EASELS – HOW TO PROP UP THAT CANVAS – PART 1
Many moons ago, when I was still very innocent in the ways of the world and those around us, I was delighted when I became the proud owner of a Winsor and Newton sketching easel. This did me throughout the Junior Cert and served me for many years thereafter. It is still doing the rounds in the family some 30 years later. It was cheap, lightweight, and easy to pack away. Then, I moved on to an equally cheap and cheerful table-top easel which cost me all of €25. It was seriously handy for going to the local painting workshops as the inside box could hold little jars for the solvent and mediums, paints and paintbrushes. I could also secure the wet painting onto the front of the box. It was easy to carry and transport with minimal paint accidents in the car. I only moved to studio easels when I started working with larger sized canvases. However, that being said, for the very large canvases I actually just taped the canvas to the wall and then got the canvas stretched when the painting was dry and ready to be framed.
Now, I have several inexpensive H Frame easels which I have had to modify to suit the studio and working in front of them. I got them in from China and they weren’t designed for anyone over 5ft 2”. So, from this, you will see that you can get by without splashing out huge amounts of cash when you are starting off. Indeed, if you look at images of Jackson Pollock working, he just laid the canvas directly onto the floor and worked around it. So, you really don’t have any excuse and the main thing is to simply pick up that brush and just start…
Timber Studio Easel
In this week’s blog, we will only be looking at the timber Studio Easel.
As always, I am not affiliated with any brands, stores, suppliers or persons I may or may not mention within this Oil Painting Blog. Your use of any of these products, links and the like are your own risk and it’s up to you to do your research/homework before you use them. This is just my opinion and experience and prices as mentioned are approximate only and may be subject to change.
CONSIDERATIONS BEFORE SPLASHING THE CASH
Before you go out and buy that easel, do a little research. Have a look at supplier websites such as Kennedy Art Supplies, Cork Art Supplies, Jacksons, Artmaterials and/or Norwich Art Supplies as there are an endless variety of easels out there.
Then, ask yourself, if you need a portable easel, one that you can carry to and from painting workshops and fold away when you are finished painting. Or a free-standing easel, that can remain in-situ if you are lucky enough to have a dedicated studio space.
Other considerations are your: –
- budget as you can spend as little as €25 up to several thousand on an easel;
- working space – How much free floor space do you have? Will it accommodate your easel, you and everything else you might need or are you better at looking at a system which is wall mounted?;
- ceiling height – I have had to cut the top of some easels in the past due to low ceiling heights;
- canvas / board size – Do you work large or small scale and is it heavy as some of the boards I use can be 1.5m x 1.5m and can be very heavy;
- mobility – do you prefer to sit or stand at your easel, can you stand back and look at your painting and are you physically able to manually raise and lower the easel or will you need the assistance of a crank handle or a pedal / remote operated easel?
STUDIO EASEL TYPES
There are many different easels out there, but the main types are Table Easel and Studio Easel.
As shown below, you can purchase a box table easel which comes in a small and large size. Lidl do a very good large box easel for around €30 at different times of the year. They also include a paint set which you can pass off to your children or grandchildren. As a side note, some of the students in the Workshops have been using Lidl’s canvases and the ones I have seen so far are pretty good, they are inexpensive and for the most part well-stretched unlike some of late that I have seen from other manufacturers.
Top Tip: – if you get a dent in your canvas just boil up the kettle and put the canvas over the steam and it will remove the dent – but take care not to burn yourself with the steam or kettle – again – do so at your own risk.
You can also spend a bit more, €60 upwards for an H-Table Easel or a Wentworth box easel as shown below.
Other types of table easels include a Workstation Table Easel which you can get in an A2 or A3 size but unlike the easels shown below, they don’t have an adjustable top clamp. Finally, you can get a unit known as a Taboret, which comes with a table attached to the easel and you can also get it with or without a press/drawer unit.