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View Poll Results: What type of easel do you use?
$1,000 plus - Hughes, Sanyi, Best 4 6.78%
$500 plus - high end, but not luxury or custom 5 8.47%
French easel - mostly for plein air painting 3 5.08%
$100 to $500 - average easel that can be found at most art supply stores 40 67.80%
Drafting table 7 11.86%
Voters: 59. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1   Report Bad Post  
Old 10-07-2010, 01:42 PM
ahealey ahealey is offline
Portland, Oregon
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What type of easel do you use, if any?

Hi, I am wondering what types of easels people are using and if you think it makes a difference. In other words, if you have a great easel that is expensive, does it make painting easier, or have you not noticed a difference?
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Old 10-10-2010, 12:21 PM
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La_ La_ is offline
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Re: What type of easel do you use, if any?

my most used easel is the one my dad built for me when i was about 12 ... standard solid wooden floor model three legged thing with adjustable ledge. it's light, it's adjustable, it's solid, works great. have since made three others like it and use them the most too. (always have more than one painting on the go).

2nd in line is the wooden table top versions, kind of square tripods (20$ from a friend of mine that runs a pawn shop).

3rd in line is the metal (aluminum?) collapsable tripod table top (20-30$) - it has a lip on the ledge that gets in the way of painting the bottom edge of the board/canvas so i don't prefer it.

4th in line are the old 'arts society owned' wooden tripod style easels that are convertible to table top easels ... they're flimsy and wiggly and are used more now for drying racks than anything else.

I do also have two fancy, heavy, 'display' easels (purchased 2nd hand, cheap with a bunch of other stuff, but new they're more like $300 - $5000) but both have a bottom support wiggle, both have upper and lower canvas supports that Must be used/adjusted every time you switch canvases and are completely annoying to work on/with so they too are glorified drying racks or used for display only.

also have a monster drafting table (300+ pounds of old school technology) that i got third hand for 25$ and do use it for 36x48" + works or charcoals and the like. think that one cost me more in beer for the grunts who hauled it upstairs to my studio for me!

imho, you Don't have to spend a lot to get a decent easel, at all. you do, however, need to go beyond dollar store and other box stores to get decent paint/canvas and brushes so my priority is that by far over fancy dancy easels.

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Old 10-17-2010, 06:14 PM
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wabbitt wabbitt is offline
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Re: What type of easel do you use, if any?

I have several easels, I inherited three from my Mom: an aluminum tabletop easel, a lightweight wooden easel that I'm holding together with picture frame wire, and a heavy duty H-frame. No idea to their cost, it was free to me. The H-frame is 60-80 years old.

But I am not a stand-up painter, especially since making the decision to paint smaller (11x14 or smaller). So the big easels are simply displaying a couple of my biggest canvas paintings. I use my plein aire easel. currently under my bed, (when I choose to bring it) from a portable seat.

My self-designed, self-made art table is currently getting all the use, especially as long as I keep the drawing board tilted so that stuff doesn't accumulate on top. I call it an art table because it is designed to suit my needs for art supply storage and creation, but I checked drafting table on your poll.
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Last edited by wabbitt : 10-17-2010 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 10-17-2010, 07:04 PM
Aires Aires is offline
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Re: What type of easel do you use, if any?

I think a lot depends on the type of painting you plan to do; plein aire is certainly going to require something light for carrying but tough enough to withstand constant use; the polar opposite would be someone who must sit and paint and needs something that is sturdy and easily adjustable. I started out with a number of easels - aluminum tripod that was easy to carry with me, table easels, heavy clumsy easel and finally my favorite for retirement years is my H-frame. I paint seated in a rolling padded chair, my easel is adjusted to the right height, it never wobbles or moves on me, and everything else I need is in wheeled drawers and easily reached. So I feel it is highly variable, depending on style of painting, studio painting or out in nature, etc. Good luck in finding the easel that best fits your style of painting and your needs.
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Old 10-17-2010, 11:42 PM
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Ramie Leigh Ramie Leigh is offline
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Re: What type of easel do you use, if any?

I've got 3 + 1 (you'll see.. ) at the moment; a french easel that's OMG heavy. Portable? Really, now? And it takes up such an obnoxious amount of room with it's legs out! Spraaaawwwll.. I haven't used it much in ages.

The other two are both pretty cheap H-frame or modified H-frame easels; both were in the $100 range, one from Dick Blick, one from Hobby Lobby, and frankly? I hate them. Both of them have the same vice, ALL of the adjustment points are 'friction' based, you're turning a screw or handle to clamp wood against wood, and it WILL slip at the worst moment.

Here's the second one, from Dick Blick. The only reason I didn't set this easel on fire is that I was moving and didn't have time. Inevitably I'd be painting, and it would slip at the WORST moment; the bottom section would drop down, thus the painting wasn't supported at the top anymore, and Lo I have a wet painting heading for my face. So, I'm juggling a loaded paintbrush in one hand, a sopping sponge in the other, and the painting is headed for... my .....face. How I hate that thing. To this day I wish I'd returned it, it wasn't cheap!

I got so mad at that easel that I stormed off to Hobby Lobby and bought this one. It's MUCH better than the other - actually, y'know, usable - but it's still frustrating to adjust. The adjustment screws will grab when you don't want them to.. then slip... Augh! It takes a rather exasperating amount of wiggle-wiggle-wiggle to get everything just right. Forget about using it horizontally - it is too much of a PITA to jam it tight enough to support the canvas securely.

So what do I use to paint flat? A tray table from Wal-mart. Cost about $20. It's the perfect height for me to work on the painting while sitting in my rolling chair. It's large enough that a 30" x 40" canvas isn't tippy at all. I just turn the canvas about to work on different sections. I absolutely love it. :lol I lucked out that the canvases I'm using have a full cross-shaped brace in the back instead of corner bracing - obviously, this would be a no-go with a corner-braced canvas.

All that being said, I can't tell you what to buy. Paint for awhile first, then decide. Choose based on how you like to work: I like to work flat. Mostly. I'd use an easel more if it was less annoying! Even if I had $5000 to spend, right at this very second, I don't know what easel I'd buy. I can promise you, though, that it would have a mechanical-lock type of adjustment to the height! Friction-adjust is really only suitable for french easels / easels meant to hold paintings of about 20" and under. Just not reliable for large canvases.. and criminy, 30" x 40" isn't THAT big! Supposedly that stupid easel from DB will hold an 84" canvas - not on your life.
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Old 10-20-2010, 09:52 PM
old_hobbyist old_hobbyist is offline
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Re: What type of easel do you use, if any?

I would've voted on your poll, but there's no place for "none of the above". I have five easels (or things that I call easels).

The one I use the most is a cheap eBay easel designed to be used on a desk or table top. It rests atop my workbench in my garage. I am restricted to pics no taller than 20 inches because a taller canvas would hit the fluorescent workbench light.

The easel I use for the Thurs night workshop is also a cheap eBay tabletop one that I've modified to stand 6 inches above the standard work table. I usually restrict my workshop paintings to 12 x 16 inches.

I use a standard camera tripod for plein air. When I'm going to work relatively close to my transportation, I use yet a third cheap eBay easel. I fastened a metal plate on the bottom, with a 1/4-20 drilled and tapped hole to accommodate the threaded bolt on the tripod. If I'm traveling a great distance into the woods or am taking my art stuff on a plane, I replace the eBay easel with a 24 inch piece of 1 x 3 inch wood. I have inserted a thing called a hanger bolt (try Ace hardware). One end of the bolt is a wood screw the other end is a threaded 1/4-20 insert that accommodates the tripod bolt. I have drilled holes in the wood every inch along its length and have inserted metal bolts with wing nuts. I only use canvas panels. I insert the canvas panel between the bolts. This works great particularly in a wind.

Some time ago, I needed to do a really big painting. None of these easels would work. So I created an easel from a wooden ladder that I salvaged from a dump. I added casters to the front legs so that I can easily move it around my workshop. I have added a tray and a set of braces that hold the painting at a proper angle. The tray and braces are moveable, allowing me to paint very large pics without needing to kneel or stand on a stepstool. I demonstrated the conversion of this ladder on an early thread.

In short, no one easel serves all purposes for me.

Last edited by old_hobbyist : 10-20-2010 at 10:01 PM.
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Old 10-22-2010, 08:16 AM
sharg sharg is offline
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Sarasota, Florida
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Re: What type of easel do you use, if any?

I use a metal, folding, tripod-type easel. It is light enough to take outside for plein air painting. It can be moved easily when I'm cleaning the studio. I gave away my big, heavy wooden easel years ago.
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Old 10-30-2010, 12:02 PM
TGRANT TGRANT is offline
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Re: What type of easel do you use, if any?

I built my own easel for oils and pastels. Its essentially a single post with several movable crossbars and places to clip reference sketches. The advantage was that I designed it for my personal style and rather cramped space I use for painting. Since Im a woodworker, I was able to use wood left over from other projects so the cost was minimal.
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Old 11-05-2010, 08:53 PM
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Lucio76 Lucio76 is offline
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Re: What type of easel do you use, if any?

I use this but I am not satisfied because when I have to paint a large horizontal format, every time I work on the sides, everything starts to "dance".
I will buy a "studio easel", larger as possible.
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Old 11-06-2010, 01:25 PM
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JamieWG JamieWG is offline
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Re: What type of easel do you use, if any?

I wish we could choose more than one!

In my dreams, I use a Hughes 3000. In reality, I don't have the ceiling height for it. In the studio, when sitting I use an ArtQuest desk (center section lifts to become an easel), a Van Gogh table easel, or Guerrilla Painter pochade box on a tabletop. When standing, I use a H frame easel.

For plein air work, when standing I use a Soltek, French easel (for pastels only) or Beauport. When sitting, I use a Guerrilla box or foamcore pochade box (if hiking to location).


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Old 11-06-2010, 10:50 PM
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Re: What type of easel do you use, if any?

Old 2X4's nailed together. I never even knew you could buy an easel for over 1000 dollars. Seriously? You can? I have a 60$ hobby lobby foldable floor easel, very nice. Top of the line. I also have a little table top 18 dollar easel. I also have a drafting table (an antique that was going to be thrown out-- zero dollars.) It's not the easel, it is the art. I used to paint on an old ladder back chair. They make great easels.
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Last edited by Use Her Name : 11-06-2010 at 10:58 PM.
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Old 11-06-2010, 11:45 PM
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Re: What type of easel do you use, if any?

i use a few. i have "old trusty" which is a medium size mabef, probably 15 years old now. then i have a couple of little pablos, which are small but damn good little sturdy easels that are like mini mabefs. and i have a sanyi on the way (arriving monday!) that is to replace my david sorg (which i loved, but it would not fit under my garage roof when i moved back home from my pro-studio.)

so i bought the sanyi pro4 and i'll let everyone know what i think about it when i get to work with it. i'm really excited that it has a crank on it that lays the easel totally linear flat. woo!

i also use a drafting table - a pretty basic one. not the super cheap one, but not the super fancy one either. and i have an additional drawing desk as well that is not adjustable. just flat.

oh! i also have a table top easel that i rarely use. it's so pretty, i don't want to mess it up. great for displaying small stuff though - and it has that hand drawer too

Last edited by artyczar : 11-06-2010 at 11:49 PM.
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Old 11-15-2010, 09:38 PM
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Prismaguy Prismaguy is offline
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Re: What type of easel do you use, if any?

I use Cheap Joe's mighty h-frame. Bought it about three years ago and no regrets. The design is about as close to perfect as an easel can get IMO. I don't see myself buying another one for a long time-hope i'm not jinxing myself here! I agree its not about the easel-its about the art. I shake my head when I see a $3000 dollar Hughes with a 12x16 painting on it. The only reason to have an easel like that is if you work REALLY big.
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Old 11-16-2010, 06:53 PM
pigskins pigskins is offline
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Re: What type of easel do you use, if any?

A small metal sketching easel, but I work small and often on a small desk/table. I'd use my husbands easels if I needed a big one though.
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Old 11-19-2010, 08:38 PM
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Re: What type of easel do you use, if any?

I have to set when I work and I find that most easels are not comfortable for me to use. I use the little table top ones I bought for $10.00 at Michaels (I know not the best store) for drying or to hold unfinished work. My father made me this big drafting table out of scrap plywood with wheels and a bracing board at the bottom that I set my feet on. I have found this homemade drafting table is the best to work on.
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