Bryan Mark Taylor workshop at Madeline Island July 24-28th, 2017

Posted on May 02, 2017 by Angie Page | 0 comments

Join Bryan Mark Taylor for a five day workshop at the beautiful Madeline Island School of the Arts in Michigan. MISA is ranked among the top five art and craft schools in the country.  The school is located on Madeline Island, the largest of the 22 Apostle Islands in Lake Superior. The Island is known for its magnificent light and colors, creating an unparalleled setting for a week of creativity. MISA’s workshop environment is known for its world renowned instructors in writing, painting, quilting and photography.  Classes are held June – October in spacious studios, superior on-site accommodations with a staff that will ensure an unforgettable experience. To learn more contact Julie at (715) 747-2054.

Posted in bryanmarktaylor, landscape painting workshop, learn to oil paint, learn to plein air paint, madeline island, oil painting workshop, plein air equipment, plein air painting, plein air workshop, strada easel, workshop

Plein Air Painting Workshop with Bryan Mark Taylor July 24-28

Posted on May 02, 2017 by Angie Page | 0 comments

Join Bryan Mark Taylor on stunning Madeline Island in Lake Superior for this five day Plein Air Painting workshop. He will guide you through an incredible week of painting with the unique light and color only the Island affords!

Bryan’s workshops are for all artists who want to develop an in-depth understanding of the fundamentals of outdoor painting through accelerated learning techniques based on the latest scientific research. The workshop will focus the artist on effectively capturing light, atmosphere and mood in paint while using strong composition and color harmony.

Your week will include daily demonstrations by Bryan, and afternoons spent in the field - painting the unbelievable and varied scenes of beautiful Madeline Island.

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STRADA easel January 31-day Challenge

Posted on December 30, 2016 by Angie Page | 0 comments

Announcing the STRADA January 31 day Challenge!
Artists from all over the world will be participating in the STRADA 31 day challenge. Check out STRADA Easel's Facebook page during the month of January to see who is up to the competition! 

Win a Free STRADA Easel by entering the STRADA January 31 Day Challenge. Artists who paint from life every day in January will be entered to win one of five  STRADA Easels!

Please send an email to with the words STRADA 31 and your name in the subject line so we can register you in the competition. Watch for an email confirming your participation.  If you don't receive a confirming email from STRADA, please check back in with us so we can make sure you are registered.  

Contest rules: January is a great time of year to set new goals and we are committed to helping artists improve their work. One of the best ways to improve is to make a personal daily commitment to painting. Beginning January 1st, do a  painting from life each day. This includes still life, interiors, figure and plein air.  Post the image of your piece for that day on Facebook.  Remember in each post to list each day (e.g. Day1 Day2 etc.) and use the hashtag #stradaeasel so we can keep track and share your progress on our Facebook page. At the end of the month if you have painted and posted each day for thirty one days straight (the entire month of January) you will be entered to win a STRADA Easel of your choice. In order to enter the challenge you must be 18 years of age or older and live in the continental US. If you are an international artist and win an easel we ask that you pay for shipping beyond $25. 

In order to get the most out of your 31 day challenge keep three things in mind: 1. Set a clear goal. 2. Mindful repetition. 3. Regular feedback. For more information on how to rapidly improve your work 
watch Bryan Mark Taylor's talk at the 2016 Plein Air Convention.

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Artist Brenda Boylan customizes the STRADA Easel for Pastels!

Posted on October 07, 2016 by Angie Page | 0 comments

The Strada for Pastel Plein Air

As a traveling plein air pastelist, I have found one thing to be true. Carry less so you can have more. More freedom, more practical thought, more ability to move about, and more joy. You see, pastels are like a piano. You need each key to make a beautiful harmonic composition. With oils, you can travel with as few as four colors to make a painting. Not with pastels, oh no. I would jokingly compare it to carrying an upright piano on your shoulder. I think I carry about 250 pastels in my plein air box and the weight adds up. Some pastelists carry more. My plein air box weighs 14 pounds when fully loaded and so I lovingly call it my "Box of Rocks". So it is no wonder why I am always on the lookout for ways to make my set-up less heavy and complicated.
If one were to calculate all the miles I must have hiked with my current pastel box, it would probably be a combination of 40 miles. If you were to count the time I had to run down the halls of the Portland International Airport with my pastel box back to the North 40 after I discovered I left my precious box behind at the TSA, well then that's another 2 miles. Honestly, I tell you, my pastel box is heavy and cumbersome as with all of them out on the market today. They are just heavy and no getting around that. But what if you could fit it into a backpack and free up your arms, then would that be better? Well yes it would. 
You see, I currently use an Open Box M that I have modified to allow the best set up situation and ease of use, but honestly, I have been using it less and less in long distance events because of it's size and weight.  Also what adds to the total bearing weight is the tripod I have to tote around for which it sets upon. A tripod must be lightweight as well as able to carry a payload of 10 lbs over the box's weight. So say your box weighs 11 lbs., then your tripod should be able to withstand 21 lbs. Why the extra payload requirement? Ballast. You need ballast to hold your box down on the tripod so it won't blow over in case of a hefty gust and to avoid a top-heavy set up. No pastel artist wants to pick up a pile of broken pigment chips on the ground in the middle of a beautiful painting experience. 
Well, that wish may come true. I am partnering up with artist, owner, and developer Bryan Mark Taylor of Strada Easel to modify his sweet little pochade box into a pastel box.  The Strada box is sleek offering a tension closure that acts as a panel holder. That means there are no nobs or wing nuts to catch onto anything and making it easy to put into a backpack.  It is sturdy. The Strada is made of powder coated aluminum that makes it nearly bomb proof.  It's compact, making it smaller than the average pastel box. It has additional "wings" that can be added to the sides of the box for extra pastels and can be folded upon themselves to easily pack away.
So in order to make the Strada "pastel friendly" I made a few simple modifications that I will share with you here:
A good pastel box needs to be lined with foam to keep the pastels from rolling around and getting crushed. So I searched for Memory Foam online and found Foam Source, a manufacturer who will customize memory foam to fit exactly the parameters set.  I measured my Strada Box's interior dimensions of depth, width and height for both the bed and the lid and a little extra for the walls of the box, as well as the side wings. 
For the 11x14 Strada Box, I ordered:
(1) Soft Memory Foam 16.5 x 12 x .5" (for the bed of the box)
(1) Soft Memory Foam 15.5 x 12 x .5" (for the lid)
(1) Soft Memory Foam 15.5 x 11 x .5" (extra just in case)
I tacked on an extra inch to measurements of the bed to tape to the walls of the box.
Because the foam is a bit "stretchy" you will need to press firmly down to
trim the memory foam so it doesn't drag and allows a clean, uniform cut.

checking the fit before setting it with adhesive

There is a peg in each corner of the box where they poke through. I am not sure what the purpose is for the pegs, but I suppose they are important for it's oil painting purposes. I will have to remove the pegs so there won't be a hard bump for a pastel to break on.
I had my handy Dad machine them off in a snap. Thanks Dad!
Next, I measured the exact bed dimension and cut some double-sided
adhesive for the foam to stick to. You can see there is a small peg remaining in the upper center area of the bed. That peg is a "must" for the tripod head to attach. When I set in the pastels, I will have to "remember" to avoid resting them on that peg.
Peel the paper off of the double sided adhesive.
Also affix the double-sided tape to the inner sides and
place the foam and press into place.
Here is the bed lined with the memory foam. All while I am building this interior bed, I am always checking the fit, measuring, and testing any challenges. When I checked the closure or the lid, I noticed that the bottom panel bracket would have to be removed when closed as it would crush the pastels and the pastel cover.

So I needed a nifty little spot to put the bracket and decided to cut a bit into the bed

And protect the pastels from the panel bracket by tucking it behind the inner liner.
Nearly done, but just a few more special things to do...
Next, I had to make a padded cover to protect the pastels from the lid.

I measured and cut a piece of heavy duty illustration board to act as a base for the inner lid.
Again, I applied double sided adhesive to the inner lid
and then cut and attached the memory foam to fit.  

I modified the lower left of the inner lid to fit snuggly around the panel bracket.

Then the side trays were also adapted with memory foam.
The larger of the two side trays doubles as a lid and a working space.
The small side trays close up like a small box and then strapped closed with 3 super-duper rubber bands. Use (2) 6" and (1) 9"super-duper rubber bands from PanelPak.
Then I scored the middle of the foam so I could place a thin piece of foam core down the middle lengthwise to give support and structure to the loose pastels.
A perfectly pretty box in every way.
It closes up snuggly. 
Fully assembled with side trays and clip in place on the easel. Now all I need is to find that special tripod and I'm set for easy travel.  This entire set up weighs in at 11.2 lbs.
Things I learned:
Measure twice, cut once.
Always order a bit more than you need. In case you make a mistake, then you won't be delayed in another shipment.
Order a foam thickness of 3/8", not .5" so the box will close a little better. 
Constantly check for obstacles. There are always a few surprises when modifying a box.
Think of creative ways to solve a problem.
Strada weighs 11.2 lbs / Open Box M weighs 14 lbs. I lost 2.8 lbs! 
*  (Open Box M no longer makes a box for pastels)
To make this box complete and ready for the field, I will need a tripod that fits these specs:
Folded length:  16.5"
Weight:  2.5-3 lbs or less
Payload:  21 lbs
Clamp legs/ twist are second best in my opinion.
Carbon Fiber
Quick release ball head
Reasonably priced $200-$400.
Wishing my dreams will come true.
So there you have it, a modified Strada for pastels. What do you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts on this by sharing you comments in the comment box below.
~ Brenda
Go to Brenda's blog at:
For more great info on plain air painting with pastels. 

Posted in pastel, plein air painting, strada easel

The standard STRADA Easel now fits a John Pike Watercolor Palette!

Posted on October 07, 2016 by Angie Page | 0 comments

The John Pike Palette nests perfectly in the standard STRADA Easel. This palette has 18 easy to clean paint wells; each with a width of 1-7/8 inch and plenty of mixing space in the center. The Big Well Palette will allow the use of larger brushes. Made with the same rugged plastic as the original John Pike palette; with outer dimensions being 10-1/2 x 15 inches. Comes with a sturdy lid that snaps closed to keep your paints clean.

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How to fix your Suiri Tripod if the leg comes off

Posted on December 21, 2015 by Landon West | 0 comments

Here is a short tutorial on how to fix your Suiri Tripod if the leg comes off. 


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July STRADA Online Art Competition!

Posted on July 07, 2015 by Angie Page | 0 comments

Master landscape painter Matt Smith will be the Judge of the July STRADA Online Art Competition. To enter go to:

"Winter On Deep Creek Mesa", oil, 16"x20" by Matt Smith

The STRADA Easel monthly contest is designed to stimulate artistic growth through competition and reward artists through recognition by winning a STRADA Easel and accessories. It is our belief that STRADA products will provide an avenue to thrive and create new work through better equipment and alleviating financial pressure. 

The STRADA Easel monthly contest will offer recognition awards, visibility through STRADA Easel’s e-newsletter, blog and facebook as well as awards of materials and supplies. 

1st place: STRADA Easel, Suiri Tripod and 2 side trays. ($560 Value)
2nd place: STRADA Easel and 2 side trays. ($350 Value)
3rd place: STRADA MINI ($265 Value)
3 finalists: $100 off gift certificate of a STRADA Easel
Plus showcase of all winners in STRADA Easel’s newsletter, blog and facebook page. 

Entering Your Images 
You can enter your images online at Help in photographing your work and properly sizing your images can be found at:
For best results, make sure your image is 1920 pixels @72 dpi on the longest side. Images should be in JPEG format, sRGB color space.
If you need help entering your images or are unable to, please contact or call 949-287-8645949-287-8645.

Each entry must be accompanied by an entry fee, which is non-refundable unless the image is rejected. The fee for the first image submitted is $8, and additional images submitted are $5 each (U.S dollars). There is no limit to the number of images you can enter in each monthly contest, and images can be re-entered in subsequent contests as many times as you wish. In order to enter, you’ll have to register for your first entry and can then use your sign-in and password for additional or future entries. 

Competition is open to residents of any state or country where acceptable by law. STRADA Easel reserves the right to reject or not display any image that it feels is inappropriate or distasteful or if the image quality resolution is poor. 

All images must be submitted in digital format and presented without frames and have the signature of the artist. By entering you agree that you are not submitting images that are not copies of other artists’ works or copyrighted materials and that you are the copyright holder and are submitting original work. Original work does not have to be in your possession. By entering you are agreeing in advance to have your artwork published on any STRADA website, e-mail, Facebook or Twitter page or other electronic or printed means, including STRADA Easel’s website or e-newsletter. If the publication requests a high-resolution image for higher-quality reproduction purposes, you agree that you will provide this in a timely manner when requested. Each contest ends officially at exactly 12 midnight following the published final day of each contest. 
All individuals entering must be at least 18 years of age to accept cash prizes. Entries will not be accepted if sent by mail or physical delivery of photographs, discs, or actual paintings. 

Matt Smith

Timeline of events including Monthly contest opens the first day of each month and ends on the last day at midnight. 

Thank you for entering the STRADA Easel monthy contest. We are committed to providing artists with the highest quality equipment. We’ll let you know the winner by the second week of the following month. Happy painting!

Posted in fine art, matt smith, online art competition, plein air equipment, plein air painting

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