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All Things Ampersand

Mark Battista’s Oil Painting on Gessobord

Figure 1

“The painting was inspired by a woman that was watching a procession in a small piazza in Italy. The title of the work is The Braid, Buccino, Italy by Mark Battista, oil on Ampersand Gessobord™.


I am usually inspired by a particular subject, light quality, shadow pattern or overall mood based on a life experience. When not able to work from life, I try to work from a combination of quick sketches, color studies and photographs.  I will often spend days creating quick thumbnail studies in order to work out the basic abstract underlying forms, value structure and elements of the design. All the detail in the world can not substitute for a well designed composition.



Once the design has been determined, I will sketch the drawing onto the Ampersand Gessobord. Sometimes the sketch is done with vine charcoal, working from large masses of shapes and slowly refined. Other times the sketch is done in pencil and generalized forms are slowly developed. A light series of cross hatched lines indicates shadows and planes of the face.

Figure 2

The sketch is fixed and then a very diluted wash of oil paint and turpentine is applied over the board. Occasionally, a rag is used to gently pat the surface if a less textured result is desired. The board is allowed to completely dry. (fig. 1)

Linseed oil is introduced gradually more and more into the linseed oil painting medium.  I begin painting in the large masses by establishing the major shadows, mid tone and light areas of the subject. Major value changes are adjusted and their relationship to each other is continually evaluated and adjusted. Often the background color will influence the skin tone and tonality in the clothing area. Many times the color of the background is brought into the color of the flesh, hair and clothing to help harmonize the colors. After the major forms of the face are established, I begin exploring the smaller planes of the face, taking care to observe the variation of edges and color changes within a form. (fig. 2)

Figure 3

The image is slowly built up with thicker layers of paint, less medium and more paint is used. Shadows are glazed down with more medium, while highlights are built up with thicker paint. The various layers which are cross hatched across the form begins to create a luminosity similar to that achieved in watercolor . Subtle changes in value and color are observed and recorded while allowing other areas of the painting to be less defined and more expressive. The work is allowed to dry completely  and a final varnish is applied. (fig. 3)”

Written by Mark Battista
www.markbattista.com

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Featured Artist: Ian Bodnaryk

Salama, 11″ x 14″, acrylic

I have found that Ampersand panels are unmatched and provide the ideal painting substrate for my high detailed work.  I previously made my own panels, but found that I could rarely get a flawless surface.  With Ampersand Museum Series panels, I receive an ideal texture with little to no fuss.”  ~Ian Bodnaryk

Inquisition, 15″ x 20″, acrylic

Canadian artist, Ian Bodnaryk has been working in acrylics for more than 20 years, and it is evident, from the scrupulous detail in his work and the careful planning of the design, that each piece is constructed with skillful precision and thoughtfulness. Ian began his career in realism, enjoying the natural beauty in an object, even if one might find the subject ordinary or mundane. “I love the challenge of turning objects around my home into dramatic icons, while retaining the simplicity or humor of the subject,” he explains.

Choosing to work in acrylics was natural for Ian, as he learned how to paint and found his style with them, gathering along the way that they achieve the results he needs.  With the quick drying time, Ian can focus on one piece at a time, his working preference.  For a time, Ian made his own panels, but struggled to get a flawless surface. Considering the reviews of fellow Scratchbord artists, Ian decided to try Ampersand’s panels. He found that the high quality met his needs without much preparation. 

The Contemplation of Daniel, 20″ x 16″, acrylic,
Kingston Prize Finalist


Ian explains his process using Hardbord™, the unprimed, museum quality board Ampersand sells. “When using unprimed Hardbord, I will first seal the surface with two coats of GAC100. After an appropriate amount of drying time, I begin the priming process. I normally thin the gesso by about 20%.  I apply the gesso with a 2″ hake brush using criss-cross brush strokes. After each coat is applied, I will use a hair dryer to speed up the drying process.  Once the gesso is dry and cool, I will sand the surface using a 200 grit sanding block to eliminate all the brush marks. This process is repeated 6 to 8 times. The last two coats, I will normally tint the gesso with my background color. When using a board that is not cradled, I will apply several coats to the back of the panel to eliminate any warping.” After completing a painting, Ian does varnish with a spray varnish, he shares, “Varnishing is the key to maintain the life, vibrancy, and safety of your piece.”


Earlier this year, Ian became one of 30 finalists of the Kingston Prize, a biennial national competition for contemporary portraits by Canadian artists.  To see Ian’s work in person, you can visit The Art Gallery of Calgary in Alberta, Canada where his work as part of the Kingston Prize exhibit will be on display through January 25, 2014.


To view more of Ian’s work online, you can visit his website at:  www.ianbodnaryk.com or find him on Facebook:  facebook.com/ibodnaryk

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.