Cradled Wood Panel Building

I have successfully built a few more cradled wood panels.  This time, I started completely from scratch.  That means measuring and miter cutting each piece of wood by hand.  Then glueing, clamping, sanding and sealing everything together. It took me a few tries, but I think I have settled in on my own method of how to build a solid cradle that will stand the test of time.

Below are two 12″ x 12″ x 2″ cradles that were built a week apart.  You can see the difference in quality between my first hand-built panel(bottom) and my last(top).  On the first, I could not get the frame properly square because of the rush-cut wood pieces.  So, the corners were either offset or had a gap.  I also used nails in addition to the wood glue to secure the panel to the cradle.  The results.. an ugly, uneven cradle that will require alot of extra prep work to make it paintable.

After building two other imperfect panels during that week, I learned from my mistakes and ended up with the top panel.  All of the corners are perfectly mated.  There is no panel-to-cradle “lip” or overlap, and I used only glue to bond the panel and cradle together.  A little bit of finish sanding and this panel is ready to be sealed, gessoed and painted!12x12 comparison

I had the same experience while building my larger panels.  It is the larger panels, however, that are the most cost effective to make.  Much more time and material is required for additional bracing, but the investment will pay off.  The majority of my new artwork will be done using these large and extra-large panels.  The only improvement that I will make is to use real wood panels such as pine, oak or walnut instead of hardboard.


12″x12″x2″ panels(front 2), 24″x48″x2″ panel(middle), 36″x48″x3″ panel(rear)

I am, by no means, a master art cradle builder.  But, until my artwork becomes in-demand and I can afford to spend several hundred dollars on a manufactured cradled panel, I’m going to keep building my own.  Plus, there is a higher level of satisfaction knowing that I created a work of art that was made entirely by my own hands.


From The Unknown

When I have the rare moment to research artistic inspiration from around the world, I do so objectively.  I cannot say that I have an absolute favorite artist any more than I have a favorite genre, period or subject.  Regardless, I am attracted to the work itself and how it moves me.

I will occasionally use the in-site filters to sift the results down to a selection that is most relateable to me.  Meaning,  the artist or the work resembles myself and the work that I like to create.  On my favorite sites such as or, I usually only filter by Region(United States), Style(Abstract/Contemporary), and Size(Large).  I browse the works of the emerging artists and well-established artists.  Sometimes, I can’t tell the difference regardless of the press(or prices).  I simply look for pieces that catch my eye.  Pieces that furrow my brow and perplex me.  During my searches, I am also placing myself somewhere in the mix.  Constantly questioning what kind of impression my work would have on the casual art browser or (even better)the avid art collector.  I suppose that I am both building my own wishlist as well as envisioning my own success as an international artist.

I am far from obtaining either at the moment.  Yet, I continue to search for exquisite pieces to add to my expanding virtual art collection.  I live vicariously through artists who are making a name for themselves. Some seem to have been randomly-yet-lovingly, plucked from the global pool of the unknown and ushered into museums and galleries to be offered huge commissions and command 5 and 6-figures for their paintings.  Others, display such talent and mastery in their work, that there is no question as to why they should be celebrated.  I would gladly walk either one of those roads to success.

RAW: Austin’s “PROVOCATION” show re-cap

RAW: Austin’s “PROVOCATIONS” show was quite an experience!

Pre-Show & Set-up

Although I was running a little behind for the visual artist set-up call, I got a break when I pulled up to The Parish and the load/unload parking space directly in front of the entrance was free.  It only took me about 5 minutes to run all of my artwork and supplies up the stairs and place them at my designated display spot.  I felt a twinge of pre-show nervousness while I was hanging my larger paintings.  It was probably because I started having trouble getting the height and angles right.  It was then that I remembered my brother’s offer to help me several weeks earlier.  I worked it out by myself, though purely by accident.  Eventually, I ran out of time and wall space.  So, I gathered my tools and my smaller art pieces and stashed them in the green room.  I hadn’t even placed info tags on my work.  I didn’t stress about it.  I figured that if anyone was really interested in buying, they would find me.  By around 8pm some of the guests started trickling in.  I stepped back and snapped a few cell phone pics of my own display before making my around the room to mingle and check out some of the other artists’ work.


The show definitely had that underground/indie vibe.  It may have lacked the upscale feel of a lounge at The W, but it definitely felt less “common” than the average walk-in bar on 6th street.  The atmosphere was very chill.  Thanks to D Bobby West who surprised me with his refreshing mixes.  I felt at home as I walked around greeting the patrons.  I made a special effort to greet those who I noticed were viewing my paintings.  It felt good, indeed, to observe individuals, couples and small groups of people walk up to my display and fix their gaze on a particular piece.  Then, with one hand tucked under an armpit and the other hand cupping their chin, they would lean slightly closer to examine the details.  I left the building only twice,  Once, to feed the parking meter and again, to feed my growling stomach.  That’s right!   I needed some time to rest my aching back and feet.  So, I took a stroll to Roppolo’s Pizzeria with a few good folks who were on my guest list.  Then it was back to The Parish for the last hour and a half of the show.

I walked around the room several times throughout the night to scope out the work of my peers.  I spoke to a few of the artists including the two Sams.  That is.. two different artists with two very different artistic styles – but both with the same name.  I was close to the stage when the short films of Jaime Sanchez and Deepak Chetty were featured.  Both films held my attention.  I made sure to let Jaime know that I was diggin’ the tracks he used in his film.  There were a few other artists who I intended to talk to, but never got to meet.

There were a handful of talented musicians who performed.  Three semi-solo acts and two bands.  I caught Anya’s performance as I was returning from my dinner break.  Having grown up listening to hiphop music while living in Philadelphia, I was initially hearing with critical ears.  But as she spit verse after verse, my head started bobbing.  No angry MC call-outs.  No false street bravado.  Simply intelligent, heartfelt and well-delivered lyrics.  She had it down!  Especially when she performed “Geronimo” which I recalled hearing on a local urban radio station.  I went to her soundcloud page to sample more during the weekend.  Nice!

Another act that I really enjoyed was the group Language Room.  Their music wasn’t normally my type of music… but good music is good music!  And, I literally rocked to every song hey played.  They sounded very polished.  If I had paid to get into the show, their performance alone would have gave me my money’s worth!

Of course, I continue to dream of having my very own solo show – where throngs of enthusiastic art lovers come to see me and my latest works of art.  Where ambient music fills the air and every wall in the exclusive venue is adorned with several of my highly desirable masterpieces.  But, there remains much work to do between now and then.  For now, being a RAW artist is as good as it gets.  And, I m looking forward to the next show(s).  I am already working on designs for a much cooler, interactive art display.  Can’t wait!