Monday, August 12, 2013

Portable Easel Evaluation

Painting on site is an animal very different from the sterile studio experience.  Not that the studio is a bad place.  There is not much in the out of doors that is controllable including the weather, the light, the people, or the bugs.  But the rewards, infinite.  So, I have collected a number of easels for my development in the great out of doors.  If I could only have one easel for that purpose I would choose my old French Jullian Easel shown on the left below.

Some of My Easels

I have used this easel for twenty years.  I'm familiar with her to the point where it takes me about two minutes to set up.  Others seem never to master this type of easel.  She has been all over with me.  We have painted in storms, with large canvas, in the water, in the snow, and even in the studio.  She is versatile and I have never been blown down.  Everything in one package.  However, you can see I have quite a collection of other easels.

open and Ready

A few years back while hiking the Chickenishing Trail at 35C I came to realize that my French Easel was both heavy and awkward.  So began the hunt for something light.  The second from the left is an all in one pochade box.  Yup, lighter that the French, but it requires a tripod.  And that gets blown down.  She is a beautiful box, well thought out.  The next easel is a palette and board holder.  You bring everything else in a separate container. This is also a popular product, simple and rugged.  Needs a tripod.  I have found that I take all sorts of things in a back pack no matter which easel I use - pencil, view finder, paper towels, garbage bag, sketch book, camera and so forth.  So only having a palette and board holder is fine with me.  The box on the right is a home made super light piece.  Maybe a pound.  But doesn't do much.  For example I have to hold the painting surface in position.  It is held on the lap or a stone fence or whatever is handy.  Now I could spend some more time and make it more substantial, but I'd rather paint.  For you information, I have been blown down with each of these smaller boxes.  That incidence could be reduced by a tripod upgrade.  I have one in mind that is simple, light and rugged.

So my brother, a guitar maker, had a look at this collection and has made me a box to aid me in my light travels.  I'll show it next time.

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