The easel is important for the student artist.  One of the challenges of becoming a better artist is becoming comfortable in your creative space. My recording studio is also my art studio – a place where I paint.  It allows my creative energy to be contained in a small room that was once a spare bedroom. The challenge of using a small room as your studio is making it work efficiently – but also a place of refuge.

Your studio should encourage you to be more creative. It should invite you to stay, to allow you to work for long period of time without feeling a need to leave. And if you’re learning to paint like me, you’ll have an easel in your studio.

My Easel

Early in my journey, as I was just starting out, I recognized that I needed an easel which would hold my canvas as I painted. I had a few requirements that I needed out of any easel chosen- it had to be lightweight, large but not so large that it overpowered and controlled my space, easily adjusted, and a seamless part of my studio. Basically, it had to melt into the landscape of the room as an integral part of the ambiance – part of the background.

The easel I wound up choosing is a common student studio H-frame found in many art schools. My easel met the requirements I listed, including the most important one – it’s affordable.

A Review of My Easel

I’m giving this review from the perspective of a student artist – someone who is learning how to be a better artist. With that in mind, I will cover the pros and cons of my easel, as well as what I do to mitigate some of the issues that I have with the easel, and why having this easel is an easy decision.

The Avanti II Steel Double Post H-Frame Studio Easel can be found on Amazon and as well as various retail stores. At the time of this review, it is available with Amazon Prime (free shipping) on the Amazon website. It retails near $150.00 at all of the retailers that I’ve found who carry the easel.

The Pros

  • All metal body materials, using aluminum and galvanized steel for the major parts
  • It’s lightweight
  • Tool free assembly and adjustments
  • Durable
  • A large and deep tray
  • It can accommodate a wide array of styles and sizes of canvas and surfaces
  • The feet have level adjustments for an uneven studio floor
  • It is easily adjusted and can stand vertical
  • With three knobs loosened, the easel can lie flat and be hidden under a bed
  • With the same three knobs loosened, the easel can be separated into two pieces and stored vertically

The Cons

  • It’s so lightweight that it loses some rigidity and only recovers when extra weight is added
  • The easel’s method of affixing a canvas in place leaves areas of a canvas inaccessible, or unstable
  • The aluminum posts are mirrored and highly reflective, with the possible impact of creating glare while painting
  • The friction bolts using plastic knobs to tighten the easel in place
  • The easel is prone to fall when the angle of the easel is adjusted. The galvanized steel has sharp edges and given the possible height – may fall at high speed on young bones and flesh with ugly results.

Addressing Issues

  • I use a pair of small affordable arm curl weights (10lbs each) lashed to the adjustment rod with wire to provide extra rigidity and stability.
  • Wood, cut to fit into the canvas grips, provides a flat surface to put pressure on canvas instead of the sharp edges of galvanized steel.

My Recommendation

Would I buy this same product again? If you had asked me a few weeks after purchase, my answer would have been “no” – but the thing grows on you.  If you add extra weight and fix the canvas grips, then the positive attributes stand out. The body can also act as a black board with a piece of black board affixed instead of a canvas.

Given that it’s metal, I’m not fearful of taking the easel outside where I can paint while listening to the birds who live in my heritage oak tree.

So, my final answer is yes – I would buy it again. If you do purchase this easel, your buying decision should be made with your eyes open to the challenges that you may experience. I would add, however, that it’s easy to deal with any perceived shortcomings, because the attributes of owning this easel far outweigh those takeaway from it.