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Old 01-12-2010, 02:36 PM
msm02 msm02 is offline
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Artwork Essentials/EasyL

Hello all,
there seems to be alot of discussion here about easels, french and otherwise, and the pochade setups available to the travelling and plein air artist.
I have a workshop coming up that involves flying. I am leaning toward the various models made by Artwork essentials and was wondering if anyone has one and would care to comment.
I'm mostly doing watercolor, and usually work with a Holbein folding palette-I like the idea of not having to hold the palette while I work, and some of the Artwork Essentials models seem to be able to hold up to a half sheet size board (16"). And they are less money than most (hoping that's not a reflection on their quality).

Thanks for your help,
Michael (MSM02)
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Old 01-12-2010, 06:33 PM
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Ian Bruce Ian Bruce is offline
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Re: Artwork Essentials/EasyL

HI, Michael

I am happy with my Easy-L. I have not used it for watercolor. However, I don't see any real problems. The system that Easy-L uses for adjusting the tilt of the painting surface holds equally well through a full range of angles.

Some easels don't hold your support very well at at angles flatter than 45 degrees--the French Easel style mechanism is one that fairs badly in this respect. This can be very frustrating. I don't know what angle you favor. If you prefer to work almost flat, the palette surface of the Easy-L would tend to be awkward to reach over. If you prefer a thirty degree or so angle, the Easy-L will do very well.

I would pick one of the dedicated watercolor easels if you prefer to work on a nearly flat surface.
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:05 PM
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Re: Artwork Essentials/EasyL

Lurker here from the pastel forum... I use my EasyL for pastels, just a note, the hasps are not particularly strong (they look like cast aluminum painted gold) so I added two more flat hasps that we use to make gun cases for rifles just to make sure the box stays shut. In all other respects I am very pleased with my EasyL, it has been back packed and horse packed and puts up with a lot of traveling.
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:24 PM
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Re: Artwork Essentials/EasyL

I pack my Winsor and Newton Bristol watercolor easel for both watercolor and pastel work in the field. It is lightweight, sets up fairly simply and quickly, accommodates a fairly good sized support, and tilts from vertical to flat. It comes with a carrying case that is compact and portable (about the size of a pool cue case). I supplement it with a lightweight and portable aluminum folding camping table recommended at a plein air workshop I attended . . . and the pair make for a good working combination.

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Old 01-13-2010, 05:34 PM
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Re: Artwork Essentials/EasyL

I work in watercolors and have a variety of pochades. A few weeks ago I bought the new Cheap Joe's Signature Field easel and it has quickly become my favorite for watercolor. I posted about it in my blog with lots of photos. It has a landscape orientation and can hold a sheet up to 26 inches high. Plus it lays flat, too!
My blog is here ... Blog

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Old 01-13-2010, 06:51 PM
msm02 msm02 is offline
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Re: Artwork Essentials/EasyL

Thanks folks for all the suggestions. Still leaning toward the EasyL because at some point I know I'll probably use it for oils. Big concern is weight, function and quality. Plus, ease of setting up/breaking down.
Deborah, I've been following the buzz about the new CheapJoes easel and decided it's too similar in size and weight to a French easel. It does look like Zbukvic's setup, which he uses all over the globe.

Wonder if he checks it as a carry-on...

Michael
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Old 01-14-2010, 10:50 AM
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Re: Artwork Essentials/EasyL

Hi, I have put MANY miles on my EasyL (11x14) and can say it probably is the best for real traveling and when you are going further then 2 minutes from your car to paint. I dont have pictures handy but I will explain how I use mine and maybe it will come in handy for you.

I leave the box attached to the tripod and fold it so the non extended legs hang down from the box when I carry it like a briefcase. You can use the shoulder strap and carry this like a french easel on your shoulder. When I am hiking/wandering I can just just open the legs and adjust my angle. ready to go. I use a ball head on my tripod so I can easily make this adjustment.

I will say the EasyL is made good despite some quality issues that might look "cheesy" like the latches, They look like they could fail but they haven't. My ONLY gripe with the box is the fact that the bigger you go on the box size the more wobble you will get from the bottom flexing. Not a big deal and probably not an issue at all for watercolor artists. Good luck, Dan
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Old 01-15-2010, 08:16 PM
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Re: Artwork Essentials/EasyL

A couple of people have criticized the latches on the Easy-L. This is not an issue as they are totally unnecessary. If you tighten the the hinge locks when the box is closed they hold it closed just as well as they hold it open when in the painting position.

When I repaired my Easy-L, (after backing my truck over it), I took the opportunity to remove the latches and throw them away. I don't like hardware that serves no useful purpose.
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Old 01-15-2010, 09:38 PM
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Re: Artwork Essentials/EasyL

Quote:
Originally Posted by msm02
Deborah, I've been following the buzz about the new CheapJoes easel and decided it's too similar in size and weight to a French easel.

I just received the Cheap Joe's easel, and it's nothing at all like a French easel. I have a Julian French easel, which I use for oils, but was not at all comfortable using it for watercolor because of the way I and most watercolorists work. I don't want that much distance between me and my paper, I want the flexibility of laying the paper at a variety of angles including flat, and I want my palette & water to the side (in my case right) not between me and the painting.

The CJ easel was damaged in transit, but they have already sent a new one to me.

It's really a beautiful set-up. There's room in the box to store my palette, brushes, collapsible water pot, and a few extras. A watercolor block or pad, or paper stretched on coroplast, and I'm good to go! I'm going to purchase a backpack which the box will fit in. I also have a set of wheels I can use with it also.

It's much easier to set up than a French easel, probably quicker than a tripod and pochade box. Plus I will be able to use this with oils too. And it's lighter than my French easel. So I expect the FE will be used for studio work only.

I had considered the Easy-L in the past, but as a watercolorist primarily, I was never comfortable enough with its concept to purchase it.

Grainne
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Old 01-15-2010, 10:58 PM
msm02 msm02 is offline
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Re: Artwork Essentials/EasyL

Dan, I'm wondering if the "bottom flexing" means less quality, but Ian mentions that he drove over his in a truck and it survived, so that says something about the built quality of these boxes! BTW, anyone know where EasyL is made?
Thanks,
Michael
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Old 01-16-2010, 05:29 AM
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Re: Artwork Essentials/EasyL

Michael, I would say the bottom flexing has more to do with the wood then the quality of its make. (which is China) Also it has to do with how big the box you go with, most people don't scrub their paint in like I do so they would never even notice this slight flexing of the bottom. I was there when Ian backed over his Easyl(well after he did it) and it was only his woodworking skills that brought that box back to life. ( good job Ian! )

I also have an Mbox that I recently got and will say that it is WAY more sturdy but all the little knobs are a real pain in the ass . Especially in the winter two knobs are easier then 8 tiny ones, especially with gloves on. good luck.
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