Cradled panels are wooden boards used as a surface for artwork. The panels are mounted on a ‘cradle’, a frame that is similar to the frame on a stretched canvas. They come in the ¾” and 1½” thickness, just like canvas, and can be hung with or without frames.
The wood is unfinished and depending on your application, requires sealing and prepping before working on. The edges are a little rough. If you’re planning on not framing them, you want to make sure you give them a good sanding, and they’ll need painting.
I have used both the flat panels and the new ones with a raised edge which is particularly suited for fluid mediums, like pouring medium, or encaustic.
I use the flat panels to mount works on paper. After sealing the finished work front and back, I simply glue the work to the panel using gloss medium or gel. You need to apply pressure to insure that the work is properly adhered; I do that by turning the work over onto a non-stick surface like parchment paper, or butcher paper; I then put something heavy on top, like books, and leave it to dry overnight. I haven’t had any problems with this method. I finish the works by painting the edges black.
PANELS WITH RAISED EDGE
More recently, I’ve been working with the panels with the raised edge. I’ve been working with pouring medium and they seemed ideally suited to that purpose. It’s been quite an adventure as I experienced a variety of problems.
• The wood is raw and must be ‘prepared’. That means sealing the wood, and then applying a ground before painting on it. Even though I sealed the panels with GAC700 (a sealing compound recommended at the art store) and then applied gesso or white paint, I experienced some swelling of the wood, resulting in bowing in the middle of the panel.
• When preparing the panels, it is very necessary to sand before, after, and between coats, because even though you are ‘sealing’ the wood, it still raises the grain of the wood and makes for a rough surface.
• The raised edge of these panels is not included in the size, ie a 12×12 panel is 12×12 inside of the raised edges. That means that these do not quite fit inside of a standard 12×12 frame, so framing is trickier.
• The panels tend not to be quite level. If you’re working with a fluid medium, which these panels are intended for, you have to level them by wedging things under the sides or corners, and you really need to use a level every which way, to make sure they’re level. Otherwise, your fluid medium will slowly slide all to one side, with some unexpected and unwanted results.
I am quite happy using the flat panels for mounting works on paper. However, I will not use these panels for painting on. They are just too much trouble and results are somewhat unpredictable.
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” (Pablo Picasso)