Getting “the Look” with Cradled Panels

I’m pulling art out of drawers and sorting. In taking another look, I often see room for improvement. It’s so easy to get the brushes wet and rework them. The results are usually worth the effort.

Having a good supply of wood cradled panels, I’ve been playing around with displaying some of my art on them. First I started painting the panels with acrylics to match the art. Here’s an example of a dark burgundy frame with a lily, painted watercolor on paper before attaching to the cradle.

Soon I realized that for a cohesive look, painting all the cradles black is the way to go. Here is an example of that, using paintings of birds. Notice the art does not reach to the
edges. Instead, I’ve left a mat-like perimeter of the front face showing.
It is a good look for displaying several pieces closely
together. This treatment is great for hanging a show.


This Preening Crane I originally painted vertically for the John Scharff Migratory Bird festival, 11 x 17 inches. Then I painted it again, cropped, on Aquabord, 24 x 24 inches. This version is smaller, and horizontal. It’s fun to see how a good composition can sometimes work well more than one way. While each has it’s own character, I am pleased with all three formats. On this one I’ve left a mat-like edge of white paper, along with the black face of the cradle.


This sweet bunny is painted by Lorraine
Bushek, a Portland artist who is also a good friend. It is oil on Gessobord, then attached to a
wood panel to frame it. You can see why Lorraine’s work is in such high demand. I traded this piece for one of mine — Bleeding Hearts.

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