In the past, I painted on stretched canvas, gessoed Masonite boards, and other wood panels for a very long time. Then, I discovered Ampersand panels about ten years ago when I was first introduced to encaustic. I purchased some small 5”x7” Claybords to use for experiments and ended up doing a series on them using vintage postcards and encaustic.
“Arrived Alright”, 5”x7” postcards and encaustic on Claybord, 2003
Around the same time, I began using the cradled Claybords for my oil paintings. I loved drawing with charcoal on the clay surface and also rubbing thin layers of oil paint to achieve a luminous light.
Lisa Pressman, “At the Moment”,
24”x24”, oil on Claybord™, 2005.
Lisa Pressman, “Walking the Line”,
36”x36”, oil on Claybord™, 2010.
Today, in the studio, I have 4 – 36”x36” cradled Claybords up and working for my upcoming show at The Rosenfeld Gallery in Philadelphia, January 2011.
Recently, I was asked by Ampersand to try out their new product specifically made for encaustics called, Encausticbord.They wanted to see what I thought of their new product in comparison to the Claybord I have been using over the years. Happily, I created a list of my top five favorite things about this new surface to share with you.
Top five reasons to use Encausticbord
I love when I bring home my nicely packaged and ready to paint Encausticbords. I am so busy with the multitasking of a studio practice, my art business, teaching, and family responsibilities, the faster I get going in my studio, the better. No building, no sanding, no gesso, no drying…just get working. They are gallery ready. Paint, wire, deliver, done!
2. The Surface
The surface of the new Encausticbord™ is very smooth, easy to draw on and whiter than white. It is as great as the Claybord to draw on, but more absorbent with more tooth, so the inks, charcoals and pastels really soak in as opposed to on the Claybord where their tendency is to “slide” across the surface. When you apply wax to the Encausticbord™, the light showing through the layers is bright white vs. the soft eggshell or cream color of the Claybord.
3. Multimedia Compatible
In my work, I combine wax, ink, charcoal, collage, soft pastels, R and F pigment sticks and oils. I have found that all of these materials respond beautifully to the Encausticbord™ surface.
4. Absorbent, Durable and Tested
I like to know that I am using a product that is tested for absorbency, durability and archival quality. The ground was tested by both R&F Handmade Paints and Ampersand, so I am confident that there will not be any cracking. It is also resistant to extreme heat from not only heat guns, but also torches. The larger panels are structurally braced, so I haven’t experienced any warping.
5. Great for teaching, demos, workshops
I have found that by using Encausticbord with beginning students, it eases the learning curve because it is already the right surface for encaustic and needs no preparation. There is no second-guessing as to whether or not the ground will perform.
She began her studies in ceramics, sculpture and painting at Douglass College, NJ and finished with a Bachelor of Art. Next, she received her MFA in painting from Bard College.For more information about the artist and her exhibition schedule, visit her website and her blog.