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All Things Ampersand

The Artist Panel: Unprimed Basswood

The Unprimed Basswood panel is handcrafted using a non-flexible basswood top, sanded perfectly smooth and ready to seal and prime with the ground of your choice. Compared with other wood panels on the market, the Unprimed Basswood is sanded perfectly smooth and lacks plywood seams, knots or raised fibers providing the cleaner, more professional look artists’ want. The support frames are made with quality solid pine strips that can be finished with paint or stain. Unprimed Basswood is great for encaustic, mixed media, collage and wood engraving and accepts all types of painting grounds .


All wood should be sealed and primed. For further instructions on sealing a priming, visit these previous blog posts:  
Available in two standard cradled profiles, 7/8” and 1.5”, both are simple to hang or frame.  You can find a chart on the standard sizes here:  Standard Sizes for Unprimed Basswood.  Ultra-stable, these wood panels will not give, bend or flex and like all Ampersand’s panels, they are made with quality materials that have been tested not only for durability, but also for performance with artists’ paints. For ideas on how to treat the edges of the cradle, consult this article on hanging and framing.


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.

Sealing and Varnishing Art Work on Ampersand Panels

Sealing and varnishing finished artwork on Ampersand panels is extremely important especially when framing without glass. Be sure to select a varnish that is appropriate to the type of paint you are using. Provided below are a few basic suggestions for sealing and varnishing several popular mediums using products we have successfully tried and tested on our panels.

Watercolors & Gouache


Seal watercolors or gouache with several light coats of spray varnish (or fixative), being careful to spray outdoors during warmer months or in a well ventilated and heated area during colder times of the year. We recommend the Krylon® UV Archival varnishes.These spray varnishes offer advanced non-yellowing protection against fading, dirt, moisture and discoloration. The Krylon® UV Archival varnishes contain superior levels of UV light absorbers and are removable for conservation purposes. For additional protection against scratches during transport and also ultraviolet light, follow the application of Krylon® spray varnish with Golden® MSA UVLS or Golden® Polymer UVLS varnish. About 4 coats brushed-on, provides a very durable archival finish and is also removable for conservation purposes.
Oils


 

Ampersand panels do not lessen the drying time required for oil paints before varnishing. Allow the oil painting to dry for 3-6 months before applying the varnish. A good choice is Gamblin’s Gamvar that is easily applied using a soft natural hair brush. Unlike varnishes made from natural resins like Damar and mastic, Gamvar does not yellow with age or become more difficult to remove. It contains a UV stabilizer and offers some measure of protection to less lightfast pigments, depending on how heavily it is applied. For tips on application, Gamblin offers this video demonstration.

Acrylics

For Acrylic paintings, a light coat of an acrylic varnish like Golden® MSA UVLS or Golden® Polymer UVLS varnish is advised. Problems such as smoke damage, handling blemishes and dust or dirt accumulation on the surface of the painting can be removed along with either varnish type. Golden® varnishes offer protection from UltraViolet (UV) rays generated from the sun and consolidate the artwork with an even sheen. Gloss varnishes can intensify colors while Matte or Satin Varnishes soften the color and minimize glare. Alternatively, Gamblin’s Gamvar [see varnishing oils] can effectively be used to varnish acrylic paintings.  

This is a Golden video on the Proper Spray Application of MSA varnish
Pastels

Sealing pastels with spray fixative tends to dull the color of the pigments, so we recommend all pastels be framed under glass. The glass protects the fragile nature of the pastels while also keeping their colors true to life. For tips on matting and framing pastels, consult this article.
Sealing Scratchbord™ (formerly Claybord Black)

Seal finished Scratchbord™ art with a spray fixative like Krylon® UV Resistant Clear Coating  or use the Krylon® UV Archival Spray Varnish. The fixative [or spray varnish] will dissolve fingerprints or smudges and will protect the surface from dirt and moisture. For best results, first remove all loose dust and debris from the surface with a soft brush. Then, spray with 2 – 3 coats [as directed on can] in a warm, well ventilated environment during low humidity.