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encausticbord - Ampersand wood panel with a mixed media painting surface
encausticbord wordtype logo

True Support of Encaustics & Mixed Media!

An Archival New Panel Made for the Unique Demands of Encaustic Painting

Only Encausticbord has a ready to use surface formulated for the unique demands of encaustic painting and mixed media. Encaustic gesso is applied to Ampersand’s sealed Hardbord panel to form a bright, smooth and velvety surface that is ready to use with the ancient technique of encaustic painting. The ground is not only heat resistant and highly absorbent, but also holds tight to layers of wax and collage without the fear of cracking or separation. Encausticbord is available in 5 profiles: 1/8” flat, ¼” flat, 7/8” cradle, 1.5” cradle and 2” deep cradle.

A Creative Collaboration between Ampersand and R&F Handmade Paints

This creative collaboration began in 2008 when the two manufacturers, authorities in their respective fields of wood painting panels and encaustic paint colors, started working together to dream up the perfect surface for encaustic paints. This combination of Ampersand’s archival panel coating technology and R&F’s expertise in encaustics led to Encausticbord, a unique wood panel that has the tooth to hold encaustic and mixed media unlike any other surface.

Why do you need a surface for encaustic?

Richard Frumess from R&F Handmade paints explains: “When I began painting in encaustic in the early eighties, one of my first questions was “What can I paint on?” In 1988, I began building a business manufacturing encaustic paint and in 23 years, this question remains one of the most commonly asked. The answer has been that a support should be dimensionally stable. It should be as absorbent as possible. It should be heat resistant. Plywoods and hardboards were able to fill this purpose. If you wanted a white background however, you would have to mount watercolor paper to your panel or use the labor-intensive rabbit skin glue gesso method. Happily, when we joined forces with Ampersand, we were able to craft a one-word answer: Encausticbord. Encausticbord comes with a smooth uniform white ground with the tooth and absorbency of traditional glue gesso, but it is also a multimedia board that allows you to use oil paint or aqueous paints, either alone or as under-layers for encaustic.”

Through months of exhaustive research and testing, Ampersand and R&F ensured that encaustic paints adhered exceptionally well to this new painting ground and that Encausticbord was the most archival and dimensionally stable panel available. The ultimate goal was to provide a surface that would give encaustic artists the opportunity to expand their artistic voice. With Encausticbord, artists have the freedom to use encaustics in combination with other mediums without the fear that their panel will not stand up to the unique demands of mixed-media applications.

About the Encausticbord Surface

The Encausticbord ground has been specially formulated to provide superb adhesion between the encaustic paint and the surface. The ground is formulated with a very high solids to acrylic binder ratio which results in a very porous and absorbent surface. This highly absorbent surface allows the wax to bond well to the ground. In addition, mineral aggregates are carefully selected in size and shape and added to the ground to yield a surface with a higher degree of surface roughness than typical acrylic gesso, which allows for better adhesion of encaustic. In contrast, a regular acrylic gesso is not a good ground for encaustic because it is less absorbent and has a higher acrylic binder content to allow for the flexibility of canvas. Therefore, artists should always ensure that they are using a ground that is very absorbent such as the Encausticbord ground for encaustic painting.

Ideal for all Types of Encaustics, Oils, Image-transfers and Collage

Professional encaustic painters attest to how exceptionally well Encausticbord works when used alone with encaustic paint or in combination with a wide variety of mixed media techniques including collage, oil paints and oil sticks, image transfers and incising. Encausticbord makes it easy to create incredible textures, colors and patterns because of its remarkably receptive surface.

About Encaustic Paint

What makes encaustic uniquely different from all other mediums is its use of heat. The paint, comprised of beeswax, damar resin and powdered pigment, is applied molten and then re-heated. Encaustic reaches its permanent state upon cooling. This process allows for a dazzling array of effects and textures not possible with any other medium.

A Little History

Greek artists as far back as the 5th century B.C. practiced encaustic painting. The word "encaustic" comes from Greek and means to “burn in”, which refers to the process of fusing the paint. Perhaps the best known of all encaustic works are the Fayum funeral portraits painted in the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D. by Greek painters in Egypt. In the 20th century, the availability of portable electric heating implements and the variety of tools has made encaustic a far less formidable technique. This factor has created a resurgence of encaustic painting, and it is once again taking its place as a major artists' medium. Alfonso Ossorio, Jasper Johns, Lynda Benglis, Robert Morris, and Nancy Graves are prominent among the many artists who turned encaustic into a modernist and cross-disciplinary medium.

More Info on Using encausticbord

Standard Sizes Available

1/8" & 1/4" flat
2.5x3.5-­5pk
5x5-­4pk
5x7-­3pk
6x6-­4pk
6x8-­3pk
8x8
8x10
9x12
10x10
11x14
12x12
7/8" cradled
5x5
6x6
8x8
8x10
9x12
10x10
11x14
12x12
12x16
16x20
18x24
1 1/2" cradled
6x6
6x12
6x24
8x8
8x10
9x12
10x10
11x14
12x12
12x16
16x16
16x20
18x18
18x24
24x24
24x36
30x30
2" cradled
6x6
6x12
6x24
8x8
8x10
10x10
11x14
12x12
12x16
16x16
16x20
18x18
18x24
24x24
30x30
30x40
36x36
36x48

For information about custom sizes please contact us at bords@ampersandart.com

Artwork in the banner at the top of this page is a detail of artwork by Laura Moriarty, encaustic paints, image transfer and collage on encausticbord.