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All Things Ampersand

Priming Wood Panels With Oil Grounds

Priming Wood Panels With Oil Grounds

A wood panel is a better painting substrate because it is less susceptible to expansion and contraction than flexible supports, like canvas. The movement of these flexible supports can result in cracks and damage to the artwork created on them.

Ampersand offers several ready to use sealed and primed panels, but for artists that prefer to prime their own painting panels, enjoy working with a natural wood texture, or need strong support for encaustic, collage, or mounting, Ampersand also offers three unprimed wood panel options: Hardbord, Unprimed Basswood, and Birch Wood Panel.

Commonly, artists ask us if unprimed wood panels need to be sized. The answer is yes.

All raw wood panels should be sized properly before applying ground applications, regardless of whether you use acrylic polymer dispersion “gesso” or oil painting ground.

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Featured Artist: Erin Berrett

Featured Artist: Erin Berrett

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.

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En Plein Air and Gessobord with Cynthia Rosen

Across the Fields 12×24 oil on Ampersand Gessobord

En Plein Air and Gessobord with Cynthia Rosen

From a background making non-objective art in NYC to a move to Vermont, the tides changed and a passion for plein air took hold. This love of the outdoors is additionally translating into larger studio works. Painting in the field, to limitless color. Ever-changing light, and the sound of a spinning world engages and challenges both perceptions and expression. No sooner do I embark on one path when the road turns introducing new sights and inspirations, broadening my visual vocabulary with no end in sight.

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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.