Saturday, January 8, 2011

On the go

First, I am happy to announce the news of this years upcoming events.

I will be participating in a group show at Hespe Gallery in March.

In September I will have a Solo exhibition with Gallery Henoch.

To the top right of this page, the upcoming events column has been updated. More details to follow soon.

To start of the new year I decide it was time to make life/painting on the go much easier, so I picked up some new equipment.

RIP. This is my old faithful set up I have used for several years. I picked up the easel at a garage sale from a family whose father was an artist and had passed away and the family was selling all the belongings in the studio. The family was very happy when they found out I was an artist, and I assured them that the easel would be of great purpose and put to use.

Whenever I would consider painting outside the studio, the idea would give me a headache because this setup is problematic, for example: it is very time consuming to unpack and to get setup, and then again the same long process cleaning and packing up. As the bolts on old faithful became stripped over the years the easel would wobble which was a sure sign disaster would strike, the easel would collapse in the middle of working on a painting. Several repairs later I continue to use the easel in the studio, but taking it elsewhere is questionable.

Another problem is throwing all my supplies in a backpack since more often I would tend to forget to pack something very crucial to working: brushes, palette, turp, certain color of paint, etc.

After a long time shopping around and comparing the pros and cons of pochade boxes and french easels, I decided to go with a Jullian French easel, since the smallest size I prefer to work around is 11" X 14". Working any smaller and I would feel cramped.

Here is a 28" X 24".

Quote from the website -

"Roger Jullian, a French prisoner of war, devoted himself to designing the perfect sketch box easel. When the war ended, he returned to France and formed the Jullian Company employing French craftsmen to produce the easel from the highest quality materials."

Upon inspection I was very impressed with how well designed and crafted the box was and saw very little need for any improvement. However, I decided to add a few of my own alterations so that everything I use in the studio would fit in one box.

I have never felt comfortable using the old hand held wooden palettes, so first I gutted the drawer, and added an old picture frame for a glass palette. The frame is hinged in and has hardboard backing behind the glass. This provides a sturdy mixing surface and cleanup is very easy.

There is enough space underneath the palette to store a few brushes and palette knives. I stapled in an old canvas brush holder in the side so there would be a place to put the brushes while working, this tucks underneath the palette for storage.

Here is the back half and the storage space underneath the drawer to store paint, brushes, paint rags, snacks, etc. I can fit a fair amount inside easily and if I fiddled around I could probably fit a whole lot more, but maybe bringing a ton of materials isn't necessary.

These 2 pieces of wood were notched and then screwed into the lid which serves a few functions. When closed it keeps the drawer locked in place, keeps the paint in its own separate compartment, and secures the palette in place.

Here is a closeup of the inside, showing how the notches fit. There is enough space to fit 2 small jars, one for turp and one for magic medium. Also there is enough space that I can keep heaps of paint on the palette and the lid does not press up against it when closed. When everything is closed very compact and snug.

I estimate it weighs a little over 20 pounds, not something I would hike long distances with. I attached an old padded shoulder strap of a delivery bag which makes it easy enough for carrying short distances around the city. This is the first round of alterations, and I am sure I will find many more ways to customize the box as I put it to use. Now when thinking of painting on the go, my head is filled with ideas instead of headache.


Anonymous said...

Nice rig...looking forward to all you will create with the new setup.

Anonymous said...

20 pounds? I gave up carrying my outdoor setup...just get a wheelie bag. You won't regret it.

doostin said...

Clever. I use an easel like yours with the exception of your improvements. I am now considering doing this to mine.

So from what I can tell the paint tubes would fall down into the palette area were it not for one of the pieces of wood you secured to the lid?

Do you scrape your palette before packing everything up?


Tim said...

I got myself the Soltek, best investment ever. I had the Julien Half box but got so pissed off fiddling with nuts and bolts and screws that ate through the wood that Id get the same headache. The Sotelk is a bit pricey but man, its awesome, Its the Macbook Pro of easels. Check it out.