Why don't you use BufferStrategy? Providing hardware accelerated backbuffers is what it was designed for.
Though there is no guarantee that it too won't suffer from this same issue, which is obviously caused by the massive virtual screen resolution.
I was first using BufferStrategy but it didnt work well on my town library WinXP systems, well it didnt work at all, i just received an exception and Applet halted.
I was thinking that maybe there is some other users with same kind of system what my town library has, and i want my project to work well almost every computer.
With VolatileImage doublebuffer my project is working very well also with my town library WinXPs.
So, How i should be handling drawing on 4 volatile images, should i just trye to draw every image and shape to every single doublebuffer volatileimage and let the auto clipping handle clips ??
On my home system the Applet maximum size will be some what W:2000px H:1300px.