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All Things Ampersand

Featured Artist: Valerie Allen

Valerie’s photo entry in our contest

We held our first photo contest on Facebook this spring asking for artists to submit shots of their studio with their Ampersand panels in clear view.  Out of the entries, we selected three winners to share with you in our blog.  Over the coming months, you’ll get to know those artists and their Ampersand studios a bit better.

Athena’s Timeline:  The Prelude, Mixed Media on Claybord
Detail of Athena’s Timeline Illuminated

Michigan artist, Valerie Allen, has always known she was an artist.  She was the go-to person in high school for anything art, always working on projects and commitments.  “I remember begging my dad to drive me to an art contest 2 hours away — definitely a long shot — he missed his favorite grouse hunting day.  Lucky for me– my persistence paid off with me winning the grand prize.  He always remembered that day with a smile.  The country girl showing the city folks a thing or two about design!”  Her persistence as an artist has continued to pay off, as she is an award winning exhibitor and instructor.  As an educator for many universities throughout her career and ongoing with the Alden B. Dow Museum of Science and Art and the Golden working Artist program, Valerie has  a lot to share with her students about good materials.  

Valerie has always been attracted to a range of mediums.  She found that her love of art history and process enlightened her on the range of mediums and the artists that used them.  Naturally her experimentation followed the artists that attracted her:  Van Gogh, Picasso, Rauschenberg, moving through oils, ceramics, lithography and encaustic.  With her move into the Golden Working Artist’s Program, Valerie has concentrated on encaustic and acrylic, both which do quite well on Ampersand panels.

Valerie came to find Ampersand Claybord™ through a colleague and artist, Armin Mersmann.  He hired her for instruction at the Alden B. Down Museum of Science and Art.  A lovely bonus came from their working relationship as Valerie and Armin have been married now for ten years.  

“I find Ampersand to be such a versatile support for my work.  I use it for my acrylics that are layered with thick gels and pastels.  I also use it to mount my encaustic monotypes.  I really appreciate the archival qualities of the boards.  When I sell artwork on Ampersand, I know with confidence it will stand the test of time in any setting,” Valerie explains.  

To see more of Valerie’s work or her schedule for the Golden Working Artist Program, check out her website:  valerieallen.artroof.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.

Spring Contest Winners and Prizes!

Our Spring Contest is over and the winners were announced yesterday!  Congrats to all who won and thank you to all who were able to participate.  It was an interesting opener to more contests running on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter for our Ampersand online fans.  So if you haven’t yet joined us on the social media platforms, come follow us for more information and tidbits throughout the year.  I usually share events, workshops and more cool artists through all the platforms.  I might even throw in a few new videos this year, so stay tuned.

Kat Moore’s studio where she does Scratchbord work of pups

As far as our contest goes, it was really fun to see what your studios look like and what size panels you’re using and where you put them!  Thank you for posting!

For those of you who didn’t read the contest guidelines. .  . .just a summary:  Contestants entered a photo of their studio with their Ampersand panels to be eligible.   One winner was chosen who had the most votes for their photo and the other chosen by Ampersand staff.  Three more submissions were chosen to be featured in our blog with their art and process.  

Elaine Bagwell’s studio in an upcycled mobile home

Congrats first to Kat Moore for the most votes for her photo.   Thanks to all who were able to vote and like their friends submissions.  

Also congrats to Elaine Bagwell for her studio shot which has actual Ampersand shelving.  So fun!  

Both of you ladies will win panels in the surface of your choice.  4 – 12″ x 12″, 3/4″ depth panels.  I will be getting in touch with you via email.

Next, our three winners chosen to be featured in our blog are Valerie Allen, Ginger Gehres and Jonathan Webb.  I will also get in touch with you via email and we’ll work from there to feature you in our blog over the summer season, or earlier. 😉

Thank you to all who helped make this first contest a success.  And thank you for your feedback on Facebook to let us know what you thought.  Continue to roll in the comments so we can better tweak these contests towards your interests and art.  

Scratchbord™ and the Artist Panel in canvas texture are both on sale at local retailers, as part of our Spring Sale going on through May.  Aquabord™ and Pastelbord™ are also on sale during these weeks.  Stock up while you can!

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.

Ampersand Faces: Andrea Pramuk

Andrea in her studio, working on Aquabord


Ampersand has several talented artists on staff, so it is high time that I share with you the art they are making.  

Andrea Pramuk is the marketing director for Ampersand, and many of you may know her via our social networks, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  Or, you may have met Andrea when you’ve called Ampersand to ask questions about the boards, about advertising, about workshops or just wanting to share your art.  She wears many hats, both with Ampersand and on her own as a full time working artist.  Since Ampersand is a young company with a smaller staff, many people play a lot of roles.  Andrea has been with Ampersand now for 16 years, moving into the marketing director and graphic designer role straight from graduate school.

“Call me Baby”, alcohol ink, wax paper image transfer on Claybord


Andrea’s art began in utero it seems, as she hails from an active art family and was in the studio at her own easel by the age of two.  Her father’s way of guarding his own time to paint was to set Andrea up nearby so that he could work and she would find the studio a comforting place.  She has painted continuously since then, studying art at Kansas City Art Institute, earning a BFA and moving to Austin to study at the University of Texas for her MFA.  

Her career is blossoming, as Andrea regularly sells and shows her work around the country,
developing her style both with the mediums she is using and with where her art takes her.  Earlier works see Andrea’s skill as a figurative painter, tapping into oils and acrylics.  The most recent abstract works are watercolors, alcohol inks, oils and a range of mixed media.  In her profession at Ampersand, Andrea comes across many art materials and hones her own practice based on testing and trying new products and gathers inspiration™ from other artists along the way. But even in the midst of all the materials she could try, Andrea chooses Claybord™, Aquabord™ and Encausticbord™ for most of her work because each is so well suited to mixed media and experimentation. She says “I never worry about the surfaces getting overworked or damaged with my heavy handed treatments and unorthodox use of materials. It’s also important to me that I use the most archival materials and practices for my art.”

“Resonance”, alcohol inks on Claybord


To connect further with Andrea, friend her on Facebook or her Facebook Page, follow her on Twitter, or check out  her blog.  

Right now Aquabord™, Pastelbord™, Scratchbord™ and Artist Panel are on sale at local dealers around the country.  Click on the banner to be directed to a participating dealer near you.