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All Things Ampersand

Featured Artist: Lorna Wagner Hannett

Great Egret, 2013 for the ISSA show

“I have always had a fascination for the beauty of nature and its many moods and elements. Living in a rural setting, I am surrounded and inspired every day, in all seasons. I also love to study people, adults and children alike, and try to capture each individual’s expressive nature in the portraits I do. I feel privileged to be able to express my love of nature and people through my art work and hope in some small measure that it will bring a certain amount of pleasure to those who view it.” ~Lorna Hannett

Mr. Forbes, 8″x10″

Canadian artist Lorna Hannett has always had an interest and natural talent for drawing, but it was around age 50 when she took her art seriously.  Self taught painter in acrylics and watercolors, Lorna discovered scratch art through WetCanvas! in 2003 and came upon Ampersand Scratchboard™ at the same time.  Lorna shares, “I bought a small board and tool and tried it out. It was love at first board. It immediately appealed to my love of light and detail. I did several boards, mostly wildlife and then entered the North Light Books Cover Competition with my first scratch portrait called “Joseph” and to my great amazement, I won first place. That was in March 2004 and I knew I had found my niche. I now also work on Claybord, and lately I have been doing some of the Ampersand Claybord boxes, which I also enjoy.”

Besides Lorna’s extensive portfolio, which you can see in the Scratchbord Facebook Group or on her personal website, Lorna also teaches workshops and is the president of the International Society of Scratchboard Artists.  

String of Pearls, 8″ x 10″

She does most of her own photography for her work as well, so Lorna’s inspiration and eye for design is just as stunning as her work.  Her courage and passion for working in scratch art is evident in her pieces, but is also a strong principle taught to her students.  “I often teach workshops and the first thing I tell the students is not to be afraid of making that first scratch. . . keep that first board as a test piece and try out everything on it,” she explains.  She also encourages students to find subject matter that is meaningful to them, use a light hand and build up in layers to the lightest value.  Not to mention, “always use the best support and that, of course, is Ampersand.  Above all else have fun with it!”

The International Society of Scratchboard Artists was a special project for Lorna, as she and four other scratch artists came together to start the society for bringing awareness to the medium.  The second annual juried exhibition will open in a few weeks with more details on the website about membership, workshops and events.  You can also see more of Lorna’s work in person at the show; the International Society of Scratchboard Artists Annual Exhibition will be opening on June 4th at the Federation of Canadian Artists on Granville Island, Vancouver, B.C.  For more updates on Lorna’s exhibitions and more galleries of her artwork, you can visit her website: lornahannett.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.

Tips for Painting on Claybord™

“Lost Marbles” by Lorna Hannett, Claybord Inks on Claybord


Claybord™ is an extremely smooth surface, workable for both additive and subtractive art making.  Its name comes from the absorbent clay ground that is reminiscent of the clay gesso grounds, made with chalk and animal hide glue, used during the Renaissance.  Claybord has an archival finish, suitable for acrylics, casein, gouache, tempera, egg tempera, pen and inks as well as for mixed media techniques, airbrush, and collage.

Since Claybord is so receptive to watermedia, it is recommended for painting when an absorbent ground is needed.  

Some quick tips on painting with Claybord:

“Leaves in a Pool” by Lorna Hannett


  • In order to remove a mark, gentle strokes with Ampersand’s oil-free steel wool may be used.
  • Claybord’s coating is thick enough to use a razor blade or scratch tool to reveal the white clay beneath a layer of painted color to give detail and definition to a painting.
  • When painting in acrylics, if removal of paint is desired, consider painting in thinner films.  Acrylic dries to a more flexible, plastic-like film.
  • First layers of oil paint will dry rapidly to a matte finish, due to the absorbancy of Claybord.  Subsequent layers will dry more slowly and keep their luster.  In order to keep the oils from absorbing into the panel’s coating, consider using Gessobord or following these steps to prepare the Claybord for oil paints.  
  • Claybord is ideal for casein and egg tempera, considering the fragility of these ancient mediums. Both are prone to cracking when dry and need the stability and absorbency that only Claybord can provide.  Apply these paints in thin layers.
  • Softer leads with high pigment content work best on Claybord when using pencil or graphite.  Claybord tolerates repeated erasing without marring the surface and can be sealed and framed without glass.
  • Claybord works well with pen and ink as fine lines do not smudge and the ink dries rapidly; however, take heed to prepare the board by dusting and wiping down in order to prevent clogging of pens.
  • If you are interested in sealing your work in watercolor, ink or scratchbord for glass-free presentation, we recommend using the Krylon® UV Archival line of spray varnishes found on Krylon’s website.

For even more technical information about Claybord, refer to our website:  ampersandart.com/claybord.html

Claybord is now on promotion nationwide at discounts of up to 50% during our Ampersand Winter Sales Event. To find a participating dealer in your area, visit our Winter Sale Promotion page.

Paint On!