Saturday, September 26, 2009

the importance of a good easel

Several people have asked about my Soltek easel and how it works. I've had a half dozen plein air easels - from a Julian French easel to a lightweight metal Winsor & Newton. But the Soltek is the Cadillac of easels.

(Click on the photo to see more details)

The Soltek sets up in about a minute. It holds stretched canvas or panels from about 5"x7" to larger than a 16"x20". It's totally adjustable as far as height, and even adjusts for uneven ground. There's a sliding mechanism in the legs that lets you adjust by the fraction of an inch.

The body consists of built in boxes that hold lots of brushes and all the paint you'd want to carry. It comes with a neutral gray palette that cleans like a dream. Nothing seems to damage it...not even high strength paint remover.

There are little "wings" that fold out on either side to hold used brushes, turp, etc. I use small rectangles of non-skid shelf liner to hold used brushes so they won't roll into each other. The non-skid liner also helps keep my palette in place.

Closing up in a breeze. The palette fits perfectly into the box, the "wings" close over it, and the "mast" folds down to lock it into place. With the touch of a finger, the legs telescope back into themselves and I'm walking to the next painting site. There is a wide padded shoulder strap that can be positioned in several ways, as well as holes where I use a bungee cord to hold a roll of paper towels. It also comes with a clip that lets you attach a wet painting or panel to the closed easel for transport back to the car.

It can even be used as a table easel. The box shelf can be positioned horizontally or at any angle that's comfortable.
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