A plain wood furniture or panel makes for a tempting canvas for artists who like to play around with surfaces. However Painting on Wood is a very old art. The most popular form of which is “panel painting”.
In fact it was the most popular medium of paintings before canvas took over in the 16th century.
The most famous example of panel painting is the illustrious Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci.
The History of Painting on Wood
The earliest possible examples of Wood panel paintings can be found in Rome and Greece and can be dated back to the Byzantine times. However by the 9 th century it was almost lost. In the late 12 th century this medium gained popularity again in Western Europe because now there was a new practice wherein the priest and the public was in the same side of the altar of the church. The wall behind the altar was free for display of paintings and an innovative medium for religious paintings was devised. Most of these paintings depicted Jesus Christ, Saints and Virgin Mary.
But by the 15 th Century this art form found a new face and it was no longer religious in nature, the concept of humanism gave it a more secular character and individual practice of it was encouraged.
Wood Panel Painting - The Technique
A piece of wood was plastered with chalk powder to create a smooth even surface.
Then images were drawn on it using a charcoal and once the images were perfected, colors were applied with tin brushes. These colors were all egg yolk based and were known as tempera. The brush strokes were generally small and delicate. Since the colors dried quickly there was very little chance of correction, so the attempt was to make perfect strokes each time. This made the painting style a very painstaking one.
Monalisa - Oil on Wood
This 16 th century oil painting on poplar wood by Da Vinci is probably the most celebrated painting of all times. it has for centuries inspired reproduction, caused controversies and was stolen and recovered miraculously. However more than anything else it is a celebration of the art form, because the Mastery of the painter has found form in the most suitable medium in this painting.
Decorative Paintings on Wood
Today, wood has found favor with many experimental artists. Furniture such as coffee tables, cabinets and cupboard are ideal canvas for such paintings. Although there are definitive techniques, such as sponging, graining, and stenciling, one can also follow ones whims and make ones own technique.
This new development has ensured that this ancient art form does not die.