Sometimes Simple is Better

My wife and I currently live in a 2-bedroom apartment. That second bedroom? Designated as an office/art studio.

The office part is true. It houses our school books, a massive desk that is used on a daily basis, and other sundry items.

It also works wonderfully as an art-supply storage room. Most of my materials are carefully tucked away in corners and the closet. Unfortunately, storage was not at all the goal; action was.

The Problem

I came to realize that even though I never worked on any of my projects, I had a lot of great ideas. I even had the energy and a few minutes to spare to work on them. Unfortunately, the prospect of having to clear a workspace, drag everything out of storage, and then set it all up. After working, it’d be time to clean back up again.

Out of those twenty minutes I had to work on a project, about 5 of them would be spent painting. The rest would be set up and clean up.

And so, my projects never moved past the idea stage.

The Solution

As with so many problems, the answer to mine was quite simple. I needed to greatly reduce or completely remove the amount of prep and clean-up time required for each session.

I needed a dedicated art-space. Fortunately for artist me, painting and drawing don’t require a lot of horizontal space. Vertical is the way to go. This means that I didn’t need another desk, but a place to put my canvas or paper. An easel!

Egads! Easels are expensive. They range from $40 for a weak, wobbly thing to tens of thousands for easels that move on their own. I didn’t want anything fancy. Functional, sturdy, and easy on the wallet. While I’m at it, I also want it to be small and light-weight as well.

Fortunately, such a contraption is surprisingly easy to make. An easel is nothing more than a capital “A” that is leaned up against a surface. Two pieces of $1.45 lumber, one piece of scrap wood, 6 screws, a 3 cuts… and I’m done. Total cost was about $3, and it took less than an hour. If I had power tools, it could be done again in about 10 minutes.

Einstein said it best:

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

My easel is a simple affair, but it fulfills my requirements, and means that I’m ready to pick up work on my current project with only a minute or two of preparation.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to go get some painting done! (You should check out some of my portraiture over at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *