Artists' Resources - Preparing a Wood Panel for Painting

Cutting, sanding and applying gesso to wood panels.

This Artist's Resource is available for students enrolled in the Mentorship And Coaching Programs.

Preparing a wood panel for painting

In this course, Robert shares with you how he prepares his wood panels for painting from cutting the board to size, easing the edges, and applying the gesso.

Robert demonstrates how he cuts the panels in two different ways, one with a circular saw and a ripping guide and the other by using a table saw. Cutting the panels down to size is only really needed for those artists wishing to work in unique sizes. Raw wood panels may be purchased from most art suppliers in standard sizes.

After cutting the panel to size or even when purchasing a standard-sized raw board from a supplier, Robert shows you and discusses the importance of easing the edges of the panel.

Finally, Robert walks you through how to properly gesso the panel making sure you don’t have any unwanted build-up of gesso on the edges. Then with a light sanding, the panel is ready for paint.

Materials used to prepare your panel for painting

  • Raw wood panel, Maple, Beech or Birch
  • Circular saw
  • Rip-Cut circular saw guide/slide
  • Tablesaw
  • Random orbital sander with 80 grit sandpaper
  • Small wood blocks/little cups/painters tripods
  • 2” Natural bristle paintbrush
  • Sanding block with 80 grit sandpaper
  • Art Boards acrylic gesso

Your Instructor

Robert Louis Caldwell
Robert Louis Caldwell

Artist and Instructor
ARC Associate Living Master
Signature Member, The Society of Animal Artists

Robert Louis Caldwell is an award-winning artist, internationally renowned for his wildlife and architectural oil paintings. His work has appeared in numerous national and international exhibitions, including the Society of Animal Artists, Art of the Animal Kingdom and Birds in Art, and is represented in the permanent collection at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin. Robert graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a B.F.A. and is the author of the drawing instructional book “Draw Realistic Animals, Wildlife, Pets & More.”

Read more about Robert’s instructional approach, philosophy and credentials.

Visit Robert’s website to view examples of his drawings and paintings.