­ Easel setup

I’m out for the day watching some master painters at work at Pitzer college at Claremont. In addition to seeing them paint I’m also interested in observing their tools and methods. Speaking of plein air, here’s a photo of my current setup when I’m painting watercolor. The little shelf is cut from one piece of masonite and attaches to the legs just by pressure-fitting (no screws or clamps.) It also helps to add extra stability to this lightweight Daler-Rowney easel. In this case I was using my studio palette because I wanted to use big brushes. The mist bottle helps keep the paint damp, especially when there’s a warm breeze blowing. Value sketch is there for reference, because light (and shadow forms) change really quickly at the end of the day. My water bucket hangs conveniently nearby. I use the mat to help evaluate what I’m doing when a painting is in progress, as this one was.

If you’re in LA, I’m going to be taking part in a group exhibition on Sunday afternoon at the studio of Lori Koop in Sierra Madre, where the city is hosting an open studio day. Several of us will all be painting outside for the duration of the event. If you want the address to stop by, drop me a note – address is in the left sidebar in the About Me area.


  1. Amrita
    June 2, 2007

    It is a beautiful painting, best of luck for the exhibition….

  2. Nancy
    June 3, 2007

    I love seeing other artists set up and supplys. Thanks.

  3. Linda
    June 3, 2007

    What a great set up! Did you come up with the masonite idea? Can you describe it some time in greater detail, and do you think it would work on an aluminum Bristol easel?
    Oh dear. I sound like the perpetual two-year old with all my questions, but I’m VERY interested in how others set up for outdoor work!

  4. lindsay
    June 3, 2007

    Great set up Karen and I wish you all the best for your show!!!

  5. joyce
    June 4, 2007

    I love this peek at your set up! I’m catching up on my fav blogs….love your painting of the flowers today too (June 4)

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