″ x 20″, 2012

“I find Gessobord to be an ideal painting surface:  smooth, even, and with the perfect amount of tooth.  I don’t know about any other panel out there that is both archival and sustainably sourced, two factors which are very important to me!” ~Madeline von Foerster

Madeline von Foerster, American born artist living in Germany, carefully plans and executes with beautifully rendered detail “living still lifes.”  Madeline has perfected the 15th century Flemish Master technique, mische, working in layers of egg tempera and oils to achieve a glowing work which is realistic but also breathtakingly luminous.   Madeline explains her love of both the media and subject matter in her artist statement, sharing that meaning and beauty are the two cornerstones of her work.

Pangolin, von Foerster
Untitled (Pangolin), 36″ x 36″, 2012


Madeline has always felt the pull as an artist, drawing being a favorite thing for as long as she can remember.  With steady encouragement from her family, Madeline pursued art school studying at the California College of Arts and Crafts and with Philip Rubinov-Jacobson.  Her education and patience exude through her exquisite detail and process.  Before Madeline worked in the “mixed technique” or mische, she pursued oils “ala prima” for many years.  She shares further, “
I was a huge fan of the Flemish Renaissance Masters, but when I tried to emulate their effects (glowing colors and crystalline details), I had the feeling I was missing out on some crucial information.  It was next to impossible to achieve what they did using my methods and materials, and the attempt was an unrewarding ordeal.”  Upon learning of Professor Philip Rubinov-Jacobson’s seminar in Austria, she signed up immediately.  The style resonated with her, and Madeline has worked over 50 paintings in the mische technique since.

Madeline von Foerster
Bufo Periglenes, 8″ x 8″, 2011


With Madeline’s appreciation for creating a quality painting in style and technique, she has found the perfect match in Gessobord, a well made, quality panel that will stand the test of time.  “Good materials are part of an artist’s necessary support system – they are part of what allows an artist to do his or her best work.  Good brushes, panels, and paints are more pleasurable to use and provide superior results – but also, most importantly, they don’t get in the way,” she explains.  

On her website, Madeline gives a detailed explanation and work in progress photographs of how her paintings are completed.  You can see her rendering, underpainting, layers of egg tempera and oil paint.  Madeline also lists her upcoming shows, press and other events. 


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: Margaret Munz-Losch

Merkin-Song of Swans, 48″x 36″

Tennessee based artist Margaret Munz-Losch brings together the natural world and human identity, sometimes in an uneasy way to grab the viewers attention, but always in a beautifully rendered and designed finished piece.  Margaret honed her art skills on her own, learning to cultivate her attention to detail along with her vision for the unspoken pieces of life.  

Margaret works from her own photographs and reference material, creating a rough sketch first before drawing on panel.  Then she blocks in the work with tinted gesso or acrylic paint before using layers of oil based pencils and wax based colored pencils.  Her pieces take hundreds of hours, taking into consideration the grew detail and size of her work.

Black Cat, 30″ x 30″

Her choice of materials in combination is just as unique as her artistic perspective, bringing together acrylic and colored pencil on Gessobord.  Margaret came to find Ampersand through an art material catalogue and has created many of her works on custom sizes, unusual for a colored pencil artist.  She explains, Good materials are imperative when you want your work to be all it can be. There is no point in working against yourself especially when the work is so detailed and time consuming. There is beyond a world of difference between fine quality materials and poor quality. I can not stress it enough. Spending more on an Ampersand panel ultimately saves you time, money, and frustration.”  Gessobord is perfect for Margaret’s work, with a little tooth for her pencil and the ability to layer paint.  

Early Bird, 70″ x 30″

Margaret’s work is on exhibit right now at the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery in New Orleans until August 23rd and then some of the pieces will go to the Texas Contemporary Art Fair in Houston in early September.  You can also read more about this exhibit and Margaret’s work on the Picayune Times website: Margaret Munz-losch sketches the Psychology of Childhood.

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 Video: Colored Pencil Blending

Featured Artist and CPSA member, Ranjini Venkatachari shares her step by step process for a detailed, softly blended colored pencil still life on Pastelbord™ in this video.  She takes each step and outlines her colors and choice materials so that you can re-create her work.

Ranjini’s award winning work will be in the Richeson Still Life & Floral juried show opening in early March and into Explore This! 10 for CPSA this year.  You can read more of her updates about shows and see much more of her work on her blog: ranjini.wordpress.com 





Do you video your work on Ampersand panels?  Send us a link to your YouTube channel!

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 Video: Demo from Kendra Ferreira

Artist Kendra Ferreira has a full background in drawing and portraiture and a range of skills using all types of media, but her love is colored pencil.  

After joining the Colored Pencil Society, Kendra came upon Ampersand products and has been working on Pastelbord™.  With a modern technique using solvents or water and brushes, Kendra is able to work the soft pigments of the pencils into the Pastelbord, layering color upon color.  Many people find her work to look like paintings.  In these videos, Kendra shares her technique and you can get a close up view of her teaching style.




Kendra also teaches workshops regularly in Rhode Island; upcoming workshops include Colored Pencil at the Providence Art Club and Colored Pencil Drawing at the Newport Art Museum.  You can find out more information at her website:  www.kjfdesign.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: Nilda Rosa Rodriguez

Colored pencil on Pastelbord

“Another artist mentioned the Pastelbord surface to me.  At that point, I was designing many pieces in colored pencils and wanted to try a surface that was not paper.  Upon trying Ampersand Pastelbord, I was delighted to see the high compatibility that medium has with colored pencils, and that all my techniques could be applied with great results and no frustration.”  -Nilda Rodriguez

Colored pencil on Pastelbord


Florida artist, Nilda Rodriguez, is a multi-media, working artist, teaching and traveling regularly for the Society of Decorative Painters and her own studio, Tolebrush.  Nilda’s love of art began at a very young age, drawing family portraits.  Her painting began when a friend took her to tole painting classes.  Working in acrylics became her steady medium for years while she learned how to use oils from videos and her own steady practice.  In 2007, though, Nilda took on colored pencil.  With her natural gravitation to drawing, the medium came easy to her and she had her work with instructions published in The Decorative Painter, the official magazine of the Society of Decorative Painters.  Since then, she has had many other projects published and continues to work in all three mediums regularly.

Nilda demonstrating at the SDP conference

Nilda most recently attended the Society of Decorative Painter’s Annual Convention , from May 13-18 in Illinois, and shared Pastelbord™ in a workshop with attendees.  She found Pastelbord through another artist and uses it for its durability, versatility and its quality.  Nilda explains further, “I think that your final product is as good as your materials.  If you use poor quality brushes or surfaces then you are not able to achieve an excellent final product.  I have tried many types of paper and the results are not as good as what can be achieved with Pastelbord.  It is important to use a surface that will be compatible with colored pencils and that optimizes the techniques used while coloring.  I like the vibrancy that the colored pencils display when applied on a Pastelbord.  Pastelbord is my choice because you can apply different mediums without perforating it.  Furthermore, there is something to be said about a surface that has sturdiness and some weight and mass to it; there is a psychological quality where the artist and admirers perceive the finished piece as having more value and durability.”

Colored pencil on Pastelbord

For students trying Pastelbord with colored pencils for the first time, Nilda offers the following advice:

  • Use light pressure when applying the layers of pencil.  To release some of the pressure on your surface, try holding your pencil further away from the tip.  Holding the pencil very close to the tip gives you more control, but places more pressure on the surface.
  • Use a well sharpened point.  Working in circles can allow one to rotate the pencil to always have that freshly sharpened point.
  • Consider painting the background with acrylics first, and then transferring the drawing to the Pastelbord.  (Pastelbord does come in a range of colors, but acrylics coat the panels nicely and stay wet long enough for blending the colors.  Acrylics also take colored pencil well on top of Pastelbord.)
Nilda’s oil on Gessobord
Nilda finishes her work by burnishing with a colorless blender or Gamsol and then applying a few more layers of pencil.  She uses the Grumbacher Acrylics and Oils final varnish in a spray coat and the varnishes with JW Right Step Gloss Varnish applied with a soft cloth.


Even though Nilda has a full seminar scheulde and studio practice, you can often find her posting new work on her blog and website: Tolebrush.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.