Grand Slam for Christmas

Want to share my completed painting of delicious Rainier cherries grown here in Washington state.  

The easel modifications were done by my brother, Beecher, the engineering whiz man. The backstory: whilst watching YouTube series on Kit Williams, English artist and author, I was intrigued by the vertical mahl stick support. KW is a magical painter. If you’re not familiar with his work check it out. In for a treat. Guaranteed.

I first ran across him in 1979/80 as author of Masquerade, an elaborately illustrated coded guide to buried treasure. After a few days of pondering modifications to my own easel,  I accessed his website and filled in a request for information form —  to confirm early thoughts on construction, please and thank you and, frankly,  a bit of genuine fan girl gush. In a day or so I received a gracious and helpful message. I suspect that I wasn’t the first and nor will be the last to make enquiries. 

The vertical mahl does make an enormous difference. I present the brush more accurately. Steadier too, as the pressure of my hand instantly stabilizes the stick, top and bottom,  which is proud of the surface. The optimum depth of any ground I work on is 1.5″. More range of motion. Controlled. I’m closer to the surface. It’s a pleasant miracle. Beech made several vertical mahl sticks of varying lengths to accommodate various sized grounds. Their flat surface is essential.  Yesterday,  I even adapted my original — homemade — traditional mahl stick to span a larger grounds up to 32″. I think I’m going to ask Beech to make an additional stick. The flat surface is so much more comfortable than the round dowel.   

Drying now and in a week or so I’ll varnish. A grand slam for Christmas.

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