WetCanvas
Home Member Services Content Areas Tools Info Center WC Partners Shop Help
Channels:
Search for:
in:

Welcome to the WetCanvas forums. You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions, articles and access our other FREE features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload your own photos and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please visit our help center.

Go Back   WetCanvas > Explore Subjects > Plein Air
User Name
Password
Register Mark Forums Read

Salute to our Partners
WC! Sponsors

View Poll Results: Which portable easel do you think is the best for plein air painting?
Jullian French Easel 73 33.80%
Versa EasyL Easel 39 18.06%
Soltek Easel 29 13.43%
Open Box M 41 18.98%
Guerilla Painter Pochade Box 34 15.74%
Voters: 216. You may not vote on this poll

Our Sponsors
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #16   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-20-2009, 10:44 AM
Andrew's Avatar
Andrew Andrew is offline
A Local Legend
Charles City, Iowa
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 5,073
 
Hails from United States
Re: Which easel do you think is the absolute best for plein air painting?

I am not sure about the best, or if I am the qualified to make that qualification, but I will weigh in on what works for me.

Most of my plein air work is sketchbook stuff, using watercolour if I desire. So I am working on my little three legged folding stool (or occasionally standing) holding my sketchbook (or drawing board) and palette in one hand, and Turner WC box and brushes at my side.

When I do actually have the time to paint, I do have a Yarka field easel that I like, but I have speed issues painting that large. So I have found a Jullian cigarbox pochade that fits my style of working outdoors phenomenally.

Andrew
__________________
"Never ascribe to malice what adequately can be explained as stupidity"-- Robert J. Hanlon

“What a genius, that Picasso. It is a pity he doesn't paint.” - Marc Chagall
Reply With Quote
  #17   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-20-2009, 11:46 AM
Saturday Painter's Avatar
Saturday Painter Saturday Painter is offline
Senior Member
Southern California
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 412
 
Hails from United States
Re: Which easel do you think is the absolute best for plein air painting?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CLS Portrait Artist
Can you use a canvas with the Alla Prima easel or just panels?
Most plein air painters use panels because if you are facing into the light at all, it comes through a stretched canvas but not a panel--and panels are easier to transport.
__________________
Vicki
Reply With Quote
  #18   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-20-2009, 04:53 PM
JamieWG's Avatar
JamieWG JamieWG is offline
A WC! Legend
New York's Hudson Valley
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 24,395
 
Hails from United States
Re: Which easel do you think is the absolute best for plein air painting?

I think the answer depends on whether you like to sit or stand, whether you need to be able to hike long distances, and what sizes you paint. For those reasons, I use many different setups. However, if I had to limit myself to only one, I'd keep my Soltek.

Jamie
Reply With Quote
  #19   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-21-2009, 02:12 AM
Michaelmcg's Avatar
Michaelmcg Michaelmcg is offline
A Local Legend
Co Wexford, Ireland
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,973
 
Hails from Ireland
Re: Which easel do you think is the absolute best for plein air painting?

I've had a Soltek for about three years. It is extremely well concieved, but there are design flaws and IMHO the build quality is a bit suspect. From what I've read the legs always give trouble - I've busted the locking mechanism on two of them but it still works unless you want to set up on a steep slope. The hinge which joins the arm holding the panel/canvas to the tripod also failed - I managed to get a replacement part and carried out the repair myself. I was surprised to find that such a critical component was cast aluminium - no wonder it failed. Making critical components such as this one with high tensile steel would have sacrificed little in extra weight and made much more sense.

Regardless of the problems, when this one finally pack in, I will probably buy another.

Michael
__________________
MMcG

My Website www.michaelmcguireart.com My Blog http://www.michaelmcguireart.blogspot.com
C&C welcome
Reply With Quote
  #20   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-21-2009, 09:12 AM
CLS Portrait Artist's Avatar
CLS Portrait Artist CLS Portrait Artist is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 334
 
Hails from United States
Re: Which easel do you think is the absolute best for plein air painting?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaelmcg
I've had a Soltek for about three years. It is extremely well concieved, but there are design flaws and IMHO the build quality is a bit suspect. From what I've read the legs always give trouble - I've busted the locking mechanism on two of them but it still works unless you want to set up on a steep slope. The hinge which joins the arm holding the panel/canvas to the tripod also failed - I managed to get a replacement part and carried out the repair myself. I was surprised to find that such a critical component was cast aluminium - no wonder it failed. Making critical components such as this one with high tensile steel would have sacrificed little in extra weight and made much more sense.

Regardless of the problems, when this one finally pack in, I will probably buy another.

Michael


What year did you buy your Soltek? I've heard they've made improvements to it.
Reply With Quote
  #21   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-21-2009, 01:30 PM
Jano's Avatar
Jano Jano is offline
Senior Member
Near Fargo, ND
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 109
 
Hails from United States
Re: Which easel do you think is the absolute best for plein air painting?

I concur with several of hte above comments, most notably the question of what = "best" as this is a subjective criteria.

I have tried:
-fake julian full size (junky hardware, too heavy, putzy to set up)
-1/2 genuine Julian (size was right, better quality, but still putzy to use, don't like the drawer access)
-Soltek (quick and easy, but heavy for me, and I can see where the legs will become an issue someday; still, it is my choice for working larger outdoors if I can stay close to the car or use a wheeled cart)

But, all that being said: ALLA PRIMA POCHADE, hands down. I just got a Blackfoot (8 x 10) after consulting with Ben H re: what size and conformation would be "best" for MY uses. No matter what size you choose, if you want a quality item which has been thoughtfully designed and well conceived, this is the box. No question.
__________________
Visit Daily JanARt at http://janetflom.com
Reply With Quote
  #22   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-21-2009, 04:38 PM
Proudhawk's Avatar
Proudhawk Proudhawk is offline
Enthusiast
Palmdale, California, USA
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 1,166
 
Hails from United States
Re: Which easel do you think is the absolute best for plein air painting?

Looks like I'm bucking the trend but, I'll take my Open Box M. Well conceived, well made, and an absolute joy to use. That said, I also love my Soltek. And though it's an older model, I haven't had any trouble with it at all. The only thing I don't like about it is that when I'm looking into the light my panel is in shade while my palette is in the light due to the mast design that doesn't block the sun at all. One might suggest an umbrella but, I find them more of a nuisance than a benefit. Of course, I could always change the angle of my palette but I like it horizontal.
__________________
www.gallegoart.com
Reply With Quote
  #23   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-21-2009, 08:11 PM
CLS Portrait Artist's Avatar
CLS Portrait Artist CLS Portrait Artist is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 334
 
Hails from United States
Re: Which easel do you think is the absolute best for plein air painting?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jano
I concur with several of hte above comments, most notably the question of what = "best" as this is a subjective criteria.

I have tried:
-fake julian full size (junky hardware, too heavy, putzy to set up)
-1/2 genuine Julian (size was right, better quality, but still putzy to use, don't like the drawer access)
-Soltek (quick and easy, but heavy for me, and I can see where the legs will become an issue someday; still, it is my choice for working larger outdoors if I can stay close to the car or use a wheeled cart)

But, all that being said: ALLA PRIMA POCHADE, hands down. I just got a Blackfoot (8 x 10) after consulting with Ben H re: what size and conformation would be "best" for MY uses. No matter what size you choose, if you want a quality item which has been thoughtfully designed and well conceived, this is the box. No question.

But once you add the weight of your tripod onto the 4 lbs 4 oz the Blackfoot weighs, won't the Alla Prima box weigh the same as the Soltek?

I'm trying to decide between purchasing the Bitterroot Lite from Alla Prima (weighing in at just over 4 pounds) and priced at $239 versus the 10 X 12 Palette/Panel Holder from Open Box M (weighing only 1.75 pounds) priced at $195. At this point, I'm leaning towards the Open Box M because it is the lightest of them all.
Reply With Quote
  #24   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-22-2009, 04:57 AM
Michaelmcg's Avatar
Michaelmcg Michaelmcg is offline
A Local Legend
Co Wexford, Ireland
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,973
 
Hails from Ireland
Re: Which easel do you think is the absolute best for plein air painting?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CLS Portrait Artist
What year did you buy your Soltek? I've heard they've made improvements to it.

I bought mine about three years ago. The engineer in me just knows that some critical components could be made from more durable materials, with only a small weight increase. Maybe they have made some changes, but the component I ordered is still aluminium.

Michael
__________________
MMcG

My Website www.michaelmcguireart.com My Blog http://www.michaelmcguireart.blogspot.com
C&C welcome
Reply With Quote
  #25   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-22-2009, 10:00 AM
CLS Portrait Artist's Avatar
CLS Portrait Artist CLS Portrait Artist is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 334
 
Hails from United States
Re: Which easel do you think is the absolute best for plein air painting?

I just received a private message from someone who said she gave away her Open Box M because, although the workmanship is decent, the materials are of the cheapest possible kind, particularly the whole hinge system. She was very disappointed in it.

She said if I had money to burn or am only interested in the weight factor or just want to dip a toe into plein air work, then maybe the Open Box M would be a good "starter" choice.

This really surprised me as most of the pros use the Open Box M and highly recommend it. In fact, one of today's greatest living realist artists who will appear at the "Weekend with the Masters" replied to my email last night. He said if he could only own one box, he'd choose the Open Box M. He recommended it over the Alla Prima Pochade because the Open M can handle more sizes of canvases whereas the Alla Prima is only for panels.

The person who PM'd me instead of posting her information on this thread, favors and promotes the Alla Prima Pochade. She claims if she hadn't already given away for free her Open Box M to an acquaintance, she would have given it to me. I do not know her. Why would she give away an expensive item to a stranger or someone who is just an acquaintance? Doesn't she know about eBay?

Is there anyone else out there who is disappointed in their Open Box M?

Yesterday afternoon I was having a difficult time trying to make a decision between the Alla Prima and the Open M. At this point, I believe I will most likely purchase the Open Box M 10 X 12 palette/Panel holder.

Cindy

Last edited by CLS Portrait Artist : 04-22-2009 at 10:44 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #26   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-22-2009, 02:49 PM
Al Skaar's Avatar
Al Skaar Al Skaar is offline
A WetCanvas! Patron Saint
Seattle
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 3,154
 
Hails from United States
Re: Which easel do you think is the absolute best for plein air painting?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CLS Portrait Artist
But once you add the weight of your tripod onto the 4 lbs 4 oz the Blackfoot weighs, won't the Alla Prima box weigh the same as the Soltek?

I'm trying to decide between purchasing the Bitterroot Lite from Alla Prima (weighing in at just over 4 pounds) and priced at $239 versus the 10 X 12 Palette/Panel Holder from Open Box M (weighing only 1.75 pounds) priced at $195. At this point, I'm leaning towards the Open Box M because it is the lightest of them all.

I don't think there is "one absolute best" easel because too much depends on where and how you intend to use it. That said, I have one of Ben Hagget's Bitterroot Lite pochade boxes and can't recommend them highly enough. I use it with a Gitzo Mountaineer carbon fiber tripod, that I luckily picked up at a great price, used, on craigslist. I bought a Manfrotto ball-head, which weighs nearly as much as the tripod. The tripod is rated for an 11 pound load and is solid as a rock. The whole set-up weighs just over 6 pounds. This is a great kit when you have to pack it for any distance. I've also taken it aboard an airline to Mexico where I did a number of plein air paintings and it packed easily and worked great. Ben's pochade boxes have so many very smart design features, not the least of which are the continuous torque hinges - similar to a laptop screen - which eliminates all the clunky hardware that tends to snag inside a pack. Someday I hope to get a Soltek easel for the times when I want to work larger and don't have to tote my gear too far. I should point out that if I had bought my Gitzo tripod new, it would have cost about the same as a new Soltek. I also have a 6x8 pochade from Alla Prima that I have used many times, and that is really a light haul but the palette is small and that took me a bit to get used to.

- Al
__________________
www.alskaar.com

blog: www.outsideinfluences.com

Last edited by Al Skaar : 04-22-2009 at 03:00 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #27   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-22-2009, 04:27 PM
CLS Portrait Artist's Avatar
CLS Portrait Artist CLS Portrait Artist is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 334
 
Hails from United States
Re: Which easel do you think is the absolute best for plein air painting?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unitoid
I don't think there is "one absolute best" easel because too much depends on where and how you intend to use it. That said, I have one of Ben Hagget's Bitterroot Lite pochade boxes and can't recommend them highly enough. I use it with a Gitzo Mountaineer carbon fiber tripod, that I luckily picked up at a great price, used, on craigslist. I bought a Manfrotto ball-head, which weighs nearly as much as the tripod. The tripod is rated for an 11 pound load and is solid as a rock. The whole set-up weighs just over 6 pounds. This is a great kit when you have to pack it for any distance. I've also taken it aboard an airline to Mexico where I did a number of plein air paintings and it packed easily and worked great. Ben's pochade boxes have so many very smart design features, not the least of which are the continuous torque hinges - similar to a laptop screen - which eliminates all the clunky hardware that tends to snag inside a pack. Someday I hope to get a Soltek easel for the times when I want to work larger and don't have to tote my gear too far. I should point out that if I had bought my Gitzo tripod new, it would have cost about the same as a new Soltek. I also have a 6x8 pochade from Alla Prima that I have used many times, and that is really a light haul but the palette is small and that took me a bit to get used to.

- Al

The Bitterroot Lite 10 X 12 is what I've been considering, but I want the option to be able to paint on canvas not just panels.

Last edited by CLS Portrait Artist : 04-22-2009 at 04:37 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #28   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-22-2009, 04:46 PM
Al Skaar's Avatar
Al Skaar Al Skaar is offline
A WetCanvas! Patron Saint
Seattle
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 3,154
 
Hails from United States
Re: Which easel do you think is the absolute best for plein air painting?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CLS Portrait Artist
The Bitterroot Lite 10 X 12 is what I've been considering, but I want the option to be able to paint on canvas not just panels.

I would think that Ben could modify the panel holders for you to accommodate stretched canvas. How do you prevent backlighting problems outdoors with stretched canvas?

- Al
__________________
www.alskaar.com

blog: www.outsideinfluences.com
Reply With Quote
  #29   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-22-2009, 06:05 PM
CLS Portrait Artist's Avatar
CLS Portrait Artist CLS Portrait Artist is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 334
 
Hails from United States
Re: Which easel do you think is the absolute best for plein air painting?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unitoid
I would think that Ben could modify the panel holders for you to accommodate stretched canvas. How do you prevent backlighting problems outdoors with stretched canvas?

- Al

Good point about the backlighting problem. Maybe I should stick with panels while painting outdoors.
Reply With Quote
  #30   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-23-2009, 08:24 AM
wendtech's Avatar
wendtech wendtech is online now
Veteran Member
Indianapolis, Indiana
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 674
 
Hails from United States
Re: Which easel do you think is the absolute best for plein air painting?

The best in my opinion is Ben Haggett's Alla Prima Pochade Boxes. They are just wonderful. Easy to carry in a backpack and simple to set up and use.
__________________
Carl


www.carlwendt.com
Reply With Quote

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:25 PM.


Copyright 1998-2013, F+W Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.