"Dawn of Tang", oil on panel, 24x24
I'm really enjoying my body of work on horses. This painting is one of the most recent, titled "Dawn of Tang". Unlike most of my larger works, it's painted on a panel which I prepared with several coats of acrylic gesso.
Painting on on a hard surface such as this, rather than the oil primed stretched linen that I normally use, is a very different experience. The main difference is that stretched linen has a lovely spring to it which is felt in your brush as you make brushstrokes. In addition, the irregular weave of the linen is something that I truly savor. Conversely, I find the hard surface of the board/panel can be smoother and without the tooth of the linen weave, I often find it more difficult to get the paint on the surface.
When I gesso a panel, I like to use a bristle brush and apply the coat of gesso first in one direction and then after allowing it to dry, applying it in the opposing direction. I do this several times and find it actually does simulate the weave of the canvas to some extent.
A variety of prepared panels with linen or primers are readily available in art supply stores, but I so enjoy the preparation of both the linen and the panels that I paint on.
For me, it's all part of the process and there is nothing quite like painting on a surface where every mark is my own.