Offset Watercolor Easel

Ibis Offset EaselI am fully aware that it has been a couple of months since my last blog post but I am intent upon striving for quality content instead of quantity. It is important that this web blog reflects my journey as an artist, the trials and tribulations of creating a WordPress-based online e-commerce site, and information concerning the various equipment and techniques I use to produce my original watercolor artwork.

When it comes to painting equipment and materials, I am generally experimenting with new products. Recently, however, I made the decision to extract one of my old portable easels from storage. Although I love my usual setup, I wanted a little more equipment storage capacity and working space than my current configuration provided and my old Ibis “Offset” French-Style Easel is the perfect candidate.

Offset Easel Patent ImageThis particular easel is incredibly well-engineered and attention has been paid to nearly every detail. It is a very unique design and many aspects of what makes it differ from a traditional French Easel can be seen from the product’s patent office page. From the very solid and more than adequate adjustability of the legs and desk, to the stainless-steel and chrome-plated hardware, this easel is incredibly well thought out.

The most interesting aspect of this easel and the design element that makes it differ from standard French-Style easels, is the ability for the desk of the easel to fold outward and reside to the side of the equipment storage compartment. This allows the artist to be closer to their work and to not have to reach over a large box of supplies while still maintaining easy access. Additionally, the desk can be laid down to a slightly tilted or completely horizontal configuration which is perfect for controlling the flow of watercolor paint.

Storage BoxThe large supply box allows me to have an 11″ x 15″ butcher tray palette that is very easily accessed to my right hand side. I can store a huge number of paint tubes and brushes in the other areas. There are movable partitions for additional configurations which makes this easel a great candidate for Plein Air work or a simple portable studio. I tend to use it for both scenarios.

If there is a single negative element to this easel, it is the weight. It is fairly heavy due to the fact it is predominantly built out of solid maple. However, the build quality also means it will last for many years. Mine has already lasted since early 2010 and I expect it to really last my lifetime. The legs are far more substantial than anything even remotely similar and have been able to withstand quite a fair amount of abuse.

Unfortunately, the last time I checked the website of the manufacturer, the easel was no longer listed for sale. They were being produced on an individual basis and the designer may have decided they weren’t worth the production time. It would be a real shame if they have completely stopped producing this product since it is a really nice design for watercolor artists. Perhaps with a little prodding, however, they could be persuaded to produce again!

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