4–>40 Easel Features

The lidded palette all covered up. Usable as a shelf.

The lidded palette all covered up. Usable as a shelf.

If you remember on the first day I took the easel for a test drive, I was using a handheld palette and not the shelf palette that came with it.  I hadn’t had time to fill it and didn’t want a gooey wet mess taking it places.  Ask me how I knew that might happen!  ha!!

Over the past weekend, I decided what colors to include and what colors to put in auxiliary smaller handheld palettes to supplement the 14 wells in this one.

Cover removed and slid under as a mini shelf in front

Cover removed and slid under as a mini shelf in front

Here it is with its cover, so you can use it as a shelf.  in the next photo, you see the colors I’ve chosen and the cover turned upside down and slid under it to make a mini shelf in front.  I have taped on it the colors I’ve used and a small box that business cards came in into which I’ve put tissues.

My colors right now in this are (counterclockwise from left): viridian, winsor green (yellow shade), cerulean chromium (Daniel Smith), ultramarine blue, cobalt, quinacridone burnt scarlet, quinacridone burnt orange.  then there’s the very convenient hole for a water cup. Carmine, Winsor  Red, permanent rose, cadmium orange, quinacridone gold, new gamboge, and aurolein yellow. Notice the nice deep wells and plenty of mixing area.

This lid and palette are great because if you choose not to buy the tripod that comes with the set from En Plein Air Pro, the wing nuts allow you to slide it onto any other type tripod. I chose to buy the tripod because they recommended it as sturdy enough to hook on an umbrella, and buying the entire package was a reduced price.

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easel in action with shelf under large palette holding tissue box and paper towels covered inside a cloth type tyowel, and my sketchbook with value sketch laying on top.

So here’s the set up with a painting on the easel.  you can see there’s a pull out holder for brushes on the left, and a place to hang the included collapsible water bottle.

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Palette flooded with water

Sad to say, I had a bit of an incident with hitting that receptacle with my brush handle and knocking water onto my palette, specifically onto the oranges and yellows.  Grrr. I have been known to be sometimes a tad clumsy but I bet I’m not alone in this.

My husband dug out an S hook and today I hung the collapsible water bottle from the mini shelf at the front right and it worked SO much better!  More on that later.

plein air in my garden

plein air in my garden

Oops, almost forgot, here’s a cropped view of that painting from the easel, still working on foliage and flower blooms.

Thanks for stopping by.  I enjoy hearing from you!  Bye for now…


4–> 40 First day with the new easel

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vitex tree with cool shadows

Saturday I took the new easel out for a test drive, and it was fabulous.  I think it’s perfect for what i wanted.  It’s from a company called En Plein Air Pro and it’s made specifically for watercolor painting.  What makes it that, you ask?  Well, I will tell you.  The plane of the paper can be any degree from fully horizontal to fully vertical.  Traditional easels made for oils and acrylics may have some adjustments, but there’s no problem with those paints being done vertically because they are fuller bodied than watercolors which tend to run when really wet!

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easel set up in the shade with the painting started

So I had about a little over an hour before needing to gallery sit at the latest Art Association show, so I headed out to Memorial Park to see what struck my fancy.  I wasted time driving around, looking at this view and that, but ended up coming back to this vitex tree with its cool shadows.  This tree is unusual in its sprawling trunks and scraggy appearance with the seed pods of this summer’s flowers sticking up all over in little points.

I knew it would be challenging…but OH those shadows!

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taking the easel indoors to the art gallery

So here’s the setup in the shade, for comfort and to not have the sun’s glare on the paper distorting the colors and values.  Because it was the first day, I didn’t have the paints squeezed onto the palette shelf that came with it, so I have the palette covered and have my existing palette on top.  As it turned out I only had 20 minutes of actual painting time so it was a good start but needed more work.

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Vitex Shadows 8″ x 10″ watercolor

Back at the gallery, it was great to have the easel and take up less floor space than dragging out and setting up a table, etc.

So, showing the work warts and all, my finished result is not what I wanted, but there were a couple of “aha” moments when it was all clicking and I realized I’d learned something..

One thing I learned in the workshop is that the instructor recommends to put shadows down first before the local color (in this case the warmth of the grass) because he feels it integrates better.  And I’m sure that’s true.  What I need to do in future is to be more sure of the value of my shadows because my first layer was too light and I went back in twice.  I know the shadow would be much better if it were laid down once.

The next thing I learned is that while I’m happy with the color blending in the foliage I need to have a better plan to get it right and somehow show a bit of those scraggly bits, but the wheels are whirring in my mind on how to do it better, so I’m expecting fun times of practice in the next couple of days.

All in all, it was a fun premiere of the easel, and I’ll tell you more about it with pictures in coming posts.  Thanks for stopping by!