Through There, 2007, Oil on Panel, 18x24
Ok, last week, several people, including Michelle, Janet and Kim, asked about my panels, so I said I would write about them in a post. However, the whole topic seemed familiar and so I looked through my archives and found two posts that discuss switching over to birch panels, after having used gessobord panels for quite some time. At first I bought several large ones to work on, you can read about my panic attack concerning the scale here. And then last year I began to exclusively use the birch panels and I wrote about that here.
And with that bit of background info I will explain why I have my panels made for me, rather than buying them at a wonderfully low price in a Home Depot. Mostly it's because rather than framing my work, (I do not think my paintings look good with a frame) I prefer the cradled panels. Which leads me to reason #2: In many ways I am a full out girly-girl. While technically I know my way around a woodshop, I really prefer not to have to actually do work in one. The dust, the noise, the possibility of losing a body part, ick. Um, and I don't have a workshop anyway. AND there is no way that I could ever possibly have enough time to build nearly 200 cradled panels each year either. Even if I did have enough time, I have about a million other things I'd rather do. In theory, I'd like to be that self-sufficient but instead, I must comfort myself with the knowledge that I am helping to keep others afloat in their professions and so most of my panel business goes to Soho Artist Materials in New York City. They have been great to work with and I can't tell you how exciting it still is to get a batch of new panels from them. They are so beautifully finished and so full of promise! As I said they are a bit pricey, for example an 18x24 costs $40, but since I don't have any framing costs, that price becomes much more reasonable, and my time involved in painting the cradles and putting the hangers on etc, is fairly minimal. However the prep is kind of a pain in the neck. I apply two coats of clear polyurethane to the backs and two coats of wood primer on the front and sides, sanding between each coat. And then I apply a coat of gesso to the painting surface. If I really keep at it I can do a table full of panels in a day, but more often it gets spread out over a few days or even a week sometimes. My son is going to work as my assistant next summer and prepping panels will be his very first job!
So that's my panel story and I am sticking to it. And to follow up on the painting that the 48x60 panel became in the post linked above, the image was a barn and was not hung in the show that it was intended for, as the gallery director didn't like it. It then went to another show where it didn't sell and proving that third time is the charm, it finally did sell last summer at yet another show. The other large panel sold last summer as well, as a sort of commission. I feel like I dodged a bullet by getting those two huge panels sold and out of the studio!