Category Archives: Reviews

A New Easel for the Studio – A Review

As I sat with a group of artists last night discussing how to market ourselves, the subject came up about costs of doing what we do vs. earnings. For most of us, costs and earnings were about equal. While that’s sad, I bring this up to make the point that while we like to have beautiful tools and equipment, many in our industry can’t afford the most expensive kind. However, the big easel I wanted to replace is a hand made model, sturdy, heavy, and remodeled by my wonderful husband to fit my space. But it  didn’t feel sturdy enough. Between the wobbles and the lack of adjust-ability, I wanted something more.

My quest for an easel was to find a reasonably priced, sturdy model that would hold fairly big canvasses, fit in my small space and be useful for smaller pieces as well as big ones. I also was looking for a very adjustable model that could lay down. What I found was US Art Supply® MALIBU Extra Large 80″ to 139″ Tall Adjustable H-Frame Deluxe Adjustable Wood Studio Easel with Tilt & Casters from TCP Global Corp through Amazon, which seems to fit the small space I have and meets all my criteria for the current need.

It rolls on casters. I can see that they may need to be replaced someday, but for now, it rolls smoothly, and I’m happy about how easy it is to move about the space.

Adjustments for height at the top bracket, at the rack, and at the back braces give it full adjustability, and, as shown in my picture, will also lay flat. I will use that feature for final varnishing, and it’s also useful for watercolorists or other artists that want to work flat. I like it better than trying to set a large canvas on a table surface, especially with bigger canvasses.

Easel-review-2 Easel-review-3 Easel-review-4

It was not hard to put together, though it took a whole evening. Look at the drawings carefully — I did — and still put some parts together backwards, though that was easily remedied. I like a challenge, but not too much of a challenge in assembling things like this. No words, just pictures on the instructions.

All in all a good buy at $150.

Gasworks Gallery Open Studios

I visited Gasworks Gallery open studios last night to see how it was, and who was there, and what they were doing. The good news is that there were LOTS of people visiting, touring and chatting with artists. LOTS of people. It was a crush, which is good even if it’s not comfortable. OK it was hot and crowded and I didn’t know anyone there, but met some real nice people for a brief moment anyhow. One young pair of creatives, an oil painter and a writer, had some colorful and intriguing work going on in their tiny (5×8?) studio. I hope the ventilation system is good!

The physical space of Gasworks Gallery studios is interesting — like a rabbit warren with stairs. The upstairs is accessible only in sections by staircases off the central hall on the main floor up to the next level. You might be able to see the adjacent section, but would have to descend the stairs and travel the hall to ascend the next staircase. Interesting building choices. The basement is only accessible from outside the building on the lake side. There are spaces for rent. Standard studio spaces range from $150 to $495 and are month-to-month, which I’m sure is meant to attract artists — as this is quite reasonable for studio space. I didn’t see any plumbing upstairs, though it may be that it was there. The place was dressed for the tour, with the ugly stuff all covered over.

Another artist, in the basement, was in the process of selling a piece when we entered. The buyer had discovered what the artist valued — a good home for the art, and someone who REALLY resonated with it. The buyer made an offer and got a bargain for sure. It was a good piece. This was one of those moments that both hurt me and gave me hope. There is art selling in Seattle, and good art is being made. On the one hand, did the buyer take advantage of the artist’s emotions about wanting to make sure that her art found a good home? As we entered her room, she was saying how meaningful art can be, how it speaks to someone and when someone makes a connection to it, they are meant to be together, art and owner. The buyer seemed to love it, and then I heard, “Will you take (x amount?) for it?” By that time the artist had painted herself into a corner (sorry for the pun) and seemed to feel that she had no choice but to accept the buyer’s offer.  She took a breath and said yes, and seemed glad that it sold to the buyer. Happy buyer, happy artist. All’s well that ends well. This made me uncomfortable, as I’ve been in the same position.

The problem is if I have other collectors that paid more, and found that I took less for a later, similarly made piece, that might make them feel that I did not deal with them fairly. It does bring up a question for sure.

Of course none of this will matter once the artist dies….

The Book Borrowers, Exhibited at Bellevue Arts Museum

Call me a snob, I don’t care–I love art museums. The curators get to choose the finest, most intriguing work, and they’ve done it again at the Bellevue Arts Museum. I’ve been wanting to see this one for a while. As one of the early “Altered Book” artists back in the 90’s, this was intriguing to me.

Link to Book Borrowers Page

Larry and I talked it over after seeing the work, and we liked most of, but not all the same things. Something called a book excavation was interesting to me, related to, but a few steps beyond the well known book The Humument by Tom Phillips. It appears that the artist would take a book, (or three copies of the same book in one case), with illustrations, and page through the book, choosing which illustrations to retain and cut out around and feature, in one case, animals. Leaving words that relate to the pictures, the animal pictures are left in situ on the page, and most of the rest of the page is cut away. Page by page the artist goes through the book, excavating out the excess and leaving a sculptural collection of animals. Ah shoot–just go see it!

There were also stacks of books that had been sandblasted into various shapes, cutwork, altered, revised, upended, rolled into log like shapes that looked like a slice from a tree, book covers turned into lace paper, inked, and books that were merely the background for some fascinating machine puppet animal skeletons made from wire and string. Fascinating.

Lynette, the Flying Redhead