The word easel was taken from the Dutch word meaning donkey. In every agricultural society the donkey was the work horse and that is just what an easel is today. It is the painters work horse. It carries his vision from birth on a blank canvas to completion. It is a rather simply designed tool consisting of a wooden frame. This frame is sometimes on legs and sometimes it sits on a table top.
Some easels also serve as a nifty way to display these same paintings. There are also what is known as easel pictures. They come in a variety of sizes. The shorter ones are perfect for table tops and some are small enough to be placed on a mantle or inside a curio. These paintings have a built in easel that allow them to be displayed without marring the walls of a structure.
You can also display a painting or other works of art on portable easels. These are made of aluminum, wood, brass, copper or steel. Display easels can be used for ads in stores but you can also use them in tight places at home to hold paintings for special display. While most people choose the lighter weight and flexibility of the tripod easel, you can use a studio easel if space allows.
The trick is to match your easel to your medium. This is especially important if you are using the wooden easel in its capacity as artists helper. While most easels will be adjustable, allowing you to adjust the painting to a variety of angels. If you are using the easel to work with water colors it has to be able to tilt and angle to avoid runs and drips as it dries.
Look for easels that allow you to adjust height at will. A hand crank in the front of an easel may not be the ideal for you. Still others require that you remove the canvas to make an adjustment and this could be problematic outside. You can find these tools in all price ranges and made by many manufacturers. The important thing to remember is to always consider how much you will actually use your easel when contemplating making an investment. Easels range in price from $20.00 to over a thousand dollars. While the pricier ones are tempting these are ones that you should wait to buy once you have decided if you are going to be a serious artist.