the amoeba

A Winter's Evening; casein tempera on panel; 8" x 10"
Now that the holiday festivities are behind me, I've moved back out of the painting nook and have started roaming the house for painting sites.  As a result, the painting detritus is slowly starting to spread.  My partner calls it an amoeba - with a life force of its own.  He's incredibly patient with all of this - even voicing delight in what surprise might be happening next on the easel.  I'm a very lucky painter.

It helps to have several easels to accommodate this fluid-studio-space type of arrangement.  I've got a Julian field easel that I used to paint the above scene in my living room.  It goes with me when I paint outside too.  Then there's the pochade box - which has taken a couple of bike rides to painting sites. (I must admit however that it really hasn't caught on with me.  The hinged lid that holds the painting won't stand up to my brush strokes - and the painting is too close to the palette for my tastes.  And I'm not convinced the whole pochade set-up is any lighter than my Julian field easel - its only real advantage.)  Then there's the table top easel which is simply a 10" x 12" piece of 1/8" plywood with a 12" strip glued to it as a stop.  An old brick sits on the plywood - supporting the back of the painting and keeping it all steady.  This works great when I'm painting at my desk and using my monitor for photo reference - although I far prefer to paint standing up and from life.  Last, but not least, is my heavy studio easel which lives in my 8' x 10' north-facing painting nook.  It can handle large canvases and is a real workhorse.  But I get restless if I stay in the nook too long - even though I do my best to refresh it with new set-ups and backdrops.  It is nice, though, to have a place to retreat to when we're trying to tame the amoeba.

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