Painting supports. Linen panels

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Artists have many choices of painting supports. Papers, boards, stretched canvas, canvas and linen panels.

Linen panels

For me, the flavour of the month is linen panels. Well, for me it’s much more than that. These are my favourite supports for outdoor painting!  I was lucky to have been introduced to linen panels by an artist friend several years ago.

linen panels-blank canvas-Philippa Robert Adelaide South Australia


There are several sizes available these days, more now than when I started using them.

There were 25x30cm 20x25cm and 30x30cm. But I have since become familiar with 10x10cm and 20x20cm sizes. A lot of the more recent sizes are square.

painting supports-linen panels-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia
10x10cm, 20x20cm, 20x25cm, 25x30cm, 30x30cm.


Even though their branding is French (pebeo), these panels were difficult to find in Europe. After a bit of searching online I found them. Can you guess where?

Bonnie Scotland!

Prices vary quite a lot, depending on whether you are shopping in Paperchase or a dedicated art store. But I found them in Glasgow in two stores and Perth in another two. Not sure about Edinburgh or Aberdeen or further afield. There are hundreds of artists in The Highlands and Islands of Scotland so I wouldn’t be surprised if they are even more widely available.

In Adelaide I buy these panels from an art supplier who orders them in, from Queensland I think.

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Panels are reasonably light and compact for a travelling artist. They are much heavier individually than a sheet of canvas paper but their sturdiness is a bonus. They can stand a bit of rough handling in bags, provided they are lightly wrapped in baking paper.

painting supports-outdoor painting-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-baking paper

Extra advantages

There are several extra things I fancy about linen panels. The sizing of the surface gives a silky texture on first contact with the brush. Because it is clear, the sizing allows the mid-tone of the linen to guide the early stages of the painting – laying in the darkest darks for a start. And see how nicely the 25x20cm board fits vertically into my paintbox!

painting supports-linen panels-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia

Sometimes I prime them with a chosen colour to aid the spread of paint into the weave of the linen. The 10x10cm cafe sketches done recently have coloured backgrounds. I tried red, light blue and ochre.

Stretched canvas has a nice spring to it under the brush and is my preferred support for studio work. Outdoors, linen panels are portable, fairly lightweight and rugged. Unless pre-primed by the artist, they have a silky surface, warm wheaten colour and offer a helpful mid-tone reference to start.

You know what? There is another thing I haven’t mentioned. Linen seems more prestigious. Do you agree?


Travel Tips for outdoor painters – Part 2

travel tips-outdoor painting-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-baking paper

In Part 2 of Travel Tips for outdoor painters, I will share a couple of ideas that apply at home as well as abroad.

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Baking paper


Baking paper is sometimes called “parchment” in the UK. It is also available with a foil backing so it can be confusing unless you have a local guide. Home Brand parchment is very reasonably priced in the UK. This paper is as useful in the studio as it is in the kitchen! Its chief advantage for acrylics is that it can protect and separate surfaces without sticking or damage. The paint must be dry of course.

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Sealable pots for medium

Sealable pots

To carry small amounts of your “favourite” colours or medium, try the plastic containers for salad dressing made by Decor. They have snap-on lids which seal well. It helps to use a little bit of blu-tack to settle the pot into place when it is open, as well as a dob to stick the lid nearby. The only catch is to remember to recap the pot before you fold up your kit!

More tips coming soon. You might be familiar with the ones I have given so far. If not, great! Otherwise I trust you will find a gem as the series goes on.



An Outdoor Painter’s Travel Tips: Part 1

travel tips-outdoor painting-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-palette papers

Travel tips are fairly easy to come by. But tips for travelling outdoor painters may be harder to find.

Recently I suggested that it was a good idea to find a used cabin bag for transporting your kit. The one I bought (quite cheaply) is a bit temperamental with uneven ground. It has trouble righting itself and can try to sidle across the road, once it has bounced over the kerb. Minor disaster only but currently on a good behaviour bond.

So, what else can help?

The palette

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CD case as palette

I am lucky enough to have, thanks to a painting friend, a metal CD box which works well as a palette box. It was a novelty package for a film called “The Last Stand” and would be a rarity.

travel tips-outdoor painting-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-palette papers

The two sides each hold half a sheet of palette paper neatly. Tiny dots of blu-tack keep the sheets in place if you are heading out for a windy day.

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ready to use

If you happen to see one of these metal CD cases, snap it up!

Water pots

Collapsible water containers are useful for outdoor painters, travelling or not. These are very cheap to buy at an art shop. A few years ago I trialled a folding water container designed for pets. It was made from stiff nylon canvas and sat up well. Alas, after about an hour it began to leak. Definitely not intended for a painter’s purpose!

travel tips-outdoor painting-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-expanded water container
collapsible water pot

I carry two sizes, just as they are sold. The larger one is useful for the first rinse or two. Final rinse happens in the smaller one. No surprises about which pot of water gets murky first, but generally, with a lot of brush wiping between rinses these two pots of water last a full three or four hour session.

More tips coming. Keep an eye out!


Art tuition – Transition to Outdoors – enrolment time!

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Transition to Outdoors

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On location, Hyde Park SA

Art tuition

Transition to Outdoors is this month’s exciting release! It is a class I have been planning for some time so it is great to see it come into being at last.

This will be a very short burst of tuition with one simple aim. That is to provide you with the confidence to leap into the great outdoors, with your art gear.

The class runs for two sessions which are scheduled a week apart. There will be an opportunity for a later review session if participants require one.

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Philippa Robert, beach painting

Course format

My classes are in person and are small groups only. For Transition to Outdoors (T2O) we hold the first session in the studio and the second “on location” outdoors.

Course content

The first session will be discussion and demonstration.
We will discuss

  • your experience level
  • equipment you need
  • adapting the kit you have
  • the basics of working quickly
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outdoor set-up

For the second session we will meet at an agreed location and PAINT. You will receive one-to-one tuition during the three-hour session. If the forecast weather is 30 degrees or more we will need to alter the date of the second session, or retreat to a sheltered spot.


The total fee for these two lessons is $55


Mondays February 27th and March 6th.