adjustable easel

Easel painting

I’m off to Samish Island on the north Puget Sound today for five days of Paint Camp! Knowing that I would be in the company of plein air painters and might desire an easel, I bought a backpack size one on a light weight tripod to bring along. First time it took me about 30 minutes to get it put up! But I persevered and I think I have it down to five minutes max. Here’s the trial run in the back garden at home.

I like having my paper at arm’s distance and vertical, rather than so close to my body, though there’s a bit of insecurity in not holding onto it, as if it might get away from me. With a gust of wind I’m sure it would. But getting my whole arm into the action of drawing and painting is a decided advantage.

easel set up in back yard

The small easel opens on a hinge and the “table” part has magnets to keep the palette and water secure. My 5.5X8″ sketchbook fits easily on the back board. The easel attaches to an inexpensive tripod and weighs almost nothing because it’s made from bamboo. I purchased it in the Etsy store from Taylor Seamount. 

In this picture you get a sense of how small it is. I have to say the jury’s out on whether I can make it work for what I do. Likely I will be sitting on my stool. When there’s a lot of walking involved, I might leave the tripod behind.  And I can use the wooden easel flat on my lap without the tripod!

There’s so much going on in the garden right now that I’m anxious to get back to journaling in my nature journal. For instance, these two bugs, stuck together and moving as one.

some variation of Boxelder bug? on my vegetable garden gate

How do they decide and agree on which direction to move? It didn’t seem like they were having difficulty with the “engaged” situation. And they both seemed to have equal capacity at movement forward and backward.  Oh, where was my natural journal when I needed it?! 


Model Attitude


pen and w/c graphite on BFK Rives paper

It’s all in the attitude.  And this model has it in such abundance that even the most beginner sketcher got a decent drawing from her 5 and 10 minute poses.


She held up a plastic flower and the pose was so beguiling that she sprouted two noses and a left hand where the right should be, but who’s counting?!


The models at this Bay Area Models Guild Marathon share the stage with two other models.  From where I was situated I could spin my chair and see two other stages with models on them.  So by the time I noticed this dynamic pose, I had two minutes left before it changed – just enough time!


And here the same model in a 20 minute pose, time enough to get out my watercolors and gouache  and put some color in.  What a fabulous hat, even if it does look a bit like an overripe banana on a platter.

Bob had helped me convert a photo tripod into an adjustable easel which worked so well!  I’ll take a picture and post it here in case you want one for yourself.  It involved a quick trip to the hardware store and a bit of drilling and sawing.  Quick and easy for me anyway, since I didn’t have to do it!