One artist's journey: Trying to live a creative life with grace, grit, gratitude...and a border collie.
(or perhaps I should say: greys, grit and gratitude)

01 February 2014

Gotta Strada!!

It's here!  My Strada easel arrived yesterday!!

First thing...inspection by bomb-sniffing house lions (it passed).  Despite the box looking like it had been mauled by an angry weasel... everything was well packed and in good shape.

Many artist friends have been raving about the Strada plein air easel...but the original Strada was a wee bit big for what I wanted.  Then, a few days ago, Strada posted that their new mini was available...and I jumped.

Right out of the box, I was impressed.  The Strada Mini is small, sturdy and beautifully designed.  It is slimmer than a ginger cat!

The holder for the top of your canvas doubles as a self locking system...ingenious.

Despite the rugged aluminum build...it is light enough to balance on a dog's head.

It is 11" x 7.5" x 1.5", weighs less than three pounds and closes up into a clean box with no protruding parts (super nice for sliding in and out of a pack).

It is so easy to set up...your cat could probably do it.

It can accomodate an assortment of panel/canvas thicknesses and has position control hinges that rotate 180 degrees.

Though, if you want a palette big enough to hold a cat...you might want to consider the standard Strada.

Even though the light was fading fast, there were several inches of fresh snow and a temperature of 27 degrees...I couldn't resist taking it out for a spin!  It was love at first brush stroke...

Standing in the snow in the bitter cold, with a snow storm rolling in from the West that was quickly erasing the mountain...I got lost in painting.

So much so that, while I was vaguely aware that Newt was running back and forth from the creek, I never noticed the pine cones he was piling up at my feet, in hopes I would play.
This little 5"x7" oil is the first painting done on my new Strada easel.  The first of many, I suspect...

With an assortment of easels in my arsenal...why a new one?

For several years I have been wanting to pack an easel on my horse and head into the hills to paint.  Now that I have countless acres (and miles) to ride...it's time to start.

None of my other easels were compact or sturdy enough to fit in saddlebags...and I didn't want to have to always bring a second horse just to haul the painting gear.
It fits!!

Everything I need to go plein air painting, including lunch, will go in one set of saddle bags!

Sorry, no room for kitties, though!
This morning, even though it was only 5 degrees, I couldn't resist taking it out again.

So I fed the ponies and set up to paint one of them from life.  The light was pretty on "Woodchip's" furry buckskin backside...

Of course...thanks to horses being horses and all nine constantly trading hay piles...he didn't pose perfectly still.

It was so cold, Newt begged to be put in the car with the old "I can't walk 'cause my paw is frozen" bit.

Meanwhile, my toes were freezing and I was trying to paint in clunky gloves...
To get this...

Oil on Linen covered Birch Panel

It was so much fun that, even though I couldn't feel my toes, I stopped on the way back to the house to paint another...of one of my favorite views of the creek that runs along the road to the main ranch.

This time I sat in the truck, engine off.  By the time I finished, my toes were blue...literally.

It was worth it...

"Horseshoe Bend"
Oil on Linen covered Birch Panel

Oh my...this little easel and I are going to have so much fun together!

For more information on these lovely easels, heck out Strada's website:

and their blog: