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Monday, December 12, 2016

Product Review: Daytripper Easel from Prolific Painter

Photo by Trina Stephenson
UPDATE 8/4/20:  People who have read my blog have reached out to me recently that the manufacturer is addressing shipment and customer service issues, and these are improving.  But please, do not contact me about this easel, as I cannot provide any more information than is on the maker's website and in my review below.

Like most people, I enjoy a new toy for Christmas.  This one came a little early:  the Daytripper Easel from Prolific Painter.  I've seen the easel in action at several plein air painting festivals over the last couple of years.  Designed and built by my friend, artist Joshua Been, it seems like most of my painting friends at these events use one.  Despite the fact that I have closets filled with pochade boxes, tripods and easels, I decided I needed to try this one out.

I already have a good tripod, so I just purchased the palette and upright panel holder.  Both of these are made of strong but lightweight wood, so the whole package is very portable if you want to hike in to some remote location.  (I didn't weigh it, but Joshua says it's a little over 6 pounds with the Dolica tripod he sells; mine's a little heavier.)

The palette is well-designed with an adjustable hanging system, plus holes for brushes, wing shelves for knives and other small items, a cord for hanging your paper towel roll with a clip for your turps can, and an optional Plexiglas interior for easy clean-up.  (I opted for the Plexiglas.) The inside of the palette is a mid-value, neutral grey to make accurate color-mixing a snap.  The rest of the palette is painted flat black to minimize glare in the field.  The palette rests on your tripod's two front legs at a slight angle to eliminate any bounced light off the Plexiglas.

The upright panel holder, which attaches to the quick release mount of the tripod head, comes in three different lengths and two different configurations, which means you have lots of choices for panel sizes.  I chose the 18" off-center mount, which lets me paint on an 18x24 canvas in the horizontal position.  That's about as big as I want to paint in the field!  The only issue I had was that the brackets for holding the panel or canvas were a little hard to adjust.  You adjust these by sliding them up and down.  I found a little bar soap worked into the mechanism did the trick.

What I like especially about the system—besides the fact that it is lightweight but very stable—is that I can raise my panel to eye-level.  Although in these photos I have it a little lower than that (hey, I'm just getting used to the system!), here's a photo proving otherwise.  I'm a tad over six feet.

Joshua has done a great job at giving all the information plus many photos on his website.  You can read more about the Prolific Painter Daytripper (and other goodies) here:

Oh, and here's the painting I did while testing out the system.  I'm looking forward to my next outing!

Oak Creek Afternoon (Study) - FOR SALE! $150
9x12 oil by Michael Chesley Johnson


Unknown said...

I would like to add the palette hanging hooks to my wooden pastel box. Joshua Been's website gives 404 error for equipment. Where to buy please?

Jeff Eickhoff said...

I have the Prolific Painter and the only parts that I'm not happy with are actually the palette hanging hooks. They bend easily and I have to bend them back a couple of times a session. I feel like they will eventually fatigue and I will need replacements, which is why I visited the website and found the same 404 error today.

If I were looking to retrofit a wooden box, however, I would probably look for thicker gauge metal clips or have someone make custom clips that are beefier to avoid this problem in the future.

Michael Chesley Johnson, Artist / Writer said...

Thanks for the update, Jeff. I can't help you with the 404 error but you can try contacting Josh directly.