Monday, January 18, 2010

Easel recommendations?

Hello oil and acrylic painters! (and thank you, all you well-wishers!)

I'm wondering if any of you out there can recommend a good easel for me. I've been using a pretty cheap one ($100 or less?) for a long time now and while it's okay for smaller canvases, it really doesn't work for the size I mostly do oils on, which is usually 36" x 36", 36" x 48", or even larger. What happens is, the little shelf thingie that the canvas sits on suddenly drops off (with a resulting messiness you can imagine...avalanche!) because it can't support the weight of the canvas. The design seems bad too, in that the only way to tighten it (always, regardless of the size or weight of canvas) is by sheer hand force. The tiniest bit loose, and it drops off. Too heavy a canvas, it also drops off.

I need something that can handle canvases maybe up to 6 feet height, and their weight. Also need something that has a better system--where brute force is not the (only) factor in trying to secure one's canvas. My hand gets tired long before the thing gets tight (secure) enough.

The ceiling in the studio is not very high-- 10 feet?? I'll need to check--so I know I can't get one of those kind that has the mast that keeps raising up as you slide the canvas up. We can't afford one of those amazing-looking $1000+ models that I've seen advertised...

So, my question to you all is if you have any experience with a particular brand and/or model that might suit my needs and price range (like to keep it at a few hundred bucks if possible).

I can go ask in an art store at some point (though the two stores in town are kind of small), but wanted to ask all my trusted art-blogger buddies first, especially as you all have had some actual experience using your easels.

(Negative experiences with particular brands/models also very important to know.)



Karen said...

I'm so sorry that the first response is not going to be helpful with a suggestion. I just wanted to tell you how thankful I am to see this post, and I too can't wait for any recommendations. I struggle with the same drives me absolutely crazy...I've wood-glued some pieces of mine and have shims in others to keep the damn thing together.
thanks for this question!!
I'll be waiting with you.

Tina Steele Lindsey said...

For the extremely large paintings like you are referring to, Jala, my husband built something for me. I never looked into purchasing something when I began large paintings because he saw my need as a challenge and jumped right in. Certainly there are some options out there but like Karen I am afraid I am not very helpful here.

David Oleski said...

Here's a page of really great easels,

I have the second from the top, and it's awesome, definitely the last easel I'll ever need. It handles a 7 foot wide canvas easily.

A good easel won't be cheap, solid oak and heavy hardware wind up being expensive.

Cathyann said...

you can make one by using an old door and putting a shelf on it to the size you want and just lean it against the wall..that is the least expensive that i found worked... I bought myself a REAL easel after ten years of painting. It was on sale at Pearl arts and Crafts for $500.00. the Brand is Mabef and it is italian. It goes up high, I have an 8 foot ceiling now(had a 20 foot one in the rental studio, so I had to cut some of it off to fit my home studio.) I like it very much. It is on casters so I move it around and has a crank to lift it up and down. and a little drawer. I still use my $80 dollar and 50 dollar easels as well as my travel one. Hope that helps.
I hear on the crash boom thing...ticks me cheaper easel does that, too..

Jala Pfaff said...

Okay, I'm startin' to get the idea that I might need to shell out some big bucks. Unless I can get Tina's husband to come build me something, haha.
Cathyann- how do you attach the shelf? Just nail it in or something? I am NOT a handywoman type.

Thanks, guys, for taking the time to leave these comments.