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2003, When I first started painting in California with Ryan Wurmsor, Michelle Dunaway, and Tony Pro.
I knew I was going to love plein air, so I was “all in” on what is a nice piece of equipment, the Open box M. Used it like crazy 03-08.
DSCF0111Personally, I don’t love the “Praying Mantis” style systems like Open Box M, Strada, and others.
They do not promote the fencing painting posture.
I find my neck craning to inspect the mixtures, and my wrists stay too bent all the
time with paint build-up on the sleeves of my jacket, hence, the “praying mantis” poke.

I wanna’ get my shoulder into it, even if it’s an 8×8 miniature.

Really though, size capacity was the main issue I had with the unit. I wanted to go bigger outside.
I had “McGuyvered” several clunky solutions to get the occasional 16×20 on my 8×10 box.
If I saw me out there then, now, I’d hug that soldier!!
Panel flopping all over the place… It’s rough out there at times!

It was this brand new Open Box M that blew over the cliff and into the deep pool at the base of a waterfall…
Many have heard the story, it’s why I do NOT use, or recommend the use of umbrellas.
I was painting the top view, looking down at a 25 foot falls into a slotted rocky canyon with deep pools.
I stood back, careful and aware of the cliff I was on, to look at my developing painting, and WHOOOooooosh….
THAT, just happened.
The impact of the setup was dampened by the attached umbrella which acted first as a sail, then as a very awkward sort of parachute.
The rig now smacked the surface of the large pool of water, which on the deepest end, was being filled by the very waterfall I had just almost completed.
A sacrifice of sorts, a testing of my resolve..
I stood in disbelief, almost amazed at how perfectly dead center the entire setup had softly landed in the very deep pool.
No time could be wasted as the rig was sinking slowly, and tending in the underwater current, towards the falls.
I quickly picked a line to the incident below, unfamiliar with the area.
It was obvious a fair amount had done this adventure before me, giving a false sense of security.
I nimbly scaled a short cliff down to a ledge and followed the talus to the pool.
The rig now, completely underwater, continuing to sink slowly.
It was February in California, not freezing, but not warm.
I hastily undressed and faced the zenith of horror that was that current reality.
There were really no options.
Jump in, FREEZE, but save a very expensive and dear, brand new easel…GO.
That I did.
It was a couple days later that the poison oak set in from the climb down.

I had the Soltek too. Used it like crazy 08-11′. Yearning for the fencing posture.
It’s got that……..but….
JoshuaBeen_AltaLakes_Telluride_COLeg after leg, I’m sure you’ve heard, and at $125.00 a pop.
Then the spindle on the back that holds everything together…SNAP!
That’s right, I’m sorta proud of that one.
I can put an easel through some rigors, believe me!….so 4th leg in, I get one of Soltek’s guys on the phone,
I’m like,”What’s with these alien back-engineered legs, can’t we just have normal tripod legs?
I like the mechanism, but it keeps on failing.”
Guy from Soltek, “We do not recommend using the unit in sandy areas.
Or people have put water balloons on the end of the legs, too.”
Me, “hmmmmmm. Every where I love to paint is sandy. From sea to shining SEA!!
…and I don’t really want to look like a circus clown out there with my waterballoon legs.
So keep your leg, and I’m sure they have a place for this soldier in easel heaven.
Thank you though…mmmmmbye..”

I have tried all easel styles, and I am a no-nonsense kind of a painter.
I definitely don’t want equipment blocking my creative flow.
If there is anything bothersome, I will find a way to fix it.
Painting, while difficult, should be an enjoyable experience.

The energy you’re feeling flows through your brush, young jedi.

So I went to work. Looking for other portable solutions. Trying them..making improvements.
Designed the “Prolific Easel” and from roughly 2011-2013 sold them to many happy painters still using one..
20130717_140134Also got great feedback from friends and users of that system.
My parents, who were building them, decided they just wanted to be retired.

Back to the drawing board. (not entirely)
Things I NEEDED in order of importance…
*Ability to paint small-larger
*Fencing Style painting posture, but also, be able to sit and paint
*Lightweight and packable
*Easy to use

BAMMMM..The Daytripper prototype was born and rigorously tested.


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