Monday, November 29, 2010

My New Easel

New Easel next to old one

Most of us can’t afford to outfit our studios with top of the line materials and furniture.. What we can scrounge is what we have to live with.

Even a space to paint or draw is a luxury for most. Calling the space we carve out for ourselves a studio is giving grandiose important to that corner of the dining room or closet in the spare bedroom. For some this means a simple tabletop easel or the ubequdeous “student easel”, that cheap pine stick easel. You know the one, the folding tri-pod with the wing nuts.

That is what I have for years and years. Still have two in the dungeon. They hold a canvas at least as large as I usually paint. But these easels--for all that they are called “student” are hard to move around, and not particularly sturdy.

Much better is my aluminum field easel I invested in a couple of years ago when I start to teach and paint plein aire. It is collapsible and comes with a nice carrying case. This easel is ideal for moving around and has separately adjustable legs. And it holds the smaller boards I use plein aire easily. It is also handy for figure drawing class.

But back home in the studio, it was the pine-stick easel or nothing. Oh for a real studio easel. Something sturdy and that gives firm support to really large canvases or even boards!

This past year I got my wish in a surprising way; as a gift from my older sister. Now getting a gift from her is not in itself unusual. I don’t want you to think she is mean or anything. But she is a non-artist and freely admits to knowing nothing about art and art materials. Nothing at all. She did not even know the word easel, it is that stand-thingy.

My sister (with my mother) is a committed (or should be committed!) garage-saler. They approach garage sales with almost religious devotion. But as I said, she admits she has no idea what constitutes a good art supply or materials. She also have no idea about prices or values of such things.

But she is not one to let a little thing like lack of knowledge stand between her and a good deal! When coming upon a garage sale of a woman moving to smaller quarters she spied a number of things that kind of looked like they might be used for fine art? She fearlessly negotiated a fabulous deal!

Not only am I now the proud owner of a large aluminum studio easel, but a zippered, rolling craft cart/tote to hall things back and forth to the gallery for my classes, and a craft case designed for scrape booking, but perfect for holding a nice stash of art papers.

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