Current Shows

Due to the Corona virus, the Surface Design workshop has been postponed until this summer. The new date for it will be announced when the Art House re-opens.


I'll be teaching this one-day workshop on March 14, 2020 at the Art House! Learn to design your own unique papers and other materials for collage, card making, scrap booking, journal making etc. I supply all the materials. All you need to bring is a sack lunch and a beverage. Hours are 10-4; fee is $90 per person. Register online at or call 678-543-5777. Act now! Seating is limited!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Artist Tip: The Unlimited Versatility of Cradled Wood Panels

There are so many choices for artists when it comes to supports: canvas, cradled wood panels, wood panels without cradles, watercolor paper, bristol board...the list seems endless.When choosing supports, an often overlooked issue is whether there's enough space in the studio to store them.

A small collage affixed to a cradled wood panel

A side view. This particular panel is two inches deep, allowing the collage to be displayed  on a shelf , mantel or table as well as on a wall.

The back side of the collage shown above. Cradled wood panels also make fine shadow boxes.

I love to use cradled wood panels for my work. But my studio is limited on storage space, and cradled panels -- even the slim, three-quarter inch deep ones -- do gobble up a lot of space. The solution that works well for me is to first create my paintings or collages on heavy (140# or 300#) watercolor paper or matboard. I then decide which of them is worthy of being mounted on a cradled panel. Those that don't make the cut are put back in the drawer.

In my studio, one drawer of a storage cabinet is dedicated to storing works on paper. The works are  stored flat with sheets of freezer paper (and sometimes wax paper) sandwiched between each layer. The shallow drawer can easily hold dozens of finished works, whereas, if I had painted all of them directly onto cradled panels, several linear feet of shelf space would be needed to house them.That's storage I simply do not have.

Affixing only one's best works onto the panels keeps costs low because fewer panels are needed. Why have money tied up in inventory unnecessarily?

Cradled panels offer artists an extraordinary degree of flexibility:

1. When turned over, the recessed area in back can function as an attractive shadow box to hold assemblages and other dimensional art.

2. An unframed canvas, a smaller cradled panel, a work on MDF or other substrate can be mounted within the recessed area. The effect is every bit as appealing as having something professionally framed, but at a fraction of the cost.

3. Unhappy with a painting done on a cradled wood panel? Just sand it off and start over!

4. Deeper versions make wonderful drawer dividers that are heavier and more economical than typical plastic dividers. They do a great job of holding socks, jewelry, ties and other wardrobe accessories.

I find cradled wood panels to be easier to work with than canvas.They're much sturdier, and therefore are less susceptible to damage or rough handling when art must travel to shows or be shipped to remote destinations. Mounting watercolor paper to canvas is certainly do-able, but it's a more tedious process because the canvas must be supported from beneath as the paper is applied and a brayer used to press out any bubbles in the glue. Made of fabric, canvases can be punctured or torn all too easily.

So how does one adhere works on paper to a cradled wood panel? My next post will reveal everything you need to know, including secrets for achieving a flawless, professional-looking finish. So stay tuned!

Text and images ©2017 Lynn Edwards

1 comment:

  1. This is all new information to me, Lynn, and very helpful! I look forward to the next post. Thanks!