Your Indoor Studio Easel
Customarily, the artist – especially when working indoors – uses a suitable easel or table to support the stretcher frame or board on which the canvas or paper has been stretched.
If your medium is pastel or watercolor, you do not want to make the mistake of purchasing an easel that accommodates a painting only in a vertical (or near vertical) position that is only meant for acrylic or oil painting.
For pastel work, an easel that has a forward tilting angle is best. For painting in watercolor, an easel with a work surface that can slant to varying angle degrees and can also be set in a horizontal position is needed.
Easels suitable for acrylic and oil painting indoors are available in several studio easel styles including A-frame, H-frame, Single- and Double-mast and Convertible. Those that are constructed of solid hardwoods provide the best support for medium to very large canvas or canvas board when working indoors.
If your indoor work space is too small for a studio easel, there are several styles of table easels that can be used for pastel, watercolor, acrylic and oil painting, as well as for drawing. Table easels allow artists to work on any flat surface including a kitchen table. When not in use, they are easy to store.
Your Outdoor Portable Easel
Working “plein air” on location outdoors requires an easel that is sturdy, lightweight and adjustable, as well as easy to carry, set up and breakdown for transportation to and from location. Adjustable legs with spikes aids in leveling and securing portable easels in the field on uneven ground surfaces.
Plein air easels for painting in acrylic and oil are available in several styles including tripods or sketchboxes and pochade boxes with tripod stands attached. Portable watercolor easels are also available for artists who also work on paintings positioned horizontally.
Portable easel tripods are usually made of rust-resistant aluminum or other metal, and sketchboxes or pochade boxes are made of wood with a tin lining inside the storage area.
In addition to your outdoor portable easel, you will need the following items to make your plein air painting experience comfortable.
- Folding Sketching Stool – These come in several styles in metal or wood with a canvas fabric seat.
- Artist's Umbrella, Wide-Brimmed Hat and Sun Glasses – These will provide protection from sunburn and help to keep you cool when exposed to the sun.
- Drinking Water – This, or other sports beverages, will keep you hydrated and help prevent heat stroke.