Sunday, 14 June 2015

Easels Pt 2 By John Softly


This easel; is manufactured in America and although mine is somewhat old they are still current. I first became aware of it when watching a Hazel Soan DVD and liked the way the support was held by spring loaded clips.

The Testrite apex adjustment mechanism

 The adjustment is similar to the mechanism of a photographic tripod with a pan head and, unlike a ball-headed tripod, the support bar only moves on the Y axis, whereas a ball head moves on the Y and X axis, which is the case in all the remaining easels depicted - with one exception.!

There have been several versions of this tripod over the years, this is one of the earliest. Hazel Soan has one with a lockable quadrant, to move the angle of the support bar (see pic). It is of average weight (2kg) but very stable and can take my Best Brella and Easel Butler. 


The Frome comes in different colours and some models have a couple of clips at the bottom horizontal support bar from which to hang a water container. 

This Italian-made steel easel is quite heavy at 2.2kg but  a model that is popular, possibly due to the fact despite the weight it is portable, although not to be carried for any length of time.

Australian artists visiting the UK  for the purpose of filming demos for APV or Townhouse Films invariably end up with a Frome, but they are not available in Australia. It is a positive sturdy easel with an oblong section support bar, with little or no play when locked, and my only criticism is the angle of the legs are set, and this can be a problem in windy conditions. 


This one is similar to the Frome but is lighter (1.1kg) as it is made from aluminium. The main support bar is of oval section and as such not as positive as the Frome, really needing a pair of pliers to tighten the brass screws, even then the support is not entirely wobble free. The legs are basically the same as the Frome with no adjustment: they are either open or closed but it is light and very transportable. I have to admit I use this easel least of all those I have collected over the years, mainly as there is movement of an attached support as it is virtually  impossible to tighten the three round brass screws seen on the right of each movable piece.

My search for the perfect easel hasn't been a search as such - I just see an easel in use by a particular artist and think "That looks an interesting easel", find a supplier, be it new from an art supplier or second hand on Ebay, and either keep it if  liked or disposed of otherwise. Yes - I am fully aware I have too many easels but bear with me there are only three more to go! -try this one for the Testrite -  a UK link for the Nest


Virgil Carter said...

Two other interesting and light weight easels:

The Twister, which is really just a clever holder for the watercolor backing board. It fits on any camera tripod. I've used this for a long time. I like how it holds virtually any size painting and allows for unlimited tilting and twisting to accentuate or resist the flow of water and paint:

And the Sirui T-005X 54.5" Aluminum alloy tripod:

Best, Virgil

Peter Ward said...

Thanks Virgil.