View Full Version : Giant Tripod Easel vs. Tripod Field Easel

11-23-2011, 06:09 AM
I'm still wavering between easels...would like to request one for my birthday gift, but not sure which to ask for.


I think that size-wise, either the giant or the regular would suit me fine for now. However, I am wondering whether the regular field easel is stable enough in the wind. If so, I would prefer to get it because price-wise it's more attractive (and maybe if I get more serious about pastels, I might invest in another one later).

Also, I saw a setup in Maggie Price's Getting Started with Pastels (?) book with a metal tripod that had fold-out arms holding a pastel box on the side, which appeals to me for plein air setups. I like having the arms option, but wary of painting by reaching *over* the pastel box. Has anyone found that it gets in the way, or is it not a big deal?

Do only metal tripods offer the swivel option to place the pastel box on the side, or do the wood easels offer this option as well?


11-24-2011, 11:30 AM
Michelle, if you don't want to make another easel investment and if you have a sturdy camera tripod around the house, I recommend that you look into McKinley's plein air set-up detailed here (http://www.artistsnetwork.com/medium/pastel/the-perfect-pastel-plein-air-setup-the-search-continues). It is easily adapted to the studio as well. He uses a panel fitted with a quick-release attached and the shelf trays (http://sun-eden.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_ID=22) from Sun Eden. The key here is a heavy-duty tripod, not the cheapies you see all over now with the light digital cameras. If you don't have one you can probably find one in the closet of an old amateur photographer friend or relative.

And yes, by just swiveling the panel around on the tripod head, you can arrange the McKinley set-up so that the tray is on the side. All very versatile!


Barbara WC
11-24-2011, 07:07 PM
Hi Michelle-

I have the Mabef Giant Tripod Easel (without the attached folding arms for holding pastels). The easel is sturdy and well made, but I think too heavy to be a true plein aire easel that can be lugged around. I use it mainly in my art room, although it is light enough to carry out into the backyard to paint outside on nice days. But, for me, it is too heavy to really carry around with the rest of my gear when going out to portrait sessions or landscape painting.

I personally don't like the lighter weight field easel and would suggest a folding metal field easel with a carry case instead of the wooden field easel.

I use a Winsor Newton Bristol easel, although it's not ideal for pastels because there is nowhere to store pastels, but it works for me.

11-24-2011, 08:48 PM
I have the regular Mabef Tripod Easel, as the giant one wasn't around when I made the purchase, not that I would have needed it. I like this easel very much and prefer having the arms in the front, as it can hold a variety of boxes. I have found it is plenty heavy, but it'd be easy enough to attach a bag of rocks or something.

Not sure if this applies to the giant one, but the regular one is highly portable in a collapsible chair bag, so it easily slings over the shoulder.