Saturday, October 30, 2010

Level 8 Easel

I have never had a commercial easel in my studio.  I have made 4, and all but the first one are in use.  In the studio a French easel from plein air and 3 DIYs  are in constant use.  Since I started on a borrowed French easel, I have come to like my palette right in front of me between the canvas and me.  This keeps me further from the canvas helping with the discipline of avoiding a pencil grip and drawing practices such as "licking".  The location is great for mixing.  This easel was very inexpensive.  It has manual adjustments, up and down and angle of attack.  It is at a good height for standing while painting but can be lowered for a sitting approach.  It will take small canvases (6x8) and moderately large (48x72 or more).  Really large go on my garage easel.

Level 8 Easel

Here is the construction technique.  The table was rescued from a dark corner of my parents basement.  Many memories there.  Stripped it and glued it back together.  The drawer works.  A little musty.  Tubes don't seem to mind.  The rest is scrap wood.  1x2s and 1x3s form the H frame that is screwed on to a piece across the back of the table using small hinges.  The single leg at the back is also hinged.  Up the standing outer legs of the H are a set of 3/4" holes.  Dowel pins fit the holes and provide up and down adjustment.  A piece of scrap hardwood flooring goes across the dowels and the painting sits on a tongue of the hardwood.  I treated myself to a piece of baltic birch ply wood for the palette.  It sits on the table top.  It was treated with two rubbed coats of linseed oil.  It is cleaned after each painting session.  The can for medium is an empty Tuna tin.  Works great.

So how does the easel get its level 8 rating?  On the Ruby Rouge scale of 10 for the perfect easel, this easel does not have an automatic mechanism for raising and lowering (I drive a standard), it has no clamp on the upper edge to hold the top of the canvas (I don't have GPS) and it doesn't look pretty.  It just works.

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