View Full Version : Plien Air Easel

04-05-2010, 03:17 PM
I was thinking about buying the following: Tripod Field Easal $85 and the Shadebuddy Umbrella - Stand $69.95 from Dakota Pastels. Please see the link below to the items. Has anyone tried these out and was it good or bad? I currently have a french easel that I take on plien air outings. Would the Collapsible Plein Air Umbrella $49.95 be better since it attaches to the easel or is it better to have it stand alone? I am on a limited budget so the Hi dollar Plien Air easels are out. Thanks so much for the advise. james


04-05-2010, 04:39 PM
I don’t have the easel so I can’t comment on it. I do have the Shade Buddy though.

Good sized umbrella
Not attached to your easel
Easy setup

Packs long (close to 4’)
Poor in sand and won’t work on a hard\paved surface

04-05-2010, 06:06 PM
Thanks Mike for the imput. james

04-05-2010, 07:16 PM
You should look at the Best Brella - it attaches to everything (almost) and is very compact. Paula Ford had a thread that showed her Soltek easel set up for plein air with her Best Brella attached. I bought one as I have heard such great things about it and love to plein air paint. Otherwise, I don't know anything about what you are looking at - I'm sure others will weigh in!!


04-05-2010, 07:29 PM
I like the Mabef tripod easel from Dakota. Richard McKinley even recommended it during a workshop I attended last fall. It's great b/c it has arms that come out and it'll hold your pastel box, so it weighs down easily. I find it easy to set up. The only thing I didn't like was that it didn't have an easy way to carry it - no handle or strap. A watercolorist friend puts hers (watercolor ones are the same although they don't have the arms) in an extra folding chair bag and I found it works very well, too.

04-06-2010, 03:13 PM
I have a Beauport easel which might be a sturdier version of the tripod shown. It's good for larger works, but I wouldn't want to pack it far from the car. After trying two umbrellas (and wasting $$) I found Bestbrella the best investment for me. Mostly I use an Anderson easel because the mast swivels and the pastels can be kept in the box. The Bestrella also swivels, stays securely attached. As the sun moves, all that needs to be done is adjust the mast and the umbrella. If you are taller than 5'7" you might not like the Anderson easel---unless newer versions adjust for tall folks.

04-06-2010, 04:19 PM
Thanks so very much for the reply. I was just researching the Anderson Swivel Plien Air easel so I am so glad you replied Sonni. I am 5'9" so do you think the anderson will be to short for me? thanks again, james

04-07-2010, 09:22 AM
Sonni, can you lock the swivel in position? (I have a lousy tripod where I can't stop the swivel from swiveling... )

I've been eyeing the Bestbrella too, so thanks!


04-07-2010, 01:06 PM

I use a SunEden tripod folding easel and love it!
It was a shelf in front that my pastel boxes clip onto. I got the boxes they sell and put a plein air sized set of fav pastels in it. They do sell a backpack and a rolling version of bags. But, I just put mine into a rolling briefcase I was no longer using and it works very well. After years of struggling with my Frenchie, now I can set up in about 5 min. They do sell a separate unbrella that clamps on, but I did not get it as I had one that worked.


04-07-2010, 06:22 PM
Thanks everyone for the replies, you've gave me a lot to think about. james

04-10-2010, 11:55 AM
James...maybe not. The company is based in Los Angeles, CA--you can google the address. I'd contact them if I were you. You can also use the easel sitting down, which seems to be what I mostly do anymore.

Charlie-- There is no lock but it's very stiff and doesn't move. In 5 years it has never slipped or wobbled on me.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Apr-2010/111873-full_standing_5.jpg You can see the height of the easel next to the table to compare. The mast does not go any higher than this (unless the design has changed over the last 5 years). The Bestbrella attaches easily to any one of the legs below the box. I put foam pods and covers in the box to hold pastels