I was attending a workshop by the fabulous Pittsburgh-based artist Peggi Habets. At one point, she introduced some of her work. I was intrigued by a small piece in a plastic sleeve, which she explained was attached to a piece of foam core. The rest of the class did not seem to pay much attention, but I wanted to know more. During a break I asked about the process. She told me that she used a spray vanish first, to keep the watercolor from bleeding, then followed with a cold wax.
Yes! The varnish and wax could replace the glass.
As a budding artist, I was afraid to try submitting my work for exhibit on foamcore, because I feared it would get rejected. I adapted her idea and attached a painting to a cradled wooden panel. It worked so well! The look was clean and modern, and there was no glass between the work and the viewer. I was extremely pleased with the results.
Fueled by this success, I realized that I was not going to get the answers from someone else. Trailblazers don't have maps to follow – they blaze the trail. There were other things I wanted to accomplish by pushing my medium. So I started my own experiments.