Over the years I have purchased several different easels. Each one is unique in its own way, but none are truly unique at all.
What I mean by that is; the style, build and functions have not really changed all that much through the years.
It’s like a mahl stick… Really? You have to constantly hold it to use it?
Which is like a paint palette… Really? You have to constantly hold it to use it?
Anyway, I digress into other articles here. (I have created hands-free versions of both)
I am a firm believer that if you take yourself seriously as an artist, then you must continually invest in yourself and your business. If you do not, then it is little more than a hobby. Whenever I am fortunate enough to make a sale, I always use a portion of the money to invest in something else that I need.
After making a sale of multiple pieces, I decided it was time to upgrade my primary easel. I have numerous easels hanging around here, and seem to have issues with all our them. There is always something they do really well at the expense of something else that I also want it to do (whah).
I had written an article about different types of easels a few years back, but I found a better article at Jackson’s Art.
Anyway, I have numerous easels that I have purchased over the years, and I have issues with each of them that just annoy me. Mostly it has to do with the amount of effort (and risk) of adjusting them up and down. When I was painting my first DMP style still-life last week it almost fell off the easel when I was trying to make adjustments, and it made me think of how many times that has happened, or how many times I have had to remove a very wet canvas from the easel just to make adjustments. Because of the relatively low ceilings I have, there is almost more paint up there than anywhere else – from bashing wet canvases up there.
Anyway, I found this really slick design and wanted to share with everyone who deals with 8′ ceilings. It is called the Super 8 Studio Easel, made by David Sorg, who is himself an oil painter. He too was frustrated after trying many different easels and decided he could build a better one himself, and I think he has done a marvelous job.
You can see in the photos below that it has height adjustments from near floor level up to 7’6″, all without the overall height of the easel changing since there is no center mast. It will hold canvases up to 60″ high. The entire carriage assembly (top and bottom clamp) is externally counterbalanced, so the canvas can be moved up or down with just a fingertip. Literally, one finger is all it takes! And you don’t have to loosen a single knob to move it! It even has a paper towel holder on the tray (it’s the simple things…).
It just so happens that David lives in Denver, which is where I live, so I was able to meet him and check out the easel before buying. He is a really great guy, who answered every question I could come up with, and never tried to hard-sell me. He is genuinely concerned whether or not this is the best easel for the artist, and he will tell you if it is not, based upon what and how you paint.
Anyway, after checking it out I bought it, and smiled all the way home! David also makes a very nice easel for those who are not height-challenged (ceiling-wise) and it has the same great features, plus some. Check him out at studioeasel.com. This not a paid endorsement – I’m just sharing. You have to decide what works for you-but I am a happy camper!
Hope this helps someone.
P.S. I am just now starting to equip it with a customized version of my CanvasGuardTM and will post the results here when I am finished.
And now… the Photos;
As promised… I have added some pictures of the Deluxe CanvasGuardTM (details below photos)
On the left is the CanvasGuard in the “resting” position – that is, out of the way. On the right is an example of the CanvasGuard in use. It can be positioned at any angle you wish, depending on the length of the vertical hand-rest. With a bubble level installed, you can assure that the hand-rest is at a 90 degree angle to the canvas allowing you to paint very nice, straight edges very easily. Below are some close-ups of the assembly.
For both the upper and lower rail, I had to create a custom wood “shelf” to hold the T-Track bars (gold). These can be any width you like depending on how steep you want your angle to be on the hand-rest. The T-Track bars can be ordered online, or you can probably find them at a woodworkers supply store. They are typically used to make woodworking jigs, but can be adapted for any number of purposes.
Once the shelves were attached to the upper and lower clamps, I fastened the rail bars using wood screws. The hand rest is made of oak (or any other hardwood) with a long slot cut down the middle, along with a single hole in case you want on end to be fixed. A couple of knobs with bolts that fit the rails, and it is good to go!
If you have questions, you can reach me at ,