Then, I found a Pennsylvania lumberyard online named Smith Lumber, that has its own sawmill. Intrigued, I wrote an e-mail asking about the chances of getting a custom panel of the size I need. No reply. Damn!
Then, probably a couple of weeks later...an answer. They COULD do such a panel, if I was not in a hurry. It'd take 2-3 months to dry in the kiln, they explained. I wrote back immediately and assured them that I was in NO hurry. And as a matter of fact, I'd like TWO panels! (I figure this way, I can choose the one with the better grain to do the painting upon.) I'll likely end up doing 2 paintings and photographing the better of the 2 for the blog pictures. This approach also gives me a test painting upon which I can try different techniques and formulae.
But I digress.
After my correspondence with Smith Lumber, I ordered 2 poplar wood panels. They've been cut, I believe, and are drying now.
And so I wait.