Top 10 reasons artists should use Ampersand panels

Artists ask us why they should paint on panels and specifically why Ampersand products over other brands. We compiled our top ten reasons and advantages of painting on rigid Ampersand panels.


1. Well-prepared rigid panels are undeniably the best support for your artwork

It is extremely difficult, especially over time, for a stretched canvas to support thick layers of oil, acrylic paints, or alkyds without cracking the paint film. Stretched canvas is much more susceptible to atmospheric changes in moisture and temperature, which affects your artwork’s stability over time.

Rigid substrates, on the other hand, can support thick layers of heavy-bodied paints without damage. We find many great examples of paintings on prepared wood panels from the 3rd and 4th centuries that are still intact without a paint film cracking. Many "old masters" painted on board, including DaVinci, Rafael, and Rembrandt.


2. Panels can support any paint medium

You can apply any medium to one of Ampersand’s panels: pastel, charcoal, acrylic, oil, watercolor, gouache, alkyd, casein, ink, oil pastel, oil bar, encaustic, egg tempera, and more. Or customize your surface for your preferred media by preparing one of our unprimed wood panels.

For tips on which panel might be right for you, discover your perfect artist panel here.


3. Ampersand engineers its high-density hardboard for strength and stability

Ampersand makes all of its Museum Series panels with premium US-made hardboard with a high-density fiber core engineered for maximum dimensional stability, moisture, and warp resistance.

All hardboard is not alike. Ampersand’s Hardbord significantly outperforms MDF and raw wood panels in eliminating panel warping and bowing.


4. Ampersand’s patented Archiva-Seal™ barrier technology protects your artwork for decades to come

All wood panels should be sealed before applying the painting ground and before painting on the surface.

Have you ever used a pure white gesso ground directly on wood only to discover that it looks yellow or marbled? These phenomena will not happen with Ampersand’s acid-free surfaces.

Ampersand properly seals its Hardbord supports with Archiva-Seal. Only Ampersand uses this unique patented barrier technology to seal the hardboard, preventing any support-induced discoloration and any separation of the painting ground from the panel.


5. Ampersand’s surfaces are completely acid-free

Every single ground Ampersand uses is acid-free and long-lasting, from the smooth, absorbent clay ground of Claybord to the bright acrylic gesso ground of Gessobord.


6. Choose from a wide variety of finishes and textures without having to seal and prime

Gessobord, Claybord, Encausticbord, Pastelbord, Scratchbord, Aquabord, Primed Smooth, and Primed Canvas Texture are all ready to use right away without the need to seal, prime, and gesso the panel. However, if you do want to prepare and apply your own ground, you can use Ampersand Hardbord, Unprimed Basswood or Birch Wood Panel and enjoy the benefits of our high-quality materials.


7. Many popular standard sizes and profiles

Ampersand has a wide variety of sizes up to 48x72 and profiles up to 2.5" on select panels.


8. Easy to frame – or not!

There is no need to frame our cradled panels because they are ready to hang as soon as the painting is complete. Our Primed Smooth and Primed Canvas Texture panels also come in an exclusive 3/8" profile with a convenient built-in keyhole hanger making it fast and easy to display your artwork.

Ampersand Museum Series cradled support frames are handcrafted with 13-ply stable Birch plywood. You can paint, stain, wax, or leave the cradles unfinished.


9. Made from FSC-certified sustainable US forest products

Using wood panels can be daunting, knowing that trees are processed to make them. Ampersand is acutely aware of this potential drain on our environment. Ampersand is acutely aware of this potential drain on our environment. Although more expensive, this is why we choose FSC-certified wood products that are renewable and sustainable.

FSC-certification is the most effective environmental standard for protecting wildlife, soil, and water quality. Ampersand also manufactures its Hardbord using a completely green process: we use no harmful chemicals, create no hazardous waste, and no gas emissions exist for the artist.


10. Handmade in the USA!

All Museum Series panels are handcrafted in Buda, Texas (just south of Austin) providing manufacturing jobs in our community and the highest quality handmade products for artists everywhere. The attention to detail and quality control is unmatched. See more about our quality and craftsmanship here.

Ampersand builds our panels using only high-quality materials and processes deliberately chosen and designed with the artist in mind. You can rest assured that your work will last for many years to come when your work is on an Ampersand panel!


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