I recently decided to sell the pastel plein air setup I’ve used for a couple years because I wanted a different style. I love my plein air ‘gear’ and I am always envious of what the other guy has…. I am still deciding between two different brands and have decided to take my time with the purchase.
I was leaning on buying the Heilman, Backpacker size pastel box and easel, but recently I’ve seen several painters online who were using the Sauter All-In-One Easel, Gypsy size. I’d seen the Heilman in action in person by several painters, but have yet to see the Sauter. So I decided to take some time to decide.
In the meantime it meant that I didn’t have pastel easel for the coming weekend! So I got the foam core out and made one! I’ve had an EasyL Pro easel, which I haven’t used much so I decided to try to use it as a base. EasyL sells a pastel insert for their bigger easel, but not this model.
Several years ago, I made my own studio trays for my pastels, and I had one extra tray leftover, so I started with this. It was just the right depth for inside the EasyL. It was a bit narrow for the space, but in the end, it was fine for a few pastel pencils on the side. I also needed to leave a space free in the top middle for the panel adjustment mechanism, so I put some of my blending tools there.
I wanted to use just what I had in the house and it needed to be fairly thin, so it is padded with craft foam instead of regular foam. I then created dividers and made a padded top to keep everything in place when it was all closed. Because it is all white (including the foam), you probably can’t see the details well, but this actually seems to work pretty nice! The size is similar to my other setup, but I had to leave out only about a handful of pastels. I originally wanted a new setup for travel on planes, but I am not sure this will be secure enough, and it won’t fit in my backpack like the above models. I think it will work well locally, for working near my car though.