After about six years of wrestling with a french easel, I decided to see if I could find something more portable and easier to set up on location. The french easel is a marvelous bit of engineering, but it is heavy, not easy to carry far from the car and very frustrating to set up, even on level ground. (A pair of pliers and a screwdriver soon become essentials to pack in your easel.) I looked at a lot of advertisements and reviews on "pochade boxes", lightweight aluminum a-frame easels, etc and finally settled on the EasyL from Artwork Essentials. Now that I've had it for awhile and I was able to take it along on an extended painting workshop, it's time to evaluate it. I liked the EasyL from the beginning, but four days of setting up and taking down out in the field have convinced me that I made a good choice. I haven't used any of the other popular plein air setups, so I can't compare, but I think this one would be hard to beat. Here's my "review" ....
The picture below shows the rear of the easel. The mast raises to accommodate good sized canvases or panels. This is a 12h x 16w panel and you can see there is room to spare. The mast locks in place once it is adjusted to the top of the panel. There are also two slots for carrying wet panels.
I also purchased a new umbrella for the easel. I'll have some thoughts on that in a future post.