Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Panel Preparation: How I oil prime my wood panels

Lately I've been creating many of my smaller works on oil-primed panels that I've been preparing myself. The panels give me a rigid surface to paint on and have good tooth, allowing me to paint quickly.  It is wise to prime several panels at once, so that when they are dry and ready to go, you will have several panels to choose from.

1-  Using a table saw, cut down 1/4" birch plywood to size.
2- Sand each panel with 220 grit (fine tooth) sandpaper, making sure to sand along the grain.  It's important to get the edges smooth because they usually splinter a bit after cutting.  Wipe the sawdust off each board with a dust free rag.
3- Create Primer Mixture:  I use Grumbacher's Titanium White "MG Underpainting White" Quick drying Oil Paint.  Otherwise, I use regular Titanium White Artist Grade Oil Paint, but it has a slower drying time. Dilute the chosen paint with mineral spirits or odorless turpentine, mixing it in a small container with a palette knife until the paint has a loose consistency that can easily be painted onto the panel.
4-  Once the paint is ready, I use a flat 1" glazing brush by Windsor and Newton to paint on the ground.  Paint in one direction and try to level off the brushstrokes.  Let dry over night or possibly longer depending on humidity.
5-  Once dry, lightly sand surface with fine grit sandpaper.  Now it is ready for a second coat of primer applied in the opposite direction of the first coast.  Let dry and then lightly sand.  Depending on how smooth you want the surface to be, the panel is ready for use.
6-  For larger panels, it is wise to paint the sides and backsides of the panels as well, so they don't warp over time.

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