An Artists' Guide to Buying the Right Easel for You

Mastering the Art of Using an Easel: Essential Tips and Techniques

Whether you’re working with a table-top easel producing smaller pieces or creating larger work in a studio on a painting easel, Cass Art has an art easel to suit your practice. All come with the same solid, quality materials and reliability that you'd come to expect!

WHAT IS AN EASEL? EXPLORING ITS ROLE IN ART

An easel is an essential tool in the world of art, serving as a supportive framework that holds canvases or other surfaces in place while artists work. Its primary role is to provide stability, adjustability, and versatility, enabling artists to comfortably create their artworks. Throughout history, easels have been integral to the evolution of art. They became more prevalent during the Renaissance, allowing artists to work comfortably on larger canvases. Easels provided artists with the means to explore new techniques, perspectives, and artistic expressions, contributing to the diversity and innovation seen in art across different periods and styles.

THREE GOOD REASONS TO BUY AN EASEL!

There are three very good reasons to buy an art easel, one of them practical and two artistic. The first is that an easel keeps your work out of harm’s way. An easel helps prevent dust collecting on your work. In the early days of any artistic practice a well-crafted art work can be lost by spilling painting water and ink over it while drawing and painting on a desk. Working on a wall is no good either becuase if the paper is taped to the wall it can end up as a crumpled heap on the floor when paint and pressure are applied. That doesn’t happen when it’s clipped to a board and attached to an easel. An easel is an investment in your craft and we have five different types to suit any practice: table top easels, box easels, small display easels, sketch easels and an everyday wooden easels. But firstly, lets dive into all the considerations you should take before making that easel investment.


CHOOSING THE RIGHT EASEL FOR YOUR ART

TYPE OF ARTWORK

The nature of your art heavily influences the easel you require. For instance, if you work with large canvases or create art in various locations, a sturdy studio easel might be your best bet. Conversely, if you're into smaller pieces or prefer working outdoors, a portable or tabletop easel could be more practical.

MATERIALS AND DURABILITY

Easels come in various materials like wood, aluminium, or steel. Consider the durability and stability you need concerning the medium you work with. For heavyweight materials like large canvases or mixed media, a robust wooden easel might provide the necessary support, while lightweight materials could suit smaller, less demanding projects.

ADJUSTABILITY AND COMFORT

Ergonomics matter. Look for an easel that offers adjustable features, such as height, angle, and canvas size capacity. This adaptability ensures your comfort during long hours of work and allows flexibility for different art techniques and styles.

SPACE AND STORAGE

Assess your workspace before choosing an easel. Some easels are designed to save space, foldable or with minimal footprint, making them ideal for smaller studios or shared spaces. If you have limited room, a compact easel might be the perfect fit.

BUDGET CONSIDERATION

Easels come in a wide price range. Determine your budget and prioritize features that align with your artistic needs. While a top-of-the-line easel might offer numerous functionalities, a more budget-friendly option could still fulfil your requirements.

Which leads us on to the third advantage of using an art easel… It’s a fantastic tool for being able to analyse your creations; you can step away from the work and see how it’s progressing at varying distances and angles. Ideal if you want to create a particular experience with your pieces. For example, do you want it to have impact from far away or are you hoping to create something more intriguing that will draw viewers in?


DIFFERENT TYPES OF EASELS

Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting your artistic adventure, we have a diverse range of easels to suit your unique needs. In this blog, we'll explore the different types of easels available at Cass Art and help you discover the perfect one for your artistic endeavours.

[Photo credit: Bridgesward & Pixabay]

STUDIO EASELS

The environment in which you wish to paint will affect your choice of easel. If you are painting outdoors you will need something compact and portable. If you have a large studio then you may have more space for a sturdier Mabef easel. In a spare room you may need to move or store your easel when not in use. You will need something lightweight or even collapsible. Painting in a communal area may mean that you are only able to work from an table mountable easel.

If you are producing and displaying large-scale impactful paintings and drawings, these are for you. Sturdy, robust and made from beechwood, these studio easels are fully adjustable, easy to work with and can take large canvases. Both easel stands are first-rate for display purposes, making them a splendid choice for open studio events.

KEY FEATURES:

Adjustable Heights - Achieve the perfect working height for your artwork, ensuring optimal comfort and precision.

Sturdy Construction - These easels are built to last, offering stability and durability, even when handling heavy and oversized canvases.

Versatile Angles - Many of our studio easels provide multiple angles to accommodate various art techniques and styles.

Large Canvas Capacity - These easels can handle sizeable canvases, giving you the freedom to express your creativity on a grand scale.

WHY PURCHASE A MABEF EASEL?

Mabef make a range of easels, from sketching easels like the Mabef M22 Sketch box Easel to large studio easels like the Mabef M19 Studio Easel. Studio accessories such as the Mabef M38 Folding Print Rack are also perfect for events and Mabef M36 Sculpture Trestle is a studio essential for budding sculptors.

Raw Material - All Mabef artists' easels are made from solid beechwood, sourced from certified geographical areas where reforestation is under control and guaranteed by the forestry commission. So these easels are a green way to paint, and offer you the most natural wood around! Beechwood itself is resistant and long-lasting, and 100% recyclable. All of the scraps and shavings from these wooden easels are collected and broken up, and used to heat the Mabef factories and offices.


FIELD EASELS

Designed specifically for outdoor painting and creative adventures in nature, these easels offer the ultimate portability and versatility. Our range of field easels are constructed with lightweight materials and features compact designs that can be easily folded and carried, making them ideal for plein air painting or art retreats. From sturdy tripod designs to easel boxes with built-in storage, we have a range of options to suit every artist's needs.

With adjustable supports and height options, our field easels allow you to find the optimal working position, ensuring maximum comfort and convenience. You can effortlessly capture the beauty of your surroundings, whether you're painting landscapes, seascapes, or urban scenes.

KEY FEATURES:

Portability - Designed to be easily folded and carried, these easels are your ticket to artistic exploration wherever you go!

Adjustable Function - Many of our field easels offer adjustable heights and angles, allowing you to adapt to the terrain and lighting conditions.

Sturdy Build - Trust that our easels are built to withstand the elements and provide a stable platform for your artwork.

Compact Storage - When you're done, these easels can be conveniently stowed away, making them perfect for artists on the move.


TABLE TOP EASELS

Some art studios or homes may not have the space for a full easel, which is where a table top easel (or box easel) comes into play. Designed to easily fit in on top of a table or desk that you might have in your home or studio, a tabletop easel will make a suitable addition to the small studio or home. Shop from your favourite brand such as Daler Rowney, Jullian and Mabef.

So why choose a Table Top Easel?

They are versatile, compact, and a fantastic addition to any artist's workspace.

They offer a stable and adjustable platform for your artwork, making it easier to paint, draw, or display your creations.

They offer a stable and adjustable platform for your artwork, making it easier to paint, draw, or display your creations.

Whether you're working on a small canvas, a sketchbook, or simply need a convenient way to showcase your work, our table easels provide the perfect solution.

DISPLAY EASELS

The way you present your art is just as important as the art itself. We offer a selection of display easels that are designed to complement and elevate the presentation of your artwork.

We have a wide selection of easels that are great for displaying work at exhibitions and events. Capable of displaying artwork up to 3.75. Shop from the most trusted brands from Mabef to Daler Rowney to Winsor & Newton and more.

Your artwork deserves to be showcased in a way that does it justice, and we're here to help you achieve just that.

KEY FEATURES:

Adjustable Height -Display easels often come with adjustable legs or support arms, allowing you to change the height to accommodate different-sized items and ensure optimal visibility.

Versatile Display Options - Display easels come in various styles and designs to suit different purposes. Some have adjustable tilt angles, while others have different support mechanisms, like tripod legs or A-frame designs.

Foldable and Space-Saving - Many display easels can be folded or collapsed when not in use, making them convenient for storage and transport. This feature is especially important for artists and presenters on the go.


EASEL TECHNIQUES FOR DIFFERENT MEDIUMS

Understanding how to effectively utilize an easel for different painting mediums—such as oil, acrylics, and watercolour—can significantly impact the artistic process and final results. Let's delve into the nuanced techniques and considerations for each medium when using an easel.

OIL AND ACRYLIC PAINTING TECHNIQUES WITH AN EASEL

Stability and Durability - For oil painting, a sturdy and robust easel is paramount due to the weight of the canvases and the sometimes vigorous brushwork. A studio easel with a broad base and strong construction provides the necessary stability.

Adjustable Features - Opt for an easel that offers adjustable height and tilt capabilities for oil painting. This allows artists to work comfortably while standing or sitting and adjust the canvas angle for optimal paint flow.

Palette and Accessory Trays - Consider an easel with built-in trays or attachments for holding palettes, brushes, and other supplies. This ensures easy access to materials without interrupting the painting process.

Acrylic Quick Drying Consideration Acrylic paints dry rapidly, so artists working with this medium may benefit from easels that allow easy adjustments and swift transitions between sections of the painting. An easel with smooth adjustment mechanisms is advantageous.

WATERCOLOUR PAINTING TECHNIQUES WITH AN EASEL

Horizontal and Vertical Options - Watercolour artists might benefit from an easel that offers both horizontal and vertical positions. Horizontal positioning allows for optimal control of water and paint flow, while vertical setups are suitable for stretching paper and achieving different effects.

Stability and Tilt - A stable yet adjustable easel is essential for watercolour painting. Consider an easel that provides a slight tilt to allow excess water to run off the paper while still maintaining control over the paint.

Paper Attachment Options - Look for easels that offer secure paper attachment mechanisms, such as clips or adjustable bars, to keep watercolour paper firmly in place without buckling or warping during the painting process.

Stability for Wet Washes - A stable easel is crucial, especially when working with wet washes in watercolor painting. Look for an easel that maintains its position without wobbling or shaking, ensuring the paper remains steady during the painting process.


INTEGRATING AN EASEL INTO YOUR STUDIO

NATURAL LIGHT OPTIMIZATION

Easel placement should prioritize natural light. Position it perpendicular to the primary light source to minimize glare and shadows on your canvas. Adequate lighting not only illuminates your work but also influences colour accuracy and detail visibility.

SPATIAL CONSIDERATIONS

Strategic placement ensures ample space around the easel. This allows for comfortable movement while painting and easy access to your art supplies. Avoid cramped spaces that hinder your artistic flow and impede creativity.

ERGONOMICS AND COMFORT

Easel height and angle play a crucial role in comfort and productivity. Adjust the easel to suit your working posture, minimising strain on your body during extended painting sessions. Proper ergonomics enhance focus and artistic output.

Integrating an easel into your studio transcends its functional role; it's about curating a space that nurtures creativity and artistic expression. Strategic easel placement, combined with a functional painting environment, becomes the canvas upon which your artistic visions come to life.


EASEL MAINTENANCE: ENSURING LONGEVITY AND STABILITY

CLEANING AND DUSTING

Regular cleaning is fundamental in maintaining your easel's condition. Use a soft, dry cloth or a gentle brush to remove dust and debris. For wooden easels, occasionally wipe them with a slightly damp cloth to prevent the accumulation of grime, which can deteriorate the wood over time.

TIGHTEN LOOSE PARTS

Check your easel periodically for any loose screws, bolts, or hinges. Use a screwdriver or appropriate tool to tighten them gently. This ensures stability and prevents wobbling, especially important for larger canvases or during vigorous painting sessions. Lubricate Moving Parts

INSPECTION FOR DAMAGE

Regularly inspect your easel for any signs of wear and tear, such as cracks, splinters, or warping, especially in wooden easels. Addressing these issues promptly can prevent further damage and maintain the structural integrity of the easel.

STORAGE AND ENVIRONMENT

Proper storage plays a significant role in preserving your easel. When not in use, store it in a dry area away from direct sunlight or extreme temperature changes. This helps prevent wood from warping and metal parts from rusting.

"The easel is to the painter what the piano is to the composer"

CONSTANTIN BRANCUSI