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Archival Quality Solid Polymer Art Panels Offer Superior Performance and Durability

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Premium Quality Panels
Painting and Pastel

About Solid Ground Panels | Why Polymer Panels? | Surface Properties | Benefits

Introducing a Completely New Kind of Art Surface

Combining up-to-date, durable synthetic materials with meticulous hand craftsmanship, Solid Ground provides artists with a unique new type of art panel. These premium quality panels were designed for use with modern day paints and pastels, and the demanding range of techniques of today's artists. They provide exceptional permanence and durability, and surfaces which are exquisitely responsive and receptive to the ..
T. W. Whittredge "Along the Delaware" 1875

application of artists' colors. They were designed to work better, and to last longer.

What Are Solid Ground Panels

Solid Ground panels are hand crafted, made-to-order art panels,
available in versions for painting or pastel. They differ markedly from older panels,
both in materials and basic structure. Unlike traditional paint or pastel supports,
they are not made of wood products, canvas, or paper. Instead, they are made entirely
of durable and stable polyvinyl polymer resins, blended with fine quality pigments.
Traditional panels are made by applying layers of liquid ground onto a wooden support.
These layers are prone to eventual separation. Solid Ground
panels, as their name suggests,
are not coated or layered in any way. Rather, each panel is made as one solid piece.
Rigid and self supporting, they consist of solid ground through and through.
Support and ground are one. No priming is necessary. Color is applied directly to the support,
giving your artwork an inherently sound and fundamentally simpler foundation.


The Advantages of Polymer Panels

J. F. Kensett "Rondout Creek" 1862 - (we live on this river - P.S.)
. Solid Ground panels are exceptionally durable. They are nonporous and waterproof. And although they have a feeling of absorbency (as color is drawn tightly into the micro-texture of their surfaces), they are non-absorbent, and were designed that way for several reasons. First, panels made with

absorbent grounds may not be suitable for modern painting materials and techniques.
Absorbent grounds, originally designed for use with hand made paints,
draw a portion of the binder out of the paint and into the gesso (and sometimes the support).
Factory made paints today contain a minimum of excess binder (unlike hand-ground
paints of the 15th century), so that any absorption of the binder into the painting ground
can leave the bottom layers of paint dangerously brittle and prone to cracking.
Second, Solid Ground
panels are uniquely designed to address problems of acidity.
Deterioration of artworks can often be traced to acidic contents in artist materials.
Acid from linseed oil can damage the cellulose fibers of the underlying supports,
and acidic off-gassing from Masonite and wood can harm paints and pigments.
Absorbent or porous grounds can allow potentially damaging acidic materials or vapors from
wood or Masonite, or from oil-based colors, to pass between the support and the paint layers.
Even acrylic gesso grounds can be permeable enough to allow these exchanges.
Sealant coatings applied to wood panels may not provide membranes which are sufficiently
impermeable to these acidic gases and oils, and the extra layers of sealant can themselves
present new adhesion problems. Solid Ground
panels, by virtue of being non acidic,
non-absorbent and free of layers, eliminate these problems completely.
Nonabsorbent Solid Ground
panels make perfect supports for oil pastel,
and for soft pastel they open great new possibilities for wet and mixed-media work.
Unaffected by moisture, Solid Ground
panels do not expand and contract with changes
in humidity. Compared to wood, Masonite, canvas, or paper, they have superior dimensional
stability. They are extremely resistant to warpage, swelling, splitting, and embrittlement.

Solid Ground  panels are chemically stable as well. They exhibit no chemical off-gassing. They are nonacidic and are internally buffered (with calcium carbonate as one of their pigments) to keep them that way. They are unaffected by weak and moderate acids and bases, as well as by all standard art studio solvents. Polyvinyl resins have properties which make them particularly well suited for use in art panels. While they are not chemically reactive, they are extremely chemically receptive to artist colors. The molecular structure of polyvinyl polymers makes paint and pastels want to stick to them. This is in contrast to many types of plastics, like Teflon, polyethylene, polypropylene, and others, which are chemically non-sticky and as such would make decidedly un-receptive grounds. ...
J. F. Kensett "The Bash-Bish" 1855

Polyvinyl resins also give Solid Ground panels a perfect surface hardness;
they are quite strong, but are still malleable enough to be able to accept the abrasive
finishing procedures which are used to give them their uniquely receptive surface textures.
Many familiar household products made from polyvinyl plastic are easily damaged by
UV radiation, and by internal degradation caused by the presence of chemical plasticizers.
Solid Ground
on the other hand, contains only plastic which is extremely durable and stable.
By design, Solid Ground
panels contain an exceptionally high concentration
of Titanium Dioxide. This very effectively shields them from UV exposure,
giving them excellent lightfastness properties and preventing UV damage to the polymers.
(Lightfastness of the pastel panels differs somewhat by color; please inquire for details.)
Solid Ground
also contains no chemical plasticizers materials used heavily in many
other polyvinyl plastic products to make them more flexible. Since these materials
can also degrade and migrate out of the plastics, and make them sticky or brittle,
we've taken care to avoid their use altogether.


Solid Ground Surface Properties

Thomas Cole "View on the Catskill Creek" (detail)
... While intermolecular attraction plays a role in paint-to-panel adhesion, an actual physical grip, or "mechanical bonding," is the most important factor in the bonding of color to Solid Ground . From the smoothest grade of Artist Panel to the coarsest grade Pastel Panel, the panel surface is actually a dense, complex network of tiny fissures.

Although sometimes almost imperceptibly small, these fissures can be seen as quite sharp and
deep when viewed under magnification. Colors are drawn into this matrix and held fast.
The panel surfaces also have a fine, fibrous nap, with tiny silk-like fibers protruding from them.
These fibers become imbedded in the color layer, further reinforcing its bond with the panel.
For soft pastel, this suede-like texture allows extensive reworking and beautiful color uptake.
Compared to pastel papers, it holds remarkable and unsurpassed amounts of pastel color.
From an artist's perspective, this unique combination of fissures and fibers serves
to draw color from your brush or pastel stick with an almost finger-like assistance.
It allows you to lay down color smoothly, predictably, and in a very controlled manner.
The surfaces feel vibrant and alive, and help you to apply color with precision and assurance.
And by ordering directly from your panelmaker you can request any of a range of finely
graduated and precise textures in order to best suit your specific needs and preferences.
Please refer to the Artist or Pastel Panel Ordering Information sheets
for full descriptions of available finishes.


The Proof Is In The Painting

The goal of a good panelmaker is to enable artists to produce their very best work.
With Solid Ground
panels, you can achieve results that would be unattainable with other surfaces.
You can work with greater freedom, and with a heightened sense of assurance.
Colors glide on smoothly and surely. The panels have a sensuous feel and an impressive appearance.
Solid Ground
customers report that their paintings look cleaner and more refined,
and that their pastels have a more brilliant surface, and a greater depth and richness of color.
And while made-to-order panels are expensive, regular Solid Ground
users find that they easily
recoup the cost of the panels based on the high quality of work which they produce on them.
If you need further information, just call your panelmaker;
I'll be happy to help you in any way that I can.


Additional pages about Solid Ground:

Painting on . . . Plastic?

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