Preview: Artarama Da Vinci Pro Panels

October 15, 2015


I swung by the local Jerry’s Artarama art store this afternoon to spend more than I should have on some goodies, and picked up a small artist panel to test out. It’s a “Da Vinci Pro Panel” that appears to be an exclusive brand to Jerry’s.


The support surface is a 1/8″ MDF (medium density fiberboard) panel braced on the back edges with a 3/4″ wood frame cradle made of New Zealand pine. The surface has been triple-coated with acrylic primer. They come in three texture types: “resist-grip,” medium, and ultra smooth. There’s also an non-coated birch panel option. The sizes are from 3 x 3″ up to 36 x 36″. They will accept any art medium that will work on acrylic primers.


The sample panel I bought was the “resist-grip.” It describes a rough textured surface. I was mostly interested in trying it for pastels. You can see from these charcoal marks what the texture looks like. The finished art could be mounted as is without being set in a frame, but for dry media art, such as pastel or charcoal, you would have to coat it heavily with fixative or varnish to keep it from dusting off; otherwise, they would have to go in a frame behind glass or clear acrylic glazing like any other drawing.


One thing to point out: when I removed the plastic wrap, I noticed it had a small chip scratched off one side edge. The coating is soft and can scratch rather easily. I’m sure Jerry’s would let me exchange it if I wanted to, but it’s not so bad that I can’t touch it up myself. If I decide to get another one I’ll be sure and inspect it first. I’ll post some art on this as soon as I get around to working on it.



  1. Interested to see how these panels work out – they would be great for quick studies!

    • It seems very sturdy; although, this was a small size. I didn’t check to see if the larger ones had more cross braces, but I doubt it. There isn’t much movement to be concerned about with MDF or pine anyway. I may pick up one of the other primed ones later to see if the surface is more scratch resistant, but they’re pretty easy to make from scratch.

      • Thank you for your thoughtful review. Seems like they might work well for plein air?!

      • They would be fine for outdoor work. The bracing makes them thicker but not much heavier, and makes it easier to hold and carry them.

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