Thursday, April 10, 2014

Umbrella Stand for Painting in the Rain and Sun

It's high time I posted about The Original Umbrella Stand. Used with a beach umbrella, it creates a portable, sturdy, lightweight shelter for plein air painting. I've been using mine for about two years now, and it has become one of the best tools in my plein air toolkit.


I use a faded beach umbrella in the stand, and (short of the occasional biblical downpour) it keeps the sun, rain, and snow off both me and my oil painting, and off of some of my materials as well. I haven't yet been able to find a suitable white beach umbrella, but the colors in my umbrella are faded, so they don't pollute the colors of my paint.

I've had trouble with umbrellas that attach to easels -- the wind can catch them and capsize the entire easel, or alternately shake the easel so much that it makes it difficult to paint. Also, they can be hard to attach and to position, and they shade only the easel, not the painter (it gets ruthlessly hot in Maryland in the summer).

Last summer, the ground became so dry that I couldn't insert the stand in some areas. But most of the time, it goes in easily, with just a push of the foot.

I have replaced the original screws with some longer screws to accomodate the thin pole of my small beach umbrella. I can screw them in very tight, and if the stand is a good way into the ground, the umbrella stays stable even in a lot of wind. The diagonal chute is useful to point the umbrella in the direction of the wind so that it's less likely to flip the umbrella inside out.

The umbrella stand has expanded my options as a plein air painter. I never go out without it, particularly because I love the colors of a landscape in rain.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014