A Creative Collaboration between Ampersand™ and R&F Handmade Paints 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 lead to Encausticbord™, a unique wood panel that has the tooth to hold encaustic and mixed media unlike any other surface.
Through months of exhaustive research and testing, Ampersand™ and R&F ensured that encaustic paints adhered exceptionally well to the 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.
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.
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. 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.
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.