Gessobord artist Erin Berrett is a contemporary realism oil painter best known for her still-lifes. Some of our favorites are meaningful commissions that have sweet or fun and quirky backstories. We checked in with Berrett to share with us some of her most memorable commissions and the stories behind the paintings.
Louise LeBourgeois paints waterscapes like no one else, on Claybord, with oil. The water brings her back to the 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.
In order to try and learn a bit more about what makes Louise tick, we posed a few questions. Continue Reading >>
Moire, oil and graphite on Hardbord, 16″ x 20″, 2013
Rhonda Gates is an abstract landscape artist, explaining her process and inspiration in a recent blog post on her site, she shares that her works evolve in subject and color, as her process evolves in making them.
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.
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.
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.
In the past, I painted on stretched canvas, gessoed Masonite boards, and other wood panels for a very long time. Then, I discovered Ampersand panels about ten years ago when I was first introduced to encaustic. I purchased some small 5”x7” Claybords to use for experiments and ended up doing a series on them using vintage postcards and encaustic.
“Arrived Alright”, 5”x7” postcards and encaustic on Claybord, 2003
Around the same time, I began using the cradled Claybords for my oil paintings. I loved drawing with charcoal on the clay surface and also rubbing thin layers of oil paint to achieve a luminous light.
Lisa Pressman, “At the Moment”,
24”x24”, oil on Claybord™, 2005.
Lisa Pressman, “Walking the Line”,
36”x36”, oil on Claybord™, 2010.
Today, in the studio, I have 4 – 36”x36” cradled Claybords up and working for my upcoming show at The Rosenfeld Gallery in Philadelphia, January 2011.
Recently, I was asked by Ampersand to try out their new product specifically made for encaustics called, Encausticbord.They wanted to see what I thought of their new product in comparison to the Claybord I have been using over the years. Happily, I created a list of my top five favorite things about this new surface to share with you.
Top five reasons to use Encausticbord
I love when I bring home my nicely packaged and ready to paint Encausticbords. I am so busy with the multitasking of a studio practice, my art business, teaching, and family responsibilities, the faster I get going in my studio, the better. No building, no sanding, no gesso, no drying…just get working. They are gallery ready. Paint, wire, deliver, done!
2. The Surface
The surface of the new Encausticbord™ is very smooth, easy to draw on and whiter than white. It is as great as the Claybord to draw on, but more absorbent with more tooth, so the inks, charcoals and pastels really soak in as opposed to on the Claybord where their tendency is to “slide” across the surface. When you apply wax to the Encausticbord™, the light showing through the layers is bright white vs. the soft eggshell or cream color of the Claybord.
3. Multimedia Compatible
In my work, I combine wax, ink, charcoal, collage, soft pastels, R and F pigment sticks and oils. I have found that all of these materials respond beautifully to the Encausticbord™ surface.
4. Absorbent, Durable and Tested
I like to know that I am using a product that is tested for absorbency, durability and archival quality. The ground was tested by both R&F Handmade Paints and Ampersand, so I am confident that there will not be any cracking. It is also resistant to extreme heat from not only heat guns, but also torches. The larger panels are structurally braced, so I haven’t experienced any warping.
5. Great for teaching, demos, workshops
I have found that by using Encausticbord with beginning students, it eases the learning curve because it is already the right surface for encaustic and needs no preparation. There is no second-guessing as to whether or not the ground will perform.
She began her studies in ceramics, sculpture and painting at Douglass College, NJ and finished with a Bachelor of Art. Next, she received her MFA in painting from Bard College.For more information about the artist and her exhibition schedule, visit her website and her blog.