The Finest Improvement in Artist Panels Since the 17th Century

Brief History of Painting Panels




The first panels for artists appeared when cabinetmakers included them in their designs for church alters and for the great cathedrals of Europe.  Poplar may have been the wood of choice, since the trees grew large and made gluing of boards less necessary, a cheese (casein) glue or horse glue was used.  Although panels made from oak had a tendency to split or check, the glue and paintings on these panels have lasted for centuries.


With the advent of easel painting around the 14th century, canvas arrived and allowed for much larger and portable paintings.


The materials and the way panels were made did not change much for several centuries.  The job of making panels went from cabinetmakers to carpenters and to 17th century shipbuilders.  It was not until the 19th century that things began to change.


New industry and methods of manufacturing produced composite materials.  These panels were produced from rag and wood pulp, and used as painting supports.  One 19th century panel was known as Beaverwood.  Many artists of this time chose to paint on simple cardboard.  Since the acids in these products were neutralized or did not exist, they were relatively safe for artwork and did not change the paint over time.


In the 20th century, the need for higher volume, faster production and more profits, methods of manufacture were introduced which rendered the composition boards unfit for use as an artists' panel.  Acid is used to refine the wood pulp and rag content of these modern products.  Since acid is troublesome and costly to remove or neutralize, it is left in, and is a danger to the life and safety of any painting made on it.  Along with the acids present in today's composite boards, there is often oil found in the tempering process which is intended to make a harder product that is less likely to flake or chip.  The presence of oil only compounds the artists' problems when a water based acrylic gesso primer is applied.  Even oil primers may not be compatible with the oil in fiberboards.  The untempered variety of fiberboards has a low level of cohesion in prolonged contact with water.  These problems, along with its excessive weight and inherent tendency to warp, have lead to research for a product with superior characteristics.


Today, Innerglow Painting Panels offers the artist a panel that has been developed specifically for use with paint that are laminated our of solid wooden layers using today's most advanced resin glues.  The painting surface itself is specially developed and laminated to the wooden surface resulting in a smooth, acid free, rigid support that is extremely compatible and binding with all types of artists' paints except for egg tempera [which requires rabbit skin glue gesso].