Paint Schoodic

We had another successful painting workshop at the Schoodic Institute in beautiful Acadia National Park. Join us in 2018!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My new field easel

Slik tripod, Guerrilla painter easel head, and En Plein Air Pro shelf.
After I posted last week about my search for a new plein air easel, I found this little number on Amazon. Oddly, while it is listed as being made by Guerrilla Painter, it isn’t on their website. Perhaps it’s a discontinued item.

My brother had actually drawn up a plan to make me a very similar item, but I know he’s relieved to be excused. It seems absurdly overpriced to me, but it’s also exactly what I needed to retrofit my existing tripod into an easel. Like all Guerrilla Painter items, it’s extremely well made. Unlike my Guerrilla Box, however, it’s very lightweight.

Or, I can turn the head 90 degrees and put my palette to the side. Not sure why I'd do that, but it's nice to know I can.
 I have a Slik tripod that’s a little heavier than I’d wanted—about 5 pounds—but very strong and easy to set up and take down. The Plein Air Pro shelf fits it perfectly, and the easel head works very well with its quick-release head.

I like being able to move my painting to different angles, which is why my lightweight Mabef beechwood field easel with its pivoting head has been the easel I've returned to after each flirtation with a different (and mostly more expensive) system.

I don't generally watercolor like this in the field, but if I wanted to... or, I could put a board in there and a tablecloth over the whole thing and serve afternoon tea. Or, I could take the easel head off and use the tripod to take photos!
This being a component system, I can easily buy a replacement carbon-fiber tripod that will weigh less than 3 lbs. and set me back—oh—not more than $450. But right now, that extra two pounds seems bearable for the price.

The bubble-level is there for leveling a camera. But I think this means I can stop carrying a separate level around in my kit.

The En Plein Air Pro shelf is really intended for watercolorists, but I’ve decided the cup-holder might come in handy for coffee. (Not that it will really show when my palette is open.)

Dismantled and dumped on my steps. Will fit easily in my backpack.
This set-up means the only wooden box I’ll be carrying is my palette. All my other tools are in plastic bags or bins—lighter in weight, easy to toss if they get gummed up, and easily replaced at the hardware store.

It does need to be field-tested, and I’ll be doing that tomorrow. I'm especially interested in how the tripod and my umbrella get along.

And if you haven't signed up for my Rochester classes or Maine workshops, what on earth are you waiting for? August and September are sold out for my workshop at Lakewatch Manor in Rockland, ME... and the other sessions are selling fast.  Join us in June, July and October, but please hurry! Check here for more information.

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