In preparation for the upcoming plein air season, and with rainy weather interfering, I take what little painting time I have had to try to quickly lay in impressions of a landscape. It is not ideal, but it is dry in the studio.
Also in preparation for painting outdoors, I decided to prepare a stack of panels on which to paint. I started with some 2 foot by 4 foot sheets of 3/16" plywood I picked up at Home Depot. They are a lot easier to handle and haul than 4x8 sheets. I first painted them with house primer on both sides to seal out moisture and keep them from warping. I had some old house paint with a primer in it in a rich burnt sienna tone, and I suppose I could use that as an underpainting, but I preferred to let that dry and then apply a coat of white gesso on top of that.
The primer was applied with a regular roller, but I spread the gesso with a six inch hot dog roller, with a finer nap leaving a smoother finish. Once dry, I sanded all the sheets with a finish sander, then cut them up on the table saw into various sizes I will want. Out of ten 2x4 sheets (cost $70) I ended up with two 18x24 pieces, nine 16x20, twenty 11x14, twelve 12x16, six 8x10 and ten 5x7. Those probably would have cost $400 had I bought them from an art store, and I do love a bargain.