Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Gloucester easels

Here's one of my heroes Aldro Hibbard teaching a class on the headlands in Rockport, Massachusetts, which still overlooks the harbor unchanged from when this photo was taken in 1940. I have painted from this very spot and know it well.The woman on the right is working at an old Gloucester easel. In those days they were made by Oscar Anderson a Gloucester painter, and were often called Anderson Easels. Below left, are two easels, the one on the left side of the picture is an antique Anderson easel from that period. The easel on the right is my own Gloucester easel, notice how much larger it is. Mine was made by Take-it-easel down on Cape Cod. It is very well made. In fact its one of the few things I know of that's made better today than then.
I really think its hard to beat the Gloucester easel as an out door painting rig. It has no wing nuts and doesn't break down outside.This easel will stand in wind that would blow any other easel down and it will last for many years even under hard usage. Mine is over ten years old now. Below you see my easel set up out doors. I carry my paint in separate box which sits across the bars that are waist high on the easel. Because of the weight of the box the whole rig is very stable and I have a workspace almost the size of a card table.The easel sets up more quickly than a French easel. It has a clever spring release mechanism on the legs which is a marvel of simplicity. A woman I painted with last summer had a new one from a major mail order supplier and she couldn't seem to set it up. I went over to help her and I couldn't set it up either because several crucial parts were installed incorrectly. Some one sent a Take -it-Easel to China and the fabricators there had never used one, so they put it together so it looked a lot like the real one but didn't work. I have placed a link to Take-it Easel on this site. This is THE easel for painting outside. Tomorrow I will continue with easels.


Mary Bullock said...

Hi Stape:
That looks like a really great easel - light weight and simple to put up - but the price is way out of my range. What would be your second choice?

Stapleton Kearns said...

Mary: E mail me. I have a suggestion. said...

I own an antique Gloucester easel; it has a label "Gloucester Easels, 9 Highland Court, Gloucester Massachusetts". I've had it for many years. Are you familiar with the company that made it and its approximate value? Health issues have kept me from painting. Thank you very much for your response.
Joe Bergeron
Hutchinson Island, FL