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View Full Version : Questions about plein aire and easels


Shari
08-19-2006, 01:15 AM
I am working my courage up to try plein aire once again. At one time I had a guerrila box (which I resold to someone here on wetcanvas) but I felt it was too heavy to take the box, tripod, pastels, chair, etc. out on location. Is there an easy and light setup that anyone can recommend? It seems some people like french easels better but they seem heavy. I have read many threads here but still can't decide what to do. If a pochade box is the best setup, which box is best for pastels?

khourianya
08-19-2006, 01:18 AM
I use a pochade, but I just balance it on my knees and I have a little tripod stool that slings over my shoulder. It's light and easy. I made the box myself, though so i can't be much help there, but you might want to look into the different pochades that are out there. The guerilla box is beautiful and functional, but so are others and you might find something that will be lightweight enough to work for you. Of course, pastels are going to be much hevier for PA than any other medium, so this is importnt to keep in mind.

Shari
08-19-2006, 01:51 AM
Yes, I looked long and hard at your instructions for building the box, but I don't have the building gene so i will have to purchase one. They are all way too expensive for something I probably will only do once in awhile. Hey, you wanna build me one and sell it to me cheap? I really like Marc Hanson's box that he built, wish I could get him to make one for me!!! I like the idea of balancing it on your lap, then I wouldn't have to use a tripod. I have a tabletop easel that I am wondering if I could convert somehow.

wannabeeartist
08-19-2006, 09:50 AM
I'm trying to figure out the same question. I've looked at all kinds of french easels and pochade boxes and still don't see what I want at a price i'm willing to pay. The Soltek easels look best but I can't pay that. I have an old wooden wine box the kind that came with 3 bottles in it. If I can figure out a way to make the lid function as an easel, then I think I can attach the camera tripod quick release thing to the bottom of the box. I'm not sure if this will work though. Anyone tried something like this before? Any tips?

meowmeow
08-19-2006, 10:01 AM
I have a French easel but have not used it for a couple of years. Pain in the butt, as far as I am concerned. And heavy.
What I have been using that I like is very simple and easy to haul around. I have one of the plastic folding carts, like this one:
http://www.shopping.com/xPC-Pack_N_Roll_Folding_Cart_Gray

RIght now I just put my boxes of Ludwig pastels but I have put my wooden pastel case in it. I have a Windsor and Newton folding lightweight metal easel:
http://www.shopping.com/xPC-Pack_N_Roll_Folding_Cart_Gray

A small folding stool.

Then I have a canvas bag with assorted supplies, I use a board with the paper taped to it. It all fits into the cart.

I also usually keep some sort of lightweight folding chair in the car.
When I get where I am going I can either sit on the stool and set the pastetls on the ground. Or sit on a rock or something else where I am and put the pastels on the stool. If I don't have to travel too far once I get where I am going I will bring the chair. I guess I do an assortment of things but mostly I keep it simple. It makes it much more likely that I will go out and paint.
To be honest, what I mostly do is set up outside near my house in Maine so I can also bring a little plastic table I have. My Ludwig pastel boxes fit perfectly on it.

Thge other thing is that I don't always bother with the easel, like Cori. SOmetimes I just set the board on my lap and work directly on that.

I assume you have checked the Plein Air forum for ideas. They are super nice and helpful there.

Sandy

Karen Margulis
08-19-2006, 11:02 AM
Good for you to get back into plein air painting! My friends and I are on a mission to find the best plein air set up and we've tried lots of different set ups and boxes. I am usinf a half box french easel when I know I won't be going to far from the car and I like it Otherwise I have a Bristol folding easel which works fine and fits into a bag. My friends got the Anderson Swivel easel which they are very pleased with. We all splurged and got the backpack size Heilman box which we absolutely LOVE! Best investment I've made! Helman sells an easel that attaches to the box so all you need is a tripod. A friend just got it and took it painting to France and I am waiting to hear if she was happy with it.
When I go out painting I put my Heilman box, a foamcore support with paper and my other misc supplies in a regular Jansport backpack and I am good to go!
Good Luck!

Karen

JamieWG
08-19-2006, 11:55 AM
Every time I read a thread like this, it makes me miss my pastels so much that I drool. ;) I too just haven't found a setup I've been happy with, so I go out with oils, gouache, or watercolor. All my pastels sit here unused since the winter. *pout* I think I know that the Heilman backpack box is my answer, but just haven't wanted to shell out the money.

Shari, I got to see Marc Hanson's box in person and watch him do a pastel demo. What a treat. If ever anything made me want to get out there with my pastels after that.....! I wish someone would come out with a box of his design.

A woman in our group had the lightest weight setup I ever saw. She'd bring a set of Faber-Castells and a pad, and just sit under a tree or wherever she found a comfy spot. Why is it that I'm so obsessed with taking so much stuff with me?!!!

Jamie

chewie
08-19-2006, 02:01 PM
i tried that--small box and a pad, and i made the most horrible mess! first, there is no guarantee taht you'll find a tree (or whatever) that you can use. seems like you will, but i repeatedly ran into places that i didn't. ok, then yer in the baking sun. or how bout if the ground is wet, can you put your stuff on the ground then? i don't. i tried all that, and am very pleased that i went with the full frenchie, where my pastels are safe and snug. on more than a few occasions, its fell over, slamming into a hard floor or sidewalk, (while closed) and not even a chip was missing off a single stick. i figured i would have to put my pastels into a sturdy box anyhow, may as well use it for the easel as well. i dont' go too far from the car, and use a cart i got at jerry's, which also has a chair on it, which generally i use for a table anyhow since i don't like to paint sitting. add a shoulder bag with the other goodies i gotta have, and i can go for a whole weekend (and do! :)) without wishing i had this or that. all my stuff is half sized, little nubbins, bits and corners. still leaves room for waters, bug spray, etc. seems like alot, but if you have gnats buzzing your head, or your tongue can't move in your mouth due to thirst, i dont' think i'd be making much art anyhow!! i love comfort! otherwise, i will take a sketchpad, micron pens, and 10 w/c pencils and do small, short sketchings. just depends on what your goal is for plein air!

Shari
08-19-2006, 02:33 PM
There are so many good suggestions here. I am so hesitant to jump in with a lot of money because I don't know if I will do a lot of plein aire. Now that my back is completely healed, I can pretty much walk anywhere but I still can't carry a heavy load. I already have a wonderful heilman box, which I use in the studio, but it is the mid size I believe. I wish I could afford the Soltek, that thing looks remarkable and so small when folded, no tripod to mess with. I emailed Marc to see if he would consider making another one and selling it! Fat chance! I wish I could get my husband to make me one, but he is not a builder of things; he is a healer of people. So far I am just taking a watercolor moleskine and watercolor pencils and nijii brush out in the field to do little studies with but I always end up wanting my pastels when I go sketching.

JamieWG
08-19-2006, 02:38 PM
Chewie, do you store your sticks right inside the french easel? Can you show us how you set up the compartments to do that? The few times I used pastels en plein air, I used my french easel. Having to carry everything separately made that difficult. However, I have that ArtComber wheel cart thingy too, and I also have an extra Julian multi-box (easel drawer) which I've been considering outfitting for pastels. If you have pics of how you configured the easel drawer to hold the sticks, that would help me a lot!

Jamie

meowmeow
08-19-2006, 02:39 PM
Shari, I think under the circumstances, you should start as simply as possble. Take the Heilman box, some sort of support board with paper taped to it and a small folding stool type thing. Sit with the board on your lap and the box of pastels on the ground. I think it would at least let you know if you enjoy working with the pastels outdoors.
I don't think I mentioned that I also carry in my bag sunscreen and bug spray. Can't go anywhere without that!
ANyhow, I understand about not wanting to invest a lot of money in something you are not sure you will continue to do. So just find a way to do it as simply as possible. Over time ifyou enjoy it you will figure our what way works best for you.
I think there is no simple answer for all people, though.

Sandy

JamieWG
08-19-2006, 02:45 PM
I wish I could afford the Soltek, that thing looks remarkable and so small when folded, no tripod to mess with.
It is fairly small, Shari, but it's not light, and the parts keep breaking. Two members of our group have Soltek easels. Both have had problems with parts breaking. In fact, one of them has two Solteks, so that he can have one to paint with while the other is in for repair. I've always wanted a Soltek too, but at that price, I want one that's going to withstand the test of time.

jamie

PeggyB
08-19-2006, 04:32 PM
Well I've finally found what works for me, and I think that is what most everyone has to do: find what works for you.

I did buy the Jerry's cart - have had to do some reinforcement repairs to the canvas and webbing, but now that's done it works well. This is what I can fit into the whole thing without any extra bags to carry:
* Half French easel
* Dakota's large pastel box with lots of pieces of pastel
* 2 cans of different types of spray fixative
* A roll of paper towels
* My art apron and cloth hat
* A 9 X 12 foam backed board to tape my papers on
* Several quarter sheets of paper
* A bag of pencils, shapers, and erasers
* A roll of artists' tape
* A zip lock bag with wet hand cloth (I don't like wipes)
* A bag with "emergency" anti- itch cream and a bottle of Gloves in a Bottle.
* A bag with Bounce dryer sheets - yes, the anti static dryer sheets. It seems misquiotos hate the smell of the stuff, and I either rub one on my arms or place it behind my shirt collar as well as hang one from the top of the easel. I've seen them fly towards me, and take a major sharp turn as they approach the Bounce towels.

I place the opened Dakota box on my easel tray or on the Jerry's seat bench. I don't like to sit while painting, but occassionally my back says "sit!" so I do.

It is a bit front heavy and has a tendency to want to fall over when fully loaded, but I just prop it in front of something so it won't fall. I don't find this too heavy to lift into the back of my new Volvo wagon - yes, it finally arrived last Saturday and it has already had a two day workout of plein air painting.

Oh yes, and the price was about right for me too. Everything but the Dakota box was on sale at the times I bought them.

This method works well for domestic travel, but I wouldn't use it to take out of country or on a plane. My friend Irene uses a pochade box and tripod that all fit easily into a small canvas bag she's made that hold everything she needs and is very light to carry. However, I want more pastels than she has so her method won't work for me.

As I said before, everyone has to find what works for them.

Peggy

doe
08-20-2006, 09:42 AM
I use a full size french easel with two boxes that fit inside the sectional drawer and bring my big case in case I want it. The two boxes have two trays each though and I've put a good assortment in them and don't really need to bring the big case. Then I just have paper towels and panels to bring.

Art Bin boxes:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Aug-2006/12181-Artbin.jpg

Or this pochade that I bought for oils is also good for pastels:

http://www.artworkessentials.com

Good Luck!:)

chewie
08-21-2006, 02:26 PM
here's what i use, and its done me very well. the box is a unision set, which i got on ebay, 72 landscape set. i was really stewing over how to get them all in the drawer til i kinda just sat it there, and duh! it fits perfectly! its also fairly sturdy. i cut the slotted foam on the end and side, so i had a bit of room within the box for those hard pastels you can see along the edge. i also have room for charcoal, a kneaded, and a shaper thingie. i took many pieces and broke them in half, so i had room in each slot for 2 colors instead of one, (esp since i usually use the sides anyhow, no reason to carry whole sticks)now i can have many more choices with same amt. of space/weight. the palatte that came with it is stashed somewheres in my studio, replaced by that hunk of hardboard, of which i put newsprint on for cushion. also put a tape-tab on it, cuz if you put something in there that is perfect sized, you have a devil of time getting it out! so i can just grab the tab, slap on a sheet, and paint. i use banker's clips to attach the paper. along with the french easel set up, i bring a tote with the other necessaries, like bug spray, fix, tape, clips, my walkman, sketchbook, water, etc... i use the lid of the box, and the foam, holding it all together with that huge rubber band. then the hardboard, and its all fairly snug and highly portable. the cart/chair makes it easier yet for me to get it to locations, and have that chair for either resting or a table. i think if it were a pain, i wouldn't bother with plein air, but find this easy enough to use, while still having everything i need or want. i am new to this myself, but went with other's advice to get started, and i'm happy i did. one thing i did learn is don't skimp on your french easel--the cheapies have soft hardware, tiny bolts, thinner, softer woods, and just dont' last. you'll spend alot of time gluing it, as a friend did last paint out i went to! while i was relaxing in the hotel, she was rushing around looking for glue, clamps, etc.!! no thanks! i hope this is useful! in the end, the others are so right--its what fits YOU that counts! http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Aug-2006/6679-PA_set_up.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Aug-2006/6679-plein_air_set1.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Aug-2006/6679-plein_air2.jpg

Katherine T
08-22-2006, 08:50 PM
Oh what an interesting thread - I love looking at what other people take outside with their pastels

I'm with Sandy on this one.
I have a large foamcore board (size A2 if poss) so I can do my 20"x25" sheets - which rests on my knee (I never carry an easel). If I'm in a cafe I get a chair with a back and turn it round and use that as a rest to get a tilt. the only problem with resting on knees is you have to watch perspective.
The board gets s covered with a very big plastic bag so it won't get me dirty when I carry it. (I collect very large plastic bags!)
I usually carry between 4-6 sheets of abrasive pastel board - hence no fixative required but the piece I'm working on is cushioned)
I have a very robust folding seat with a back rest made by Phillips of Axminster - which has travelled the world - actually it's travelled further than me as it managed to get side tracked on both flights out to the USA and back. It's been to North Carolina and I haven't! (I'm just having panic attacks as I can find the company's address and telephone number listed but no internet presence!) Here's a photo of it from a long time ago when I was still doing watercolours.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Aug-2006/48045-Web_KT_Bali-1992.jpg
I either then take my Art Bin (for Pastels) full of pastels (see below) or I take my Unison sets in their original boxes which are very light and have travelled round the world with mewithout a problem. You can see the small hue based sets in the pcitures of pastel brands threadhttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Aug-2006/48045-WC_Pastels.jpg
I have a sack which takes the rest of the usual gubbins. My essentials are camera, sketchbook, pencils, bug cream, sun cream and wipe-its for getting pastel off my hands.
Hat is on head.
If I'm very very organised, all the pastels and other bits and bobs are in a shopping trolley - one of those with great big wheels that ride over everything. The folding chair (secured by a big bungy cord) hooks round the handle

JamieWG
08-29-2006, 09:36 PM
I'm so excited! I just put together a bunch of ideas from many of you and created a french easel drawer for pastels. I used Chewie's idea of using the french easel drawer. Mine is a Jullian multi-box drawer with metal dividers, so Chewie's idea wouldn't totally work for me. Plus, I want more pastels with me than those individual slots will allow. I used Donna's idea of the foamcore boxes, and made three foamcore boxes to set into the chrome dividers. I can't wait to take pics to show all of you, and to take it out for a test drive. It's been soooo long since I've gone plein air pasteling! :D

Jamie

Shari
09-09-2006, 11:56 AM
i am rejuvinating this thread because I just bought the artcomber and now I want to know exactly what type of French Easels you bought. I know Jamie has the Creative Mark, but I don't know which style, is it the Grand Luxe? I would like to know which brand and model of easels you are using and why you love it!!!! There are sooooo many to choose from. Is the $50 model just as good as the $119 model?

JamieWG
09-09-2006, 12:31 PM
Chewie, love your setup! My drawer has dividers, so a single sheet won't fit in like that. You and Katherine are so well organized!

Shari, I got my Creative Mark many years ago, and I don't see my exact easel in their current lineup. They are also not claiming it to be Jullian-compatible, so those Jullian multi-boxes might not fit. For those who wish to see a demo of how I configured a Jullian multi-box to hold pastels securely for my french easel, here is a link. (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=368170)

Jamie

chewie
09-09-2006, 01:10 PM
thanks jamie! my drawer came with a metal divider thingie but it just sat in there, not attached, and i stashed it elsewhere so i could put that whole box in. your set up is looking really great tho too! the paintings you did on the other thread shows it's working great for you too! wow! and if anyone here at home saw you call me organized, they'd get a real laugh! i'm this years' 'ms. un-organized!'.

shari--do be careful in buying your french easel. the cheaper ones are NOT as good, they are made with cheaper hardware and softer woods. look at www.JudsonsPleinAir.com they are the gruella painter's site. they said mabef is one of the best available, and at a paint out this summer, there were others saying the same thing, and how well theirs held up over many years and trips. (and they showed it!) and still going strong! i guess myself, i would rather pay a bit more and not have to do repairs, or worse, get 8 hours from home in a paint out, and find my easel is broken! urhg!

i have that cart/chair from jerry's, and have recently stopped using the bag that came with it, and just use a bungie to strap the easel to it, which is faster, and less hassle.

and why are we all so fasinated by seeing set ups? but dang, if that's not a fun thread to open?! haha!

AnnieA
09-09-2006, 01:35 PM
...one thing i did learn is don't skimp on your french easel--the cheapies have soft hardware, tiny bolts, thinner, softer woods, and just dont' last.

Chewie: I think you're probably right there. I bought a super inexpensive one (I think it may have been Pro-Art) on sale, and I've noticed that it just seems a little wobbly. It may be the soft wood issue, and fixable, or it may just be that I overload the top with a heavy board, but I'd advise anyone who can afford an easel made with better materials to do so.

On a side note, I noticed that Dakota has an easel I've never seen before that looks like it might work very well for pastel artists (and it weighs a half pound less than a Soltek, although it doesn't offer as much storage space); it's called an Anderson Swivel, and they have it on sale until the end of September: http://www.dakotapastels.com/index_easels_boxes_easels.shtml#

They also have the Soltek on sale: http://www.dakotapastels.com/julyaugustseptembersale_2006.shtml#unison (it's listed about halfway down the page)

Shari
09-09-2006, 04:02 PM
I have been looking at the Anderson online and I would love to hear from anyone who has one. Please step forward if you own one, we want to hear from you!!!

Sketchcny
09-09-2006, 06:51 PM
I've been using a Julien Easel for the past 3 years -- I use it in both my studio and en plein air. I've taken it to workshops and find it suits me well. I've also struggled with what to bring en plein air, and after 3 years of experimenting have found that LESS IS MORE!!! I bring my easel and a Cassatt Box that I lined with foam inserts. This holds my Rembrandts (the workhorse of my pastel collection) as well as some of my favorite Unisons (blue-greens & blue-purples) and a few of Diane Townsend's terrages. I have a small bristle brush (for brushing out), vine charcoal and a kneaded eraser. I also carry a small sketch book to do value sketches and sometimes a watercolor sketch before I begin working in pastel.

Admittedly, I find that most of the women I have done plein air with prefer a lighter set-up. Or they use a lot of carts to haul everything around. Carts are fine on roads, but if you are going off the beaten path, they are terribly cumbersome -- I've carried more than a few down rocky slopes or across dirt paths for people.

I do a lot of sketching in the field, then come back to the studio and work from my sketches. I find they convey far more information than photos. The workshop I took with Margaret Evans this past summer really emphasized that, and this approach has really improved my plein air work.

Paul

Deborah Secor
09-09-2006, 11:18 PM
I just rated this thread, which I suggest you all do! It will make it easier for the Mods to put it in our Library, in time.

I, too, am in search of a lighter weight set up. I have two full French easels. I have a Jullian and a Mabef, and I'll take the Mabef any day, hands down. The Jullian hardware is stiff and I have a hard time opening the thing if it's at all humid--like morning tends to be. The Mabef has lost its handle, but I tied Christmas cordage on it about five years ago and it's still working... I've had it for about 15 years now and it needs adjusting now and then, but it's a fine piece of woodworking for the price.

I have a small wooden Rembrandt box that has two foam-topped open trays with foam inserts inside and closed up fits inside the drawer of the easel. I have my Schminckes and GAs in it. I found having pastels inside the drawer made it too difficult to get to, plus the dust fromt he painting fell all over the pastels! With this box I can open the drawer a bit farther and prop the open box inside it, and not have that much problem. Oh--and by the way, I have also used the wooden section UNDER the drawer for extra pastels. I lay them in there and cover them with foam and a piece of cardboard. Handell was doing this back in the early 90s.

I have a rolling bag that it all goes into, if I have to hike anywhere (more than a few dozen feet from the car), but that's a bit awkward to use.

BUT I want something small and lightweight that I can keep packed and ready to go out the door. I'm considering a lot of different ones, so your input helps!

Deborah

norm60
09-10-2006, 02:15 AM
Hi Sherie,
I live in Talent OR. and we have a plein air group that paints almost every Thursday 10 - 12 PM. One of our group is a pastelist. She uses a MABEF easel and a Dakota pastel fold out box. Seems to handle it quiet well. I myself am just starting to try pastels and am still trying out ideas to transport. EasyLite is a nice product that facilitates any medium www.artworkessentials.com. They have a nice site and you may find their pochade more suitable. We paint all over the area, including Ashland. Maybe one day you might want to jump in and see how we do things.
You can reach me at [email protected]
Cheers
Norm

DFGray
09-10-2006, 10:56 AM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Sep-2006/1921-lightwindsetupsm.jpg

the bag holds a rock to weigh down easle with always carried bungy
I use a tv tray and backpack for pastels
my board holds my papers and then finished work

Deborah Secor
09-12-2006, 06:32 PM
I just ordered an Anderson Swivel Easel... I decided that the birthday money I received from my mom and in-laws was justification enough and this one seems to suit my needs. So, we'll see! I understand from a few other pros that it's not perfect but in the greater scheme of things it does the job well--soooooo, I had to stop asking and start deciding--and I just did it!

I chose this one for
weight
overall size
paper size
not having to carry a tripod, too.

I'll give you a report when it arrives.

Deborah

meowmeow
09-12-2006, 06:46 PM
Great....Deborah will be our very own guinea pig! It looks wonderful...apparently it is new. I await your report on how it all works out, Deborah. Sounds like a super birthday gift!

Sandy

JamieWG
09-12-2006, 07:26 PM
What Sandy said! Deborah, how tall are you? I'm especially interested in finding out if the easel is tall enough when you're standing to paint. Thanks!

Jamie

meowmeow
09-12-2006, 07:40 PM
And can you lower it so that you could sit comfortably while you paint! WE don't ask much of you Deborah of course...just a minute by minute account of how it all goes! :D


Sandy

Maggie P
09-13-2006, 01:09 PM
I'm coming into this discussion kind of late--have been traveling so much, it's hard to find a spare minute in front of a computer! But I've tried literally dozens of versions of plein air setups and have found one I love and have used for several years now. The biggest advantage is it is incredibly lightweight--you can pick up the tripod setup with a finger. The tripod, easel adapter and artist's shelf all come from Sun Eden (www.suneden.com) and are inexepensive as art supplies go (about $150 when I bought them). Then I use the Heilman backpack box, bungee-cord it to the shelf for security. I also drop a bungee cord from the center tripod brace and hang my bag from it. I've never had this assembly blow over! When I fly with pastels, I put the easel stuff in a checked suitcase, padded by clothes, and the Heilman box in a carry-on bag. It works great. If anyone is interested I will find a photo to post, but you can also see it on the SunEden site.

meowmeow
09-13-2006, 01:23 PM
:D Thanks Maggie...but that is not the right link! :D
SunEden is South Africa's most accessible naturist resort where couples and families can enjoy the sun on a beautiful..... It takes you to a South African nudist colony....

Of course I could be wrong and maybe Maggie is recommending it...you could get in lots of good life drawing i bet! :D

I think this is the right link:
http://www.sun-eden.com/

Sandy

Deborah Secor
09-13-2006, 01:26 PM
:lol: I clicked it and thought--'WHAT?'--then saw your post, Sandy..... ROFL!

Deborah, how tall are you? I'm especially interested in finding out if the easel is tall enough when you're standing to paint.
Jamie, I'm only 5'4", and maybe a bit less than that these days, so I don't think it will be an issue for me. I usually keep things low because of a shoulder injury that restricts my movement. Hope it will work--I'll let you know. :)

Deborah

Maggie P
09-13-2006, 01:30 PM
Ooops! It's www.Sun-Eden.com. I forgot the hyphen. Sorry!

MarshaSavage
10-04-2006, 09:51 PM
Well, I am wondering how Deborah likes the Anderson Swivel Easel. (sorry I only read page 1!)

I have just now found this thread, so I am putting my two cents worth in -- especially about the Anderson Easel. I have had mine since February and it was one of the first -- so if they have made any improvements -- I don't know it yet.

Let me say first that I love the weight and most of the engineering of this easel. Besides working all the time plein air with this, I carried it to France for a 3-week painting trip and it performed well. I packed it in my checked luggage inside a plastic bag (to keep any stray pastel dust off my clothes!).

So, now to the actual easel -- The easel part -- the part that holds your board and paper does not move up and down -- this is a problem. I am short -- 4'11" -- and it is a little low even for me! Also the expanding part of that easel does not go larger than 15 1/2" -- even though they say it will accomodate a 16" painting. Maybe vertical, but not horizontal configuration!!!! And, I paint many 12 x 16 paintings plein air -- so I have to put a foam core board (cut to 15 1/2") in it and then clip another board above the expansion part to the first foam core board. This is not very sturdy.

Also, the easel part swivels -- great!!!!! and a problem!!!!! When you fold it closed (as it goes against the drawer part), it has a tendency to swivel away and around to hang down! I have to use a bungee cord to keep it in place. They really need to fix that! Again, not a major thing to make me not like it! But an annoyance.

They include a bag thing (sling type) that you snap around the three legs for holding miscellaneous things like paper towels, or rocks to hold the weight down if it is windy. My first use, one of the snap parts came off. Not a major thing, but I liked the idea of having it there to weight the easel down or use for those odd things. Weight is usually not an issue since I put my box (which is very heavy) on the open drawer part of the easel.

The drawer is not a pull out drawer -- it has two hinged doors that close down on it -- this is nice -- as it opens and gives you a shelf to put things on. And you can put things inside to carry -- like a brush, ruler, Artguard for the hands, clips, pencils, etc.

So . . . now I need to hear what you others that have purchased it think!

JamieWG
10-04-2006, 10:10 PM
Marsha, I've been waiting to hear someone's opinion of that easel ever since it came out. Thanks so much for putting your comments here. I'm not exactly tall, but at 5'5" and with the other issues you mention, I think I'll hold off for awhile and keep looking for something that would perform at least as well as my good ol' Frenchie with less weight and bulk. :D

I am thinking of building an easel out of foamcore. (Stop laughing, please.) *giggle*

Jamie

Deborah Secor
10-05-2006, 01:19 AM
Mine is on its way to me. Should arrive on Monday and I'll give you a full report when I break it in on Thursday's paint-out. I'd heard all the issues you mentioned, Marsha, but the Anderson easels were on back order everywhere so I'm hoping it was for of some design tweaking! We'll see. The height issue is my biggest concern too. If it doesn't look like it will work, I'm not even going to get it's little feet dirty before returning it!

Deborah

DFGray
10-05-2006, 01:08 PM
field testing my new easle yesterday
pretty sturdy and lots of height
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2006/1921-tiedtotreepan.jpg
took awhile to set up

PeggyB
10-05-2006, 02:01 PM
:lol: :lol: :lol: Oh Dan this is just too funny! Bet it is very sturdy though. :lol: :lol: :lol:

I have a different Anderson - their travel easel. It isn't high enough for me at 5'8", and the wind is a factor, but it is light weight, does hold larger work, and packs easily into a suitcase with room for clothes to spare. I actually prefer my Jullien half french plein air easel for when I'm taking more than one suitcase (when I went to Italy) or when I'm traveling by car. It weighs only a bit more, but is overall more preferable to me for the price that I paid (don't remember exactly, but it was on sale). It fits nicely into my Jerry's art cart along with my large Dakota pastel box, my backing board, and lots of other things. I use the seat part of the art cart to put the open box of pastels on. With the Anderson, I have to put the box on the ground, and find a place to sit so I can not bend over to paint. All of this isn't so heavy that I can't lift it into the back of my car - and I have lower back joint and disc disease.

Peggy

Deborah Secor
10-09-2006, 03:56 PM
Just thought I'd add a link to the thread reviewing my first impressions of the Anderson Swivel Easel (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=375539). So far, so good. Hey--I've had it for an hour now...

Deborah