Ampersand Panels: Painting on Rigid Supports
Ampersand panels have been around since 1994, gaining popularity with artists over the years as a trusted archival surface for their art.
Since Ampersand began, the company's mission has been to create the best painting surfaces on the market and to share its panel expertise with the artist community. Since each panel from Ampersand has unique characteristics and uses, we'll go through them one by one so you can see the differences and understand what mediums work best with each.
The Museum Series panels from Ampersand are all fully made in the USA from US-grown renewable wood sources and sealed with Archiva-Seal™ barrier technology to protect against support-induced discoloration. In addition, all of the grounds used on the panels are archival, pH neutral and non-yellowing, so your work will be around for years to come. Only Ampersand uses top quality birch plywood for the cradled profiles that can be painted, stained or waxed for a frame-free presentation. The panels are available in a wide variety of sizes and profiles; one will certainly suit your artistic preference!
Besides all the known advantages of painting on wood panels, Ampersand panels are easy to frame and hang just like any stretched canvas or paper substrate. What make Ampersand panels distinctly different are their extraordinary painting surfaces unavailable from any other source.
Ampersand Gessobord is the perfectly-sanded finish for oils and acrylics, casein or alkyds.
The rigid support is durable enough for heavy layering or palette knife work without paint cracking, peeling or support-induced discoloration. The acrylic gesso finish has a titanium white ground designed to enhance your paint colors. Gessobord is available in 1/8" flat, 3/4" cradle, new 1.5" cradle and 2" deep cradle.
Ampersand Pastelbord is the only pastel surface ideally suited for working wet or dry when layering pastels. The boards are coated with a clay and gesso ground with a granular marble finish, available in Sand, Grey, Green and White colors. Pastelbord also makes a unique surface for acrylics, as the paint stays wet longer than on a gesso ground and the colored tones create a ready-made under-painting surface. With colored pencil, you can endlessly apply layer after layer to get high definition detail. Available in a 1/8" flat profile.
Ampersand Aquabord (or Claybord Textured) is comparable to cold press watercolor paper in absorbency and texture, but colors come out richer and more vibrant. The surface is naturally more forgiving than paper as it can be reworked and re-wetted, allowing for the lifting of color even when dry. Available in 1/8" flat and 2" deep cradle profiles. Learn some helpful tips on using Aquabord here.
Ampersand Encausticbord has a specific ground formulated for the distinctive traits of encaustic, highly porous and more textured than traditional acrylic gesso. It is heat resistant and holds well to encaustic wax without cracking and is compatible not only with mixed media and image transfer, but also oils and water miscible paints. Available in 1/8" and ¼" flat profiles, 7/8" traditional, 1.5" gallery and 2" deep cradled profiles.
Top five reasons to use Encausticbord featuring Lisa Pressman:
- 1. Convenience
- 2. Unique surface
- 3. Multimedia compatible
- 4. Absorbent, durable, and tested
- 5. Great for teaching, demos, workshops
The Natural Wood Panels are new members to the Ampersand line, ideal for those interested in using their own priming and sealing methods. The plywood surface is sanded perfectly smooth so you won't experience fiber raising or excessive wood grain when applying gesso. The panels are tested for durability and warp-resistance, and accept all types of painting grounds. They are great for encaustic, collage, mixed media, heavy paint and palette knife work or to mount canvas, paper, photos and prints. All unprimed wood panels should be sealed first with Golden® GAC100 before applying the painting grounds or mounting prints. Encaustic acts as its own wood sealer, therefore the wood does not require priming beforehand. Available in 7/8" traditional and 1.5" profiles. Instructions for sealing and priming wood panels can be found here.
Ampersand's Value Series Artist Panels in both Smooth and Canvas versions are ideal for those who want all the benefits of painting on panel without a big price tag. The panels are ready to paint and feature an acrylic gesso finish, either sanded perfectly smooth or with a raised fabric texture for the sense of painting on canvas. The panels work well for oils, acrylics and mixed media with both fine and heavy paint applications and also palette knife work. The canvas texture version is available in 3/8" flat panel with hanging slots, 3/4" traditional cradle profile and 1.5" gallery profile. Smooth texture is available in 1/8" flat profile.
For more information on Ampersand panels, as well as projects and technical articles, refer to Ampersand's blog and website.
Have you used Ampersand panels? What are your thoughts and comments. Please let us know below in the comments!