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painting on panels

i prepared a wooden panel at home.plyboard and gesso. but painting on it was very awkward as it didnt hold the brushstrokes.the oil paint was soaking do u guys paint on these rigid panels.or maybe i am preparing thhe panels in a wrong way.
 :) .seeing forward for replies.


  • No. How many layers of gesso did you put on plywood? Oil paint doesn't soak into my MDF panels which is like water thirsty.

  • hussain

    A woooden panel is like a sponge. Seal back, front and sides with a good primer to seal against humidity.
    Coat front with at least two finely sanded layers of gesso. Finally a toning layer with acrylic or oil paint.


  • Hey! I only paint in wood panels until now, I seal it with rabbit glue (but u can use vinilic glue as well) than I apply the gesso, and later acrilic or oil paint if u want a less adsorbent surface, for example white and burnt sienna or follow the DMP recipe.
  • Bob

    Quote from Wikipedia entry on Rabbit Skin Glue:

    Rabbit skin glue is considered to be a major cause of cracking in oil paintings by most modern conservators. Because the glue is hygroscopic, it continually absorbs moisture from the atmosphere, causing the glue to swell and shrink as ambient humidity levels change. Over many humidity cycles, this repeated flexing causes the brittle oil paint to crack. Modern substitutes for rabbit skin glue are available, such as Gamblin’s PVA size [2] and Golden Acrylics’ GAC100. These substitutes do not have the hygroscopic properties of rabbit skin glue, while still being very slightly hygroscopic, and should not cause the damage to oil paints that rabbit skin glue does. However, these modern replacements do not stiffen and tighten the canvas as well as rabbit skin glue does, so some artists still prefer to use rabbit skin glue.


  • Yes @dencal I knew it...I think this problem is enhanced ragarding canvases more than panels, for this I suggest Vinilic glue as well, I use  it because my brother use animal glue (which is reversible with hot water) for his instruments so I have that at the moment plus I like to use old recipe from books :) but u are right if someone wants to avoid this problems can use synthetic products less hygroscopic, even if only God knows what will happen with those in some centuries, because even if it's true the degradation ratio can be extrapolated from modern materials, I think long term interaction like contact with wood, oil paint and other chemicals into the painting cannot be predictable. Btw it's an interesting topic, thanks for pointing it :)
  • @Kaustav 3 layers.

    should i keep my layer of gesso like thick or maybe dilute a bit and go for more layers
  • Lightly sand with fine sandpaper to break the surface and give a bit of "tooth", then seal with shellac. Love shellac! It's bugtastic. Seal the back side and edges too. More here:

  • Thank you all for replying
    Just shellac? 
  • No - as the link says, seal the surface with shellac, then put a couple of coats of gesso on top. If you just put gesso on hardboard you risk the oils leaching through over the years. Not archival unless you seal first.
  • I have painted on five wood panels (about to start another)  - I use Acrylic burnt umber stain x three or four coats, or until it stops soaking in  - my panels are smooth and per-sanded so I just coat and do not sand in between  - no issues so far.
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