The easel aside from the palette and the brush is the most important equipment an artist can have. Easels provide the backbone for the painting process.
It may seem as if it only serves to hold the canvas, but in fact, no self-respecting artist will start a project without one, unless, of course, he is working on a different medium such as walls and murals.
The easel is an upright apparatus that is usually held up by three legs (tripod). It is generally used to display or hold canvas.
Easel comes from the old Germanic word for donkey. Ironic enough, this language only had one word for both objects. The Easel is called esel in full German and ezel in the Dutch language. Actually, easel as an apparatus goes by the full name schildersezel, which means ‘painter’s donkey.’
The easel works by providing a tripod that can be manipulated to obtain a desired angle when painting. For example, if you choice of angle is the watercolor angle, which is 35°, then the easel can be made to tilt in to that angle.
Prices for easels vary. The type of easel you choose depends on how you would like to paint. Always choose one that fits your needs.
Nevertheless, the construct of your easel should be sturdy enough to endure the wear and tear of use. Brass, steel, or aluminum easels are recommended. Wood easels are the classic standards. However, after some time of use, wooden easels tend to show signs of aging and tear.
This type of easel is small, compact, foldable, and easily used. Unfortunately, its lack of bulk means it cannot be counted upon for stability. Also its size makes it inconvenient to use if you enjoy painting standing up.
It isn’t ideal for outdoor paintings because its size does not allow for versatility. Only small canvases can fit on this type of easel. However, if you enjoy small scale painting, this easel is for you.
Sketchbox or Paintbox Easels
This is the all in one easel since it has a container box to store your supplies in. It isn’t that stable either but it makes for a great beginners easel. It is very much like the table-top easel. Beginners usually buy this type of easel.
The French easels are the do-it-all easels. They contain a sketchbox, an easel, and a canvas carrier. This is one of the most versatile easels around. The French easel’s build allows it to be folded up in a hurry, and since it can carry your canvas and supplies as well, you only end up carrying one bag.
Sketching, Portable, and Display Easels
These types of easels are very portable and very handy. Display Easel You can use them to paint or to display paintings. The only downside to them is that they tend to be a little wobbly due to its lack of weight. However, this type of easel is best for outdoor painting.
Studio easels are big and can accommodate large canvases. They are floor standing fixtures that are renowned for their stability and durability. They are not portable, though.
These easels are sought after by professional artists. These easels are pricey, and heavy. But if you are dead set on painting professionally or on working on large canvasses, this is the easel for you.