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All Things Ampersand

Artist Profile: Louise LeBourgeois

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 >>

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.

Cold Wax and Daniel Smith Oils on Encausticbord™

Architectural Relic 2-111, oil, collage, wax, 12″ x12″

“The translucency of the wax mixed with oils allows light to penetrate into the paint body giving it richness and vibrancy of tone.” ~Ginny Herzog

Minneapolis-based artist Ginny Herzog has been an invaluable Ampersand enthusiast for many years. This past year at NAMTA in Minneapolis, we were honored to have Ginny in our booth demonstrating her work on Ampersand panels.  Ginny shares with us her mixed media work process on Encausticbord.

I have been using Ampersand’s panels for my mixed media paintings since they first came on the market in 1994. Until recently, I worked mainly in watercolor and collage on the Aquabord™. But over the past several months, I have fallen in love with a new medium: Daniel Smith oils mixed with Dorland’s (cold) Wax Medium. I practiced my first attempts on Aquabord™ and Gessobord™, but found that the new Ampersand Encausticbord™ was a more outstanding surface for my new medium especially since it is tailor-made for wax, oils, collage and mixed media. It provides me with a rigid, smooth and consistent, archival surface that withstands the abuse of various methods that I use to achieve my textural effects.

I began by adhering the collage sections 
with Daniel® Smith’s acrylic gel medium.

First, I take digital photos of architecture, both interiors and exteriors, manipulate them in Photoshop®, frequently eliminating objects or distorting the context of the original image. I print the photos on archival laser color paper and then use the prints as collage elements in my paintings.
Then, I added the oils mixed with Dorland’s 
wax medium using the Colour Shaper® tool.

I collage my photos onto the panel with Daniel Smith Ultimate Acrylic Medium (matte) by brushing it onto the back side of the photo copy with an old flat paintbrush, then placing it onto the panel and rolling over it with a rubber brayer to make sure it has adhered completely to the panel and that there are no air bubbles.


I blotted the painted wet surface with wadded 
up plastic wrap to get this soft textural effect.

Next, using Artist’s Masking Tape, I mask out the edges of the photo collage that I want to protect from the oil paint. I apply Daniel Smith Oils mixed with the Dorland’s Wax Medium using tools such as palette knives, Colour Shapers (shown) or dough scrapers. After a few applications of the paint and cold wax, I remove the artist’s masking tape so that successive layers of paint blend well around the crisp paper edges of the collage.

The wax medium also enables me to build up more textures by blotting the painted surface with plastic wrap (example shown in yellow areas), papers or other textural materials in an additive method, as well as gouging, scraping and using odorless thinner in a subtractive method.

I frequently include architectural references as the painting begins to dry, adding linear detail by drawing into the painted surface with dental carving tools, oil sticks and Derwent® Inktense pencils. It’s nice how cold wax paintings dry and cure faster than pure oil paintings and that I can use polishing cloths to buff the painting when it is dry. I use both the flat and cradled panels. Generally, I apply three coats of ebony Minwax® stain to the cradle with a foam brush, wiping between coats and finally buffing after the last coat.
I added the architectural elements with a 
ruled triangle and a dental tool


Featured Materials
• Encausticbord™ 12″x12″, 1.5″ DEEP
• Dorland’s Wax Medium
• Daniel Smith® Oil Colors
• Daniel Smith® Acrylic Medium, Matte
• Colour Shaper® 5 tip set
• Archival laser color copies
• Artist’s Masking Tape
• Derwent® inktense 24 pencil set
• Utility knife
• T-square and triangle
• Rubber brayer
• Turpenoid® Odorless Thinner
Optional or readily available materials:
• Minwax® wood stain and foam sponge
• Wilton® dough scraper (cooking tools)
• Pick, Carver & Spatula (dental/clay carving tools)
• Plastic wrap and papers for textural effects
• Polishing cloths and Rubber Gloves
• Scissors, Cutting Mat

For more about this prolific artist: www.herzogart.com

Click here to explore the full selection of Ampersand panels and tools.

Featured Artist: Louise LeBourgeois working on Claybord™

Louise at work

 

Louise LeBourgeois paints waterscapes like no one else, on Claybord™, with oil, and in her studio rather than at the waterfront.  The water brings her back to the rural 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. 

Isthmus #440 by Louise LeBourgeois
Isthmus #440, 12″ x 12″, 2010

In college, she had learned how to stretch canvas, but found the “bounce” of the fabric uncomfortable.  Pulling the fabric too tight to eliminate bounce would then warp the bars; so for years, Louise stayed away from painting all together.  After reaching limited blending with oil pastel, she tried oil painting again and working on panel.  Louise worked on panels she made and sanded, so they would be as smooth as she liked.  She would work and sand long weekends on her back porch during the Chicago summers to get the precise surface.  Laborious and hard on the body, sanding gave way to searching for prepared panels.  Both the Gessobord™ and Claybord appealed to her, however, it was the Claybord’s ultra-smooth surface that won out.

Water 456 by LeBourgeois
Water #456, 36″ ‘x 36″, 2011

Although Louise uses Claybord, which is highly absorbent with oil paints, she says that it is the best surface for her work because it has the same ultra-smooth finish she aimed for in her own panel making.  The first few oil paint layers dry to a matte finish, which is okay because she expects those first layers to be just lay-in color, determining the overall direction the piece will go.  The more layers she applies, the richer the oils become on the surface, sitting atop one another.  Louise does nothing extra to prep the panels when they arrive, she just digs in.

Water 447 by LeBourgeois
Water #447, 10″ x 12″, 2011

Louise was born in New Orleans, lived as a child in Clemson, South Carolina, and also Oxford, England before moving to Chicago as a young teen.  The city wasn’t as “free” as she was accustomed and the move unconsciously altered her subject matter over time as an adult artist.  It was the swimming of her youth, and now the waters of Lake Michigan, that opened the boundaries and gave her freedom as a person and artist. Her art mirrors life changes and melds with the swimming that has always been a steady discipline for her.  From drawing in oil pastels early on to fully blended atmospheric oil paintings, Louise’s magical work is much more than a waterscape or moonscape, it is her own story. 

Follow Louise, her work, her teaching or contact her for commission, check out her website:  www.louiselebourgeois.com

For more tips in painting on Claybord with Oils:  Claybord and Oils

Ampersand SaleClaybord is now on SALE at 40% off at Ampersand Art Supply retailers around the country.  Now it comes in a 1.5″ deep cradle as well!  Find a retailer near you: Fall Sale Ampersand Dealers

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.