Why I Paint on Canvas Panels

On Thin Ice

I do a lot of plein air painting and stretched canvases don’t fit the need. I carry everything I need to do a painting—paints, brushes, paper towels, brush cleaner, and panels to paint on—in a backpack. By necessity, plein air paintings are usually smaller than paintings done in a studio, because we also have to carry the paintings and supplies back to where our vehicles are parked. So when I do work in my studio, I paint on panels. It’s just easier.

Backpack Loaded
When my newest backpack was still new. 

All of my paintings, unless otherwise noted, are painted on cotton canvas that is attached to 1/8 inch MDF, a clean oil free board of uniform consistency with specially formulated pH neutral adhesive. To ensure balance the reverse side is covered with a gray melamine backing to prevent unequal stress on the panel and resist warping. This results in a panel that is sealed on both sides for a permanent barrier against deterioration from environmental conditions and handling. Conservators recommend painting on rigid supports.

“On Thin Ice” was painted for my grandson, who’s birthday is at the end of February, when hoarfrost often forms on trees that are near water.