While paintings can be made with little equipment other than a table to paint on, working horizontally creates significant issues for large or complex work. The need to reach over the painting limits its vertical size, and having different parts of the image closer or further away tends to introduce perspective distortion unless special care is taken to avoid this. Furthermore, horizontal surfaces collect dust, a problem exacerbated by the presence of wet paint. Using an easel to hold the painting upright is an obvious solution; however, I found that many commercial easels are poorly built, and very few of them are capable of holding a painting completely vertically, particularly when considering small to medium-sized easels for tabletop use. For this reason, I decided to build an easel of my own design, which incorporates storage space for art supplies as well as a marble slab for mixing paint.

   The easel was built primarily from yellow pine, which is cheap and abundant yet durable enough for functional use. The components were shaped using a jigsaw and a table saw, and finished with a palm sander, a handheld spindle sander, and a router. The joints were connected using bamboo dowels, which are very cheap but also very strong, and blend in well with pine. These dowels work especially well with gelatine glue, as the glue ends up forced through the pores of the bamboo to solidify the entire joint. The bottom sheet of birch plywood was then connected using drywall screws, which have a subtle look and exceptional holding power. For aesthetic purposes, the wood components were then stained, while the metal components were first stripped of their zinc plating with lye, then blackened. All components were then coated with boiled linseed oil thinned with turpentine, followed by paste wax for the final polish. The marble slab was then cut from an old piece of countertop using an angle grinder and a tile saw, and I added felt pads to the bottom corners so that the whole assembly can be moved around easily on a table.

   The resulting easel can hold paintings up to 16 inches in height and width, and likely much wider as the heavy base helps prevent tipping. The mixing slab provides a convenient self-contained location for paint, while the basket area in the back provides ample space for brushes, media, and pigments. The wax finish allows any misplaced paint to be easily wiped off, and the marble slab is removable for cleaning if paint buildup becomes an issue. Overall I am happy with this design, and I may (after some practice) use this easel to add an "artwork" section to the index page of this site.