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Reconstructed Stories: a unique approach to Ampersand 2in Deep Gessobord


My artwork falls somewhere between the worlds of painting, photography and collage. Ampersand™ Gessobord™ panels have the strength, beauty and archival integrity to support the marriage of these techniques and processes.

I begin each piece with a photographic image. Using an ink jet printer with archival pigment-based inks, I print out the image onto one of Canson’s® Infinity papers made for digital printing. I cut off the white border and any other part of the image that I don’t want to use. In this case, I printed the image slightly wider than the 12"x12" front of the Gessobord, so I cut a strip off the print’s left edge and set it aside to be used later.


(1) I first apply an even layer of Lineco® Neutral pH adhesive to the back of the print and then position it carefully on the panel’s surface. Using a rubber brayer, I apply pressure rolling from the center out to the edges. This squeezes out any air bubbles that might be trapped under the print ensuring a smooth surface to paint on and a secure bond between paper and panel. If any adhesive is pushed out during this process, I simply wipe it off with a damp paper towel.

Although the adhesive sets up pretty quickly, I prefer to place a stack of heavy mdf panels or phone books on top and let them sit overnight. Unlike stretched canvas, the Gessobord panels are rigid and sturdy enough to withstand this kind of pressure without bending or stretching.

Reconstruction One of my favorite things about the 2" cradled Gessobord panels is that I can continue my work on all of its sides. In this case, I took the strip I had cut off from the original print and adhered it to the panel’s left side.

(2) Once the adhesive has thoroughly dried, I prepare the paper surface for painting by applying a thin layer of Daniel Smith Acrylic Matte Medium using a 2" wash brush. It dries quickly and makes the paper much easier to paint. Any exposed surface of the Gessobord is already primed and sealed so it needs no preparation.


(3) Using a combination of Golden® fluid acrylics and Daniel Smith Ultimate™ Acrylics, I paint directly upon the surface of the photographic print, continuing beyond its borders onto the panel’s exposed surface and its four sides. I paint out anything that feels unnecessary or distracting in the original image and enhance the parts that resonate with me. By the time I am finished, little of the original photographic print remains visible.


(4&5) In this piece, I began by mounting the entire image to the panel, but in many of my other paintings, I cut away parts of the print first in order to break the boundaries of the rectangular photograph. Here I chose to manipulate the edges and surface by adhering strips of paper and canvas to the front and sides of the piece. Once the adhesive dried, I painted them back into the image.


The final painting tells its reconstructed story through the layers of cut prints, accumulated brush strokes and tiny bits of the photographic imagery peeking through. As the viewer moves from one side of the painting to the other, more is revealed and perspectives shift as the painting continues on each of the panel’s four sides. The result is a painting that is starting to leave the world of 2-D on its way to something much more sculptural.


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Matte, Pint, DANIEL SMITH Ultimate Acrylic Medium
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DANIEL SMITH Platinum Series 23 Synthetic Multi-Media Brush, Angle 1/4in
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DANIEL SMITH Platinum Series 40 Short Handle White Taklon Multi-Media Brush, Round #000
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DANIEL SMITH Platinum Series 40 Short Handle White Taklon Multi-Media Brush, Wash 2 in
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