A Presentation Alternative.

Alternative to picture presentation.

Alternative to picture presentation.

There are those among us, that in addition to painting on canvas and panel, like the surface of paper.  If , like me , you enjoy works on paper, but do not like the need to present these images under glass here is an alternation.  The image shown is done with acrylic on 300 lb. watercolor paper – 15″x 15″.  Most often I would paint with acrylic directly on the board.  For whatever the consideration, convenience, paper weight, or my affection for the feel of paint and brush on papers soft surface this painting is on paper.  Since the medium is acrylic there in no need to protect it with glass.  So now the question is how do I present this work.

The image is 15″ x 15″ so I built a cradle from masonite and Primed Finger Joint Board 1″x 2″ (purchased from Home Depot).  This is a better product than 1″x 2″ pine as it will not warp and come primed. The masonite is cut 17″x 17″ to allow a 1″  inch border.  I build a frame from the 1″ x 2″ the same size as the masonite 17″ x 17″.   Wood glue is applied to the frame and the board and held in place  with “C” clamps.

When dry I sand and paint the entire panel, I used handoff white.  Acrylic matt medium is applied to the back of the paper and the from of the box frame.  Be careful not to get excess glue around the edge of the image.  Place the image in position, press down with you hands, when securely in place cover the a sheet of watercolor paper, place another sheet of masonite on top of watercolor paper and allow to dry. You may if you desire coat the entire surface of painting and frame with matt medium – I do not do this.

I hesitate to share these multistep procedures as I now there will a thousand questions.  Be warned I will not answer these questions.. You may make a few mistakes along the way , but in the end you will succeed by trial and error.


Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff sells these Cradles at a very reasonable price and you do not have to buy a table saw and build a workshop.  Have fun!




This is the backside of the cradle frame and it is resting on a cradle frame 22″x 22″.

Watching and resting while I build the frame.

Rothko watching and resting while I build the frame.


  • Susan Kulis

    Sep 7, 2015 at 10:28 pm Reply

    Rothko resting….from painting?
    I love your work. Peggy Bekeny recommended you, telling me how much she learned from you, and I’m aching to take a workshop with you. I hope to be able to meet you (and Rothko) soon.

  • Eilen thedford

    Sep 8, 2015 at 11:40 pm Reply

    Rothko is gorgeous.. Hope you and Diane are well.
    Missed being in Maine– know it was the BEST! Hugs.. Eilen from sequins (sic) Seguin Tx

  • Beth

    Jan 8, 2016 at 1:29 pm Reply

    Great idea, beats the cost of matting and framing. I also like when a deep cradled board is completely covered by the painting. Enjoy your work. Hope to meet you at one of your Springmaidwatermedia workshops.

  • Jonlee Nunn

    Feb 10, 2016 at 1:29 pm Reply

    Great idea as I love painting on paper, especially the freedom to paint with abandon, without “making a painting on canvas and it better be good” . Sometimes a I find the painting within the painting….my most satisfying paintings though, do have an idea behind them which becomes my emotional reactions to the event or idea.

    Taking your Santa Barbara workshop Feb 22 2016. Just discovered your stimulating blogs, hope to see more. Pallette Magazine full of exciting paintings, and I salivate over your articals. Jonlee

  • Beth Fishman

    Mar 3, 2016 at 2:11 pm Reply

    Hi Skip
    I love your work! Iam a watercolor painter here in Seattle. I currently learn stuff from Tom Hoffman. I want to take one of your classes soon.
    Do you have any suggestions or images of watercolor paintings done on watercolor paper – presented without glass? How can I do this. I have an upcoming show at a cafe – my first! and i don’t want to put anything behind glass nor do i want to go to the expense of framing it all!! any suggestions?
    Beth Fishman

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