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Al Young Studios Newsroom

A panel-support accessory for $10 easel

When we received a commission to paint two fairly large, horizontal landscape paintings for the renovation of the Stein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley conference center renovation, I decided to construct a framework that could be clamped, horizontally, to the $10 easel and provide backing for the panels while I worked on them.  I might have painted the two landscapes on the landscape easel, but glare is a perennial problem with that easel and I needed it as a drying rack so that I could work on both paintings simultaneously.

Upon finishing the framework, I chose to store it under the studio loft by suspending the framework from the ceiling there.  Suspension involved simply the installation of eye-screws mounted into the ceiling, corresponding eye-screws mounted into the edges of the framework, and then hooking the ends of a metal S-hook through each set of eye-screws.

When it came time to start the brushwork on the two paintings, I discovered that the $10 easel was wide enough to fully support the panel size; that I really didn't need a framework, but by then I wouldn't have wanted to even think of doing without the ceiling-mounted framework.  I used it to clamp light fixtures anywhere I wanted, to run electrical cords up and out of the way of the work area, and to temporarily clamp other things for storage.  It even baffled the harsh light from the fixture-cans mounted into the ceiling.  And, besides, I liked the way it looked.

The framework played no other role in the project that precipitated it.  I often find that when I receive a creative prompting and act on it, I also tend to form expectations, justifications, and other ideas about it.  To do so is very dangerous.  I find that my ideas about such things are as likely as not to simply be wrong.

Of course, if I ever need to paint a really wide painting, I'm ready.

The framework hangs from the ceiling under the studio loft.  Den Kommende Vinteren is on the $10 easel, just off to the left of the photograph.  Den Kommende VĂ¥ren rests on the landscape easel at the right of the photo.

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Stein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley conference center project.
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The Stein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley
Conference Center Project

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