Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holders for Small Painting Panels

6" x 8" Panel Holder
Most of my pochade boxes hold two or three painting panels. That's usually enough for a day's worth of painting for me. For painting excursions lasting several days, I carry extra painting panels in panel holders. These same panel holders are also used for transporting wet paintings back home. Pictured above is a holder for 6" x 8" panels. The picture below shows how the panels slide into groves in the holder and are kept separated so wet paintings don't smear against each other.

6" x 8" Panel Holder with Two Panels
Here is a painting panel holder for 9" x 12" panels:

9" x 12" Panel Holder
9" x 12" Panel Holder with Three Painting Panels
I also have panel holders for 11" x 14" Panels. I have a few of each of these three sizes. They can be built to hold from one to a dozen panels and even more, Depending upon the painter's needs. I made mine rather slim so I can fit them into my day pack. That way I can fill up one panel holder with the day's wet paintings, return to the car, drop off the holder with the fresh paintings, grab the next panel holder full of new painting panels and head out the next day for more painting.

The three narrow sides (including the ones with the grooves) are made out of pine. The front and back are 1/4" Baltic birch ply. I considered using 1/8" Baltic birch but decided that was not strong enough for something that will be thrown into a back pack and have to take rough handling out in the field.

Besides size and the number of panels, another difference between the 6" x 8" panel holders and the larger size holders is how I cut the groves the panels slide into.

Closeup of 9" x 12" Panel Holder

The grooves in the 6" x 8" panel holders were cut with parallel sides. The grooves in the larger holders were cut with tapered sides (see above photo), creating less contact with paint on a finished wet painting. The tapered grooves can also be a little deeper allowing for differences in panel sizes between different brands of painting panels and still hold the panels securely. It's important that the wet paintings are held apart and do not come in contact with each other. I think the tapered groves are better, but the straight sided groves still work well enough.

Lids could be made for the panel holders to keep objects from accidentally falling in and messing up wet paintings inside the holders. I'm probably asking for trouble by not having lids for mine, but I'm not terribly worried about it and I can make lids for them any time.

Any two same size panel holders can be doubled up to hold larger size painting panels. The holders are then secured together with rubber bands. Have extra rubber bands on hand.
  • Two 6" x 8" holders will hold 8" x 10" panels.
  • Two 9" x 12" holders will hold 12" x 16" panels.
  • Two 11" x 14" holders will hold 14" x 18" panels, if I ever paint that size.

12" x 16" Panels Being Slid Inside Two 9" x 12" Panel Holders.
Two 9" x 12" Panel Holders Held Together with Rubber Band
12" x 16" size panels are starting to get a little big to fit into my pack. Sometimes I need to find another way to carry them. For the 16" x 20" and 18" x 24" painting panels I have a different kind of panel holder, but that's for another post.


My painting panel holders are pretty bland looking, but they suit my purposes just fine. You, however, can fancy up the ones you make with stickers or paint or whatever you like. Maybe paint a copy of your favorite Monet or Degas on them. Or maybe a reproduction of a French Rococo painting, if you're into that sort of thing. Perhaps something like the lovely couple with house scene shown above. If you're into abstract art, Karl Momen on your panel holder would be cool!

At this point I'm too busy painting on panels to paint on the holders.


Scott Ruthven said...

Hi James, I like this design. I made my own Pochade box with a panel carrier in the lid but I would also like some separate holders like these. In fact, I think I'll add a link from my blog post on Pochade boxes back to this article of yours.

Happy Holidays,
Scott Artist in Disguise

James Gunter said...

Hi Scott.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I'm glad you find this post useful. I saw your post about pochade boxes and tried to comment, but it didn't work for some reason? I'll try again later. Thanks for the link!