art horses vs. easels
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    art horses vs. easels

    This is more out of curiosity, since I'm probably going to be purchasing an easel - but what are the advantages to using a horse?

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    Um, it's easier to drip watercolors into your crotch area if you're using a horse. . . uh. . . it provides its own seat . . .

    I think horses are primarily a space efficient tool for mass life drawing venues.

    An easel makes it easier to keep the work surface at an efficient visual/spatial relation to the subject.

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    Can't think of any except for classroom efficiency, like Kamber said. Never had worse back pain than when using a drawing horse.

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    Easel. STAND and draw. You're more likely to back away from your work.

    "Three's so little room for error."--Elwell
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    I share a preference for easels. I feel that some schools prefer horses because that is what Nicolaides prescribes; he suggests to put a drawing board on a chair. To save your own back, by all means use a horse.

    In school, we used horses which could stood on their short end, to serve as a somewhat wonky drawing desk, but the class room also featured easels. To my surprise, most students prefered to stand behind a desk, from where you cannot get anything better than a distorted view on your own work.

    (an easel, an easel, my kingdom for an easel!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamber Parrk View Post
    Um, it's easier to drip watercolors into your crotch area if you're using a horse. . .
    Whelp, I'm sold! *shops for horses*

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    And then God said, "Let us make man in our likeness and our image. Let us make him ridiculously hard to draw so that poor artists everywhere will have to spend 10,000+ hours failing repeatedly before they can begin to capture the form and likeness onto a two-dimensional surface." And there was man. And it was good. And artists everywhere lost their minds.
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    The only thing I really liked using those horses for in class was to get an upshot on a standing model or get some really extreme foreshortening on laying figures, fun!

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    I like them both in the classroom for various reasons. With a horse you can get tighter in to the model and not block others, get a lower angle of view, etc. But being tall they can be uncomfortable and I can't get back from my work as easily.

    For personal use a half-french easel can't be beat.

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    Easels I like to be able to move around when I'm working, I've got 3 easels but even when I'm using my desktop easel I put it somewhere higher so I can stand and move around.

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    Interesting. I actually like using a horse because it's easier on my shoulder (old injury) but I'd rather get away from MORE sitting when I get home, among other things. It's just gonna suck at first while I get used to it. Remembering to step away is good too. (Thanks for the reminder, Cory!

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    I like them both in the classroom for various reasons. With a horse you can get tighter in to the model and not block others, get a lower angle of view, etc. But being tall they can be uncomfortable and I can't get back from my work as easily.

    For personal use a half-french easel can't be beat.

    Ha ha! I actually ended up with a full-box french easel. I can't wait to use it. I've never used a wooden palette, so that should be interesting. (I've always used a butcher's pan.)

    Marion: three??

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alice Herring View Post
    Interesting. I actually like using a horse because it's easier on my shoulder (old injury) but I'd rather get away from MORE sitting when I get home, among other things. It's just gonna suck at first while I get used to it. Remembering to step away is good too. (Thanks for the reminder, Cory!




    Ha ha! I actually ended up with a full-box french easel. I can't wait to use it. I've never used a wooden palette, so that should be interesting. (I've always used a butcher's pan.)

    Marion: three??

    If you have a french easel get yourself a french companion
    its much better than holding the palette that comes with the easel. Get the small version not the big one which is too big for the french easel. I hook mine on with a bungee cord so it doesn't slip off. I also add a piece of plastic to the surface which I have cut at Lowe's or home depot.
    Here are some process shots of how to place and attach it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    Here are some process shots of how to place and attach it.
    Which was my trick as I recall!

    If you want to be extra fancy make a couple notches in the upper edge of your easel-pal that "lock" into the easel's hinges. Also put two cup hooks on the flip down part of the easel-pal to hold your trash bag.

    And exchange your full French for the half...

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    And just to pass on a bit of wisdom from one of my favorite plein air painters, Matt Smith, we were talking one day about all the goofy setups people struggle with in the field..."Equipment is the easiest part of the process to control". Boom.

    Edit: Oh, btw...Armand has his paper towels on the wrong side.

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    Lol I have a small and a large tabletop easel and a field easel. I use the large tabletop easel the most because it's easy to move to where the light is best and the field easel usually just holds paintings I'm working on.
    Sadly the Scottish weather has been lovely and wet so I've not been able to paint outside for a while.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    If you have a french easel get yourself a french companion
    its much better than holding the palette that comes with the easel. Get the small version not the big one which is too big for the french easel. I hook mine on with a bungee cord so it doesn't slip off. I also add a piece of plastic to the surface which I have cut at Lowe's or home depot.
    Here are some process shots of how to place and attach it.
    Oh! Awesome! Thanks D!

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    Which was my trick as I recall!

    If you want to be extra fancy make a couple notches in the upper edge of your easel-pal that "lock" into the easel's hinges. Also put two cup hooks on the flip down part of the easel-pal to hold your trash bag.

    And exchange your full French for the half...

    And just to pass on a bit of wisdom from one of my favorite plein air painters, Matt Smith, we were talking one day about all the goofy setups people struggle with in the field..."Equipment is the easiest part of the process to control". Boom.

    Edit: Oh, btw...Armand has his paper towels on the wrong side.
    I'm going to stick with the full box I'd actually been looking for a regular easel, but the ones I saw in my price-range weren't particularly stable. I didn't expect the little french easel to be less wobbly, but it was, so that's what I got. (It was a special sale, and I like being able to store the supplies with it, so that was a bonus too.) I figure I can use it for "plein-air lite" painting where I'm not going far from my car (including an awesome nearby arboretum) - otherwise I'll eventually get a pochade, since it looks like even the half-box french easel comes in at 10lbs.

    All the tips have been awesome though, and they are things that would have never occurred to me - so thanks guys!

    Oh, and he could totally be left handed!

    Quote Originally Posted by marion74 View Post
    Lol I have a small and a large tabletop easel and a field easel. I use the large tabletop easel the most because it's easy to move to where the light is best and the field easel usually just holds paintings I'm working on.
    Sadly the Scottish weather has been lovely and wet so I've not been able to paint outside for a while.
    Well I hope it clears up soon then!

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    this is the first time I heard of such a thing as 'art horse', that's surely a strange way to sit and paint.

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    You can ride on horses. Weasels are cuter, but they tend to want to bite you.



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    Wow, I'm having de ja vu moments all over the place.

    Horses definitely fuck your back up...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alice Herring View Post
    This is more out of curiosity, since I'm probably going to be purchasing an easel - but what are the advantages to using a horse?

    Well,you can certainly go places on a horse..

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    Horses are a pain in the ass, if you ask me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Psychotime View Post
    Horses are a pain in the ass, if you ask me.
    Ever tried to stick an easel up there?

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    I guess I am an old ball, I like the horse, I like my easel, but I guess four hours a day on the horse I grew a certin comfort with them, I am 6'4 so I had a little back pain till I brought a few 2x6 to stack under me to give me the extra 4 inches. I am meaning to build me one some time this fall, trouble is Lmited space in my house .

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    Hope you guys will forgive a little thread necro here, didn't seem right to start a new thread on this....

    I was wondering this exact same thing. I have a Richeson Lyptus Dulce Easel, it's the H frame type. What I love about it is that it was cheap, seems light enough to carry around to a life drawing class or something and it lets me draw straight up and down. I thought drawing vertical like that would be terrible, but now that I've logged some hours doing it I love it and find that for me at least everything is just a little easier to get right in the beginning of the drawing.

    I really wondered about an Art Horse. I tired to replicate this by putting my drawing board against the back of another chair. Always have this feeling like the bottom 3rd of my paper (18x24 newsprint usually) is going to waste as it's very awkward to draw at that angle. Could be that my angle is too steep or something, dunno. I saw a nicer art horse on dickblick that looks like it would alleviate this problem by having a board surface that can swing up and down on an arc.

    Any recommendations for a really sturdy easel that doesn't have much give? I also wonder if just putting a bean bag chair or something over the legs of the one I have would do that. Most of the time it doesn't bother me, on occasion it breaks my concentration when I feel the whole thing flex though lol - maybe I need to work on my light touch...

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    I just purchased a Testrite Classic #500 aluminum easel for $90 at my local art store. I read online reviews from various art store to get an idea what people liked/dislike about them. Basically after you figure out your particular needs, then go down and poke around. I pulled nearly ever easel down off the stores display and played with them. Unfortunately I have not had the chance to use it yet but plan too soon. All easels seem to flex and wobble that have folding legs. But unfortunately this is common with all portable easels. The lighter weight, them more flex and wobble. Mine seems better than most I played with. A dedicated H frame easels are rock steady but you can't move them around or take them outside.

    I'm 6' 2" and I'll need to buy the extension piece for my easel if I want to draw standing up. But I'll probably do more sitting down for now and buy the piece later. Also, I tend to draw with weight because I'm a beginner. I've learned that I need to use a much lighter touch which I'm working on too. Also, I'll probably have to use one hand to brace my easel some if I get too aggressive.

    Many artist modify their easels with hooks to hold weights to increase the stability of their easels. Just like photographers who hang their photo bags off their tripods to stabilize their cameras when shooting with large lenses or in windy conditions.

    Good luck!

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    Just wanted to chime in and thank dpaint and Jeff for their comments and pictures.

    I'd been looking around for those little french easels but got put off because of the separate palette which wouldnt really be practical because I wouldnt have both hands free to hang onto the easel if it got windy, among other things (I live in the wild north of scotland).

    But if I'd just come back and rechecked the posts, I'd have remembered the companion thing dpaint mentioned. Doh. It looks really handy so I'm going to start looking again. At the moment I'm using a drawing board with the canvas board blue-tacked to it. Okay for indoor work sat at a window but not really practical for outside. Maybe If I get something decent, I can venture into the hills.

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    Yep - French Companins is what they're often called. I put a sheet of tempered glass in mine - heavier but easier to clean. Definitely want to bungie it onto your shelf...and I cut small notches in the back edge of mine to help lock it in place on the hinges. I use my French Companion pretty much for all my painting - in the field or in studio. If it's windy fill your pack up with a few handy rocks and hang it from your easel down low...I imagine there's a rock or two in northern Scotland?

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    Haha, yeah, there's one or two. That's a good idea, weighing the easel down with rocks, and something I didn't think of so thanks for the tip. And thanks also for all the other useful tips/suggestions/advice - it's really helpful and I'm paying proper attention this time, I promise.

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