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View Full Version : What about Studio Easels??


Masque
01-03-2006, 01:19 PM
I've decided to spend my Xmas Dick Blick gift certificates on a new easel. Something around $400. Does anyone know anything about the Best University?? They look pretty good to me in that price range. Any opinions on this number?? How does it compare with what your using?

Right now I'm using a French easel (3 legged variety) and it's been fine and has a wonderful forward tilt, but stability suffers a lot when I work on anything bigger than 18x24 and it is a pain to move even a few inches. Which happens far more than I'd like because my workspace is so limited the need to move it to get to supplies is an ongoing problem.

Khadres
01-03-2006, 01:41 PM
My Classic Dulce looks a lot like that from the front but is a good deal simpler in design. Costs about half as much, as well. The Dulce is rock solid stable, no shimmy, no shake and it's tilts forward enough at the top to keep dust from sifting down onto the lower painting. It's made of solid oak, as well, and is easy to adjust, takes monster canvasses. I like it a lot and it takes a surprisingly small footprint of space.

Enjoy your new easel, whichever you choose....they're well worth the money!

Masque
01-03-2006, 05:31 PM
My Classic Dulce looks a lot like that from the front but is a good deal simpler in design. Costs about half as much, as well. The Dulce is rock solid stable, no shimmy, no shake and it's tilts forward enough at the top to keep dust from sifting down onto the lower painting. It's made of solid oak, as well, and is easy to adjust, takes monster canvasses. I like it a lot and it takes a surprisingly small footprint of space.

Thanks, Sooz, sure like the price better. I looked at those, and my choice was the Classic too, but couldn't estimate their degree of forward tilt or whether it could be locked in. I'd be hard pressed to work without that blessing. For some reason I generate a lot of dust with a big canvas. Maybe cause I layer heavily, don't use fixitive, and thump my canvas after each painting session to make sure my coverage is there to stay. I even go so far as to fashion a V shaped catch tray out of heavy duty brown paper (grocery bags). I save the dust, don't ask me why, I just figured someday I'd find a use for it.

Can you estimate your optimal forward tilt? And can it be locked in? I don't like my canvas to move under my hand while I was painting. Have you ever had that happen? It does occasionally on my French easel if I don't check and make sure my tilt screws are tight on both sides. Unnerving to say the least. Especially if I'm working in a tight little space on some crucial tiny detail. How long have you had your Classic? Long enough for the manufacturer to change the design slightly? Or, a lot. You know, like they do with bras... :eek:

KJSCL
01-03-2006, 06:14 PM
Gloria, I'm going to keep an eye on this thread because I too am in the market for another easel. I work in different mediums and only having one easel is a real pain.

I am definitely looking for a H frame easel. I find them to be much more stable than the A frame one I had years ago. When I got the one I currently have (it is very similiar to the one you posted except that it was made by a different company and has casters), I insisted that it have the ability to tilt forward - guess what, I've never used it. . I mount my pastel paper on a piece of corrugated plastic which has a border that catches any pastel dust, so I don't really need the forward tilt capability.

One easel that I've been looking at is the Sorg easel. The reason it's appealing is that it uses counterbalances so that it is really easy to adjust the height. I'd keep the current one for my pastels and use this for my oils/acrylics. I'm not sure if David Sorg is still a WC industry partner or not but before I fork out the money for it, I'd like to find someone who has bought one. Anyways, I'll keep an eye out on this thread to see what everyone else recommends!

Khadres
01-03-2006, 06:18 PM
How long have you had your Classic? Long enough for the manufacturer to change the design slightly? Or, a lot. You know, like they do with bras... :eek:

Hahaha....well, I don't THINK it's changed by the way the pic, etc. looks on Blick's...it's a pretty simple design, which is probably why it works so well. As for forward tilt, seem to recall it being described and 5 or 10 deg....more than ample enough for the dust question and YES, if locks into whatever position you care to put it, which was one of the big selling points for me...after spending years fighting canvas bounce on old tripod easles when painting in oils, that's the last thing I wanted when I took up pastels. BTW, you can optionally order rollers for it and that's well worth the little extra...this thing is no flimsy whimsy, but with the rollers (which also lock when desired) it's easy to move. Comes pretty much fully assembled except for putting the wheels on, too. Another reason I like it is because of it's simple beauty...not a lot of junk hanging off it or pieces screwed together everywhere, just nice clean lines in a lovely warm oak color. It'll make you feel like a really real artist!

I've had the Dulce almost two years and highly recommend it.

khourianya
01-03-2006, 06:32 PM
I have a Best Deluxe Lobo I really like. Tilts every way I would ever want, solid oak and a beauty to work on. Relatively cheap too.

chewie
01-04-2006, 01:07 PM
well, not to add more to the mix, but oh well, why not?? hehe

i have a mabef, its made of beechwood, which is rated as hardness between white and red oak. it is very fine grained, and oils up absolutely deliously!!

i've had it a year now, its on casters, but yet can lock, has a shelf, and was the best purchase i've made in years--so much so i'm now waiting on my mabef 22 french easel!! (should be here in a week, ooooh, can't wait!)

i got mine cuz it can go flat like a table--and i have never bothered to do so. that part was a waste of my money, but seemed like a good idea at the time! :) i was using a very simple (read: cheap!) stanrite, and this one is such a delight, so stable. and i admit, seeing it is fun too, like i'm a 'real' artist!! even giving it its' yearly oiling was fun!! it was even more beautiful too.

either way you go, its a good purchase you'll not regret!!

btw, does anyone else name their easel?? mine is mable the stable!!

Khadres
01-04-2006, 01:50 PM
Cute name, chewie!

As to the Sorg, from what Kitty tells me it's wonderful and a good buy at the sale price, but it IS huge. Kitty got one to use in her garage/studio...she wanted one that would hold very large paintings, I think. Anyway, if you have further questions, you could ask her over in her sponsor/forum.

It's just too bad that everyone doesn't have an outlet nearby where they can truly SEE the choice real time. The littlest things can become vital. Actually seeing a model and maybe sitting or standing in front of it gives a lot better chance to spot the features you don't need and those you do.

Compared to the old tripod types, both hand made and bought, that I had during my oils years, any of these nice H frames are heaven. Can't wait to see which you pick!

khourianya
01-04-2006, 02:21 PM
I agree Sooz. I had thought I wanted the dulce, but when I was at Curry's in Toronto and got toplay with the easels to decide on which one I would order when the time came, I was surprised to fall for the lobo. It was just so much more what I needed.

I have the little Winsor and Newton Bristol and I think I would have chosen differently for a field easel if I'd had a chance to play a bit. I still love it - but for different things than I originally got it for.

Masque
01-04-2006, 03:35 PM
it's a pretty simple design, which is probably why it works so well. As for forward tilt, seem to recall it being described and 5 or 10 deg....more than ample enough for the dust question and YES, if locks into whatever position you care to put it, which was one of the big selling points for me...after spending years fighting canvas bounce on old tripod easles when painting in oils, that's the last thing I wanted when I took up pastels. BTW, you can optionally order rollers for it and that's well worth the little extra...this thing is no flimsy whimsy, but with the rollers (which also lock when desired) it's easy to move. Comes pretty much fully assembled except for putting the wheels on, too. Another reason I like it is because of it's simple beauty...not a lot of junk hanging off it or pieces screwed together everywhere, just nice clean lines in a lovely warm oak color. It'll make you feel like a really real artist!

I've had the Dulce almost two years and highly recommend it.

Boy, I wish there were some place within reasonable distance (reasonable being under 100 miles) that I could actually see and touch the animals. I'm checking out every suggestion carefully online, but so far I'm leaning toward the Classic Dulce for all the reasons you mention, Sooz. Caught myself saying, ditto, ditto, ditto a bunch of times while reading your posts. If it has a 5-10 degree tilt forward I'd be happy but the stability you talk about, Sooz, is a real need. Got just 2 more questions. What is the biggest canvas you have painted on this easel? The biggest I can manage well on my French tri-leg is 18-24 and even that can get pretty bouncy if the 24 inch side is the width. I've been itching to try a 32x36--could the Dulce Classic handle that? And, how do you anchor your canvas (or board) to the easel for that stability on the Dulce you talk about. Does the easel offer anything more than pressure from top and bottom mounts?

The motivation for all this (and the Full Monty as well) is the opportunity (commission) to paint a large full body nude of an exceptionally beautiful woman from real life. Ever since I finished the Turlock Girls pastel I've wanted to try a large nude (at the very least 18x24). This woman is any artist dream. Beautiful, slender, athletic, with a wonder flair for the dramatic. So I see the choices I'm making as some that will lend much to my chances for success.

Khadres
01-04-2006, 04:22 PM
I just use the bottom and top wooden clamps to hold the drawing board...it's plenty tight when you tighten the doohickeys. The nice thing is that the clamp thingys are deep enough so that you can paint to the very bottom and top while still holding the drawing surface steady as a rock. The main thing to remember about this model is that there is virtually NO side to side movement, hence no wobble n' dance routine. The clamps are perfectly straight and stay that way. This thing can take canvases up to 82" high and I would imagine almost any width you'd have room for! There's an even bigger one called the Giant Dulce, but I doubt you'd need that one unless you do giant murals or something. I think a nice large nude would look just great on a Dulce! :D

P.S. For smaller work like mini's, it's necessary to mount the picture on a larger surface of foamcore or drawing board since the clamp won't go down that tight. I have a bunch of foam core boards I cut to 16X20 and 12X16 and I use them for mini work and they hold rock solid.

Howard Metzenberg
01-05-2006, 04:49 AM
Gloria,

How nice that you have one of our gift certificates.

I have highly recommended the University Easel to several artists who were seeking a great forward tilting easel. The design, which has the canvas holder pivoting on a well centered support piece, makes it very stable for forward tilting applications such as pastels.

If you want a large studio easel for pastels, as well as oils and acrylics, with the capability to support a substantial canvas with great stability, go Univeristy.

No matter how stable an easel is, you still might want to sandbag the base.

Howard Metzenberg
Dick Blick Art Materials
Highland Park, IL

MarshaSavage
01-05-2006, 01:05 PM
Gloria,
I have the University Easel and love it. I have had it about 3 years and it does everything I need, is very sturdy and I felt well worth what I paid for it. One thing I did like is that it is large, but not so large as to overwhelm my studio and take up too much space. Since I haven't tried the Ducle, I couldn't compare.

Good luck on whichever one you choose. But . . . love mine!

Khadres
01-05-2006, 04:48 PM
So there ye have it! :D How bout one of each?

HarvestMoon
01-05-2006, 07:09 PM
Gloria- I have a Mabef MO6D:
http://www.jerrysartarama.com/art-supply/catalogs/000M06D000000
but did not see it at blicks...it is perfect
cheers,
Linda

Khadres
01-05-2006, 07:24 PM
Of course, depending on the size of that gift certificate, there's always:

http://www.dickblick.com/zz502/45/

Masque
01-06-2006, 10:42 AM
DANG!!!

That's a true beaut, Sooz; way out of my class, but wouldn't I love it--- I think---some day---if I live long enough---or get even a little famous---or productive enough---or maybe decide to convert my entire living space into a real live studio--or one of my 4 kids (the source of my gift certs) wins the lotto---or I win the lotto---or whatever.

Funny, I can visualize myself standing in front of the Dulce and I'm normal size. In front of this one? I'm about 2 feet tall (making that forward tilt a bit ominous).

Khadres
01-06-2006, 01:21 PM
Yeah, that one would be a bit intimidating, wouldn't it? I'd be afraid to get it dirty!

Masque
01-07-2006, 12:53 PM
I want to thank everyone for their help in making up my mind on my easel purchase. Expecially you, Sooz, for your Dulce suggestion and your quick replys to my many questions. I just purchased a Classic Dulce from Dick Blick and should be receiving it direct from the factory by mid week of 1/23 at the latest and in time for setting up before school starts. I was thrilled about that as it will allow me to take my French easel to class.

Just for everyone's information DB had the best price anywhere. After finally making my decision I did a serious Google price search and Dick Blick's price bested everyone. They had the lowest SALE price $224 and elsewhere the highest SALE price was $399. Quite a range huh? I won't bother mentioning those not on sale. Pays to shop, I will say that.

Oh, incidentally I opted for casters which pushed my total investment up by $25. My total including $39 shipping handling and $22 tax was $308. The easel weighs 38 lbs and will travel UPS from the East Coast to the West Coast. The shipping seems fair considering the weight, but the $22 California sales tax brought a frown to the brow--wouldn't you know.

Anyway, thanks bunches for your input. It's really great to be able to discuss a purchase like this with fellow artists. Besides being more fun it sure beats buying a pig in a poke.

Khadres
01-08-2006, 02:59 AM
I think you'll enjoy your Dulce a lot. I got mine at Blick's too and it came a lot sooner than I expected it to. You'll feel really uptown with it in your studio and be able to keep that french thing folded up between classes (I have a french easel too, but have only used it a couple times...got it mainly for plein air stuff).

One small warning....don't bother trying to tack anything to your Dulce...like color wheels or source photos, etc. It's made of real OAK and turns a cold shoulder to thumbtacks and such, so just get out your art tape and stick stuff up that way.

Happy painting!

Masque
01-17-2006, 10:46 AM
Well, my CD arrived yesterday. I have it put together, in place and have moved a work-in-progress to it. I'll know more after a week or two of using it, but I'm very pleased thus far and think it's going to do me just fine.

There are a few surprises to which I will have to adjust for a while, i.e., the Gator board I tape my canvas on doesn't fit in the slots CD has on their canvas mounts so some jimmy adjustments had to be made to stop board bounce until I can get a board that fits those slots. But, already I can appreciate the simplicity of the 5 CD easel adjustment mechanisms compared to my French easel which seemed to have 8,000 little screw adjustments that tended to loosen while painting. Another real asset is the CD adjustment potential which allows me to keep the area of the painting I'm working on exactly at eye level. Absolutely love that and I find the maximum (about 10%) forward tilt plenty for pastel painting. However, once I mounted and positioned everything, locked the casters and started working I wasn't confident of stability. I've opted to keep my two 10lb bar bells on the bottom base back. They make it rock solid and are easy to remove when I want to move the easel.

All in all, I believe I'm going to love it. You were right, Sooz, besides being a beautiful it makes me feel like a REAL artist.

chewie
01-17-2006, 12:26 PM
hey, we're visual types here ya know!! we want pictures!! with the work in progress on it, too!! have a grand time with your new easel, and congrats! that's a big purchase, you'll not regret!

dlake
01-17-2006, 01:02 PM
Chewie, I was reading thru this thread because I've been kinda mulling a new easel around. Because of what you were writing I went and checked out the Mapef easels. Guess what, I saw one that is so perfect. Based on your comments about these I am going to seriously think and not just mull around about this. thanks
Diane

Masque
01-17-2006, 02:38 PM
hey, we're visual types here ya know!! we want pictures!! with the work in progress on it, too!! have a grand time with your new easel, and congrats! that's a big purchase, you'll not regret!

Hokay--for you visual types here's my CD; I call him Ace.

Khadres
01-17-2006, 02:46 PM
So glad your Dulce finally arrived, Gloria! I remember the issue of the foamcore in the groove thing....I solved it by putting a narrow piece of scrap wood behind the base and that holds it nicely when I'm using thinner mounts like that; otherwise I have a couple of those hollow wooden drawing boards that I use and they fit better...I do like the fact that the bottom of the canvas is accessible so I can paint clear to the edges easily. Also, did you lock your castors securely? That helps the stability a lot.

Anyway, Ace looks totally at home already! Mine's a girl, BTW, and her name is Penelope! Enjoy!

dlake
01-17-2006, 08:07 PM
What a beaut, Gloria. Wish I had the room for something like that. But, I did find a Mabef that I really like and is small enough for home and sturdy for outside.
Must say gloria, you have very good taste. so do you, sooz.
You know, looking at an easel must be like guys are looking at a truck. lol. Kick the legs, Lift the hood, er, top of the lid, ect. Yep, yep. Nice one. Take her on a test painting.
Diane

Masque
01-18-2006, 08:34 AM
Sooz, Yep, I locked those puppies tight, gave it the tippy test and decided 20 lbs of iron on the back bumper might be good insurance. Of course, you gotta guess, my worst nightmare is to finish a painting and have my easel fall on it's face during the night (she shudders). Now we know that would/could NEVER happen, but...


Diane, Yeah, Ace is a beaut alright. My WC friends won't be hearing too much from me for awhile. The UPS guy arrive last night with my Full Monty. Colors go beyond beautiful--they're sensual...

The UPS guy? Well, he'll recover. I think. :rolleyes: :music:

dlake
01-18-2006, 10:35 AM
Gloria, since you got your Full Monty are you going to post a pic for those of us who dream of getting one someday and give us a vicarioius thrill?
I was wondering if anyone has seen a picture of the cityscapes set. I'd love to see what's inside those 78 sets. What few pics are online are really awful and you can't see what is there. The only ones I've seen a full pic of is the assortment, workshop and plein air. How's a person who has open stock but, is thinking of getting a set to complete things suppose to know which is best to get? ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!
Diane