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All Things Ampersand

Priming Wood Panels with Acrylic Gesso

Priming Wood Panels with Acrylic Gesso

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 sealed. The answer is yes. If wood is not sized or sealed properly before applying gesso, yellowing can occur. This is because water (a solvent) can cause acids that occur naturally in wood to migrate to the surface. In fact, it is extremely important to properly seal all unprimed wood substrates to prevent support-induced discoloration that can cause your paint film to yellow over time.

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Project: Pin-ups

Back in the days when I got dressed up for my day-jobs as an art professor, graphic designer and copywriter I was known for my arty, eye-catching pins – kind of like Madeleine Albright, though she wore hers with Hermes scarves and I wore mine with quirky jackets from the Army/Navy surplus store!

I’m now happily semi-retired. I ‘commute’ down the stairs to my studio to work and my wardrobe is shorts and a T-shirt in the summertime, turtleneck, and jeans in winter. The pins went into retirement, tucked away in a drawer.  Continue Reading >>

Project: Klimt-ify It!

I’ve always loved Gustaf Klimt’s paintings. They’re filled with elaborate patterns and endless tiny details, along with lots and lots and LOTS of gold! I thought it would be fun to design a panel that channels my own inner Klimt. I hope you’ll join me.

I started with a 12” x 16 Unprimed Basswood Artist Panel from Ampersand Art Supply. Instead of a painting, I created a collage using torn papers, outline butterfly and leaf peel-offs, iridescent Mylar (Shimmer Sheetz), glittery stickers, leafy branch stickers, and pens – Gold, of course, plus black and white. And for the large gold circles, I incorporated dollar store bangles!
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Project: Make It Count

Though I taught drawing at The Corcoran College of Art and Design for many years, sometimes I just don’t feel like drawing. That’s when I reach for stencils. The same thought process applies: A basic idea for the outcome, a substrate, a color palette. I guess you could think of it as drawing with stencils instead of drawing with a pen or pencil.

I thought it would be fun to create a landscape but giving it a surprise twist. Initially, I thought that an oversized flower would be fun, but that seemed too obvious, so I went in a different direction. Continue Reading >>

Mounting Photographs to Ampersand Panels and Finishing with a Floaterframe!

Did you know that Ampersand panels are great for mounting photographs?  And when you match that with one of our new floaterframes you have a BEAUTIFUL presentation that makes a wonderful gift for that special someone. How cool is that? Continue Reading >>