Daily Paintworks (DPW) | About DPW

Suggestions for holding my board to easel?

I have a pretty inexpensive metal easel. It works well for my needs as I can adjust it nice and high. However, I hate how the board/canvas sits on it. I’ve attached a picture below. As you can see, I have to contend with a pretty heavy lip over the front of the painting surface, which is proving to be a nuisance (same problem on the bottom edge too). Also, to get a board to sit securely, I have to tighten the clamp so tight that I put a slight warp in a cardboard canvas board.

I know there has to be a way to alter my setup with this easel. Any ideas?

PS - New to the forum. Just bought Carol’s book, excited to start painting daily. I was psyched about selling my work…after reading through the forum, I will readjust my expectations - haha! That isn’t the main goal anyway, I really just want to improve.

You might want to add a panel holder to your easel. I made mine out of half inch plywood with a slot down the middle to hold a clamp the thickness of my boards using a wing nut. The board sits on a ledge, also the thickness of the boards glued to the bottom. You could also use Carol Marine’s holder. As you probably realize, it is important to be able to run off the edges without obstructions.

With respect to daily painting, I am reminded of the old joke "How do you get to Carnegie Hall - practice, practice, practice


Thanks, Gary! Exactly what I was looking for. I’ll be jerry-rigging something tomorrow night based off of that picture.

And love the painting - something about the lighting on that blue chair is making me very happy.

I found in a pinch when I was Plein air painting I put a loop of duck tape on the back. Held it sturdy right where I wanted it.


Just as purplehaze suggested, I use a loop of masking tape for my 6x6 panels and stretched canvas. I’ve done it that way for 21 paintings and it hasn’t failed me yet! It also allows me to paint to the the base of the painting easily.

All good ideas and I too will be inventing something to solve the problem.

I’m a DPW newbie trying to set everything up for painting 6x6 gessoboard pieces the way that Carol Marine does in her book. Before it gets any paint on it, I wanted to show off the holder I made this morning to keep those panels firmly anchored on my full-sized easel, without covering their edges.

I took a thick 8x10 board, flipped it over (you can see the hanger hole) and cut a black 8x10 mat to an L shape that I then taped to the board. With a white marker, I made ticks at the halfway point on each side. Since the mat is open on the top and side, it will hold different sizes without adjusting anything (although I will need new halfway marks for them, of course).

Finally, I put a single piece of double-sided tape in the center of where the board rests, to keep it from shifting horizontally.

In order to keep the easel clamp from casting a shadow over the board, I used another gessoboard as a separator – which is the white rectangle you see over the holder. You can see the whole setup in the second photo. I’m used to painting large linen canvases, so this is quite a transition. :slight_smile:

This holder took about five minutes to make.

I have the same easel as the one on top, never used the top clamp. I put a thick piece of wood in the bottom part, so the canvas sticks up over the ridge. That’s for bigger canvas. For small 6x6’s I put them on a piece of plywood with sticky tack, which makes it easier to work. When done you can just set the whole thing aside to dry.

As a follow-up, this is my simple setup for watercolor using 6x6 or 5x7 Ampersand aquabord panels.

Again, I used double-side tape to secure the panel to the larger sheet of watercolor paper beneath it. That supporting sheet allows me to test colors and lines before applying them to the panel. (There are no changes allowed with one of these aquabords – it’s a highwire act with no second chances!)

I should note that the image on my iPad is a photo I took on my honeymoon last October. The pic was practically monochrome in the original but came to life with color replacement and curves tweaks in PS. And I added a second layer on which I drew a grid dividing it 4 ways on each side… corresponding to the marks on the support paper. (As far as I can tell, the only way to print a grid in PS without a 3rd party tool is by drawing it yourself with the pencil or brush tool.)

I use a strip of wood and two very small “G” clamps to finagle something to hold very small pieces on my H frame easel and a piece of hardboard… I like the adjustability of this set up - all artists should have a handful of “G” clamps on hand :wink: