It’s Friday and that means, yes, it’s time to put the ONE question to one of our Advisory Board members. Today we have Sally Strand up to share her answer. Teaser – it’s all about the Strada Easel Box!

The question?

Do you have a favourite pastel hack – a clever trick or shortcut that you’ve introduced into your process?

Sally had this to say:

I’ve been using the Strada Easel Box. When I travel, I like to have the option to switch mediums so I can paint with both pastels and oils. And so I created my two-in-one box from the Strada Easel Box. 

I made a removable insert box using gatorboard and gorilla glue. I used electrical tape to make the pull tabs and used pieces of foam to hold the pastels in place.”

Here’s what she did:


Strada Easel Box - Gatorboard with tape
Gatorboard with tape.

“First, I measured the inside floor of my Strada Easel box and then cut a thin piece of stiff gator board (not foam board) to fit. I cut a small hole in the board to fit around the round tab in the Strada. Measuring the sides of the box, I cut strips of gator board slightly narrower than the sides of the Strada box to accommodate a “gator board lid” that would fit on the top. I wanted to make sure the Strada lid would close unencumbered. I used Gorilla glue to attach the side strips to the floor of the insert to create the box.


Strada Easel Box - This shows the tabs for easy removal
This shows the tabs for easy removal.

Using black electrical tape (it was all I had and I didn’t have time to go shopping) to create makeshift pull-tabs. These tabs allow me to simply pull the insert box out of the Strada Box when it is filled with pastel sticks.


Strada Easel Box - The foam attached to the gatorboard
The foam attached to the gatorboard.

I cut a random piece of discarded memory foam that I found at an upholstery store to fit inside the insert box. This cushions the pastels. I cut a gator board “lid” to cover the pastels when I lift it out, setting it aside to use the Strada for oil painting. The insert box is held together with large rubber bands around the middle when not in use.


Strada Easel Box - The box with the space for oil painting paraphenalia
The box with the space for oil painting paraphernalia.


Strada Easel Box - And here's the tray with pastels!
And here’s the tray with pastels!


Here, the insert box is filled with my Girault pastels. To travel, I take an additional cardboard box with more pastels. It sits on a side shelf attached to the Strada.”


You can see how Sally created an insert for the box to divide the two mediums. The insert has tabs that make it easily removable to access the oil painting accessories below.

And here’s a photo of Sally using the Strada Easel Box on location.


Sally Strand on location with her converted Strada Easel Box
Sally Strand on location with her converted Strada Easel Box. “This is a light-weight and functional system that I use primarily when teaching internationally and want to have access to both pastels and oil paints. Here I am painting in France!”


Thanks, Sally! This is a brilliant hack



It’s National Bathtub Day!!


Okay, fess up. Did you know there was an actual Day to celebrate Bathtubs?! Cool.

For you bathtub bathing lovers out there, this is for you! Enjoy this marvellous pastel painting by Sandra Burshell. (I featured the painting as one of my IAPS exhibition picks.) 


Sandra Burshell, "The Tub," pastel on sanded pastel paper, 18 x 20 in.
Sandra Burshell, “The Tub,” pastel on sanded pastel paper, 18 x 20 in.


Sandra writes, “My creative model, along with inspiration from the bathing scenes of Edgar Degas, coalesced to portray an image of timeless respite from the day’s pressures. The coolness was balanced by the warmth in terms of atmosphere and colour and the lack of detail encouraged one to connect with the mood. The back view and unusual angle created a sense of just passing by this individual chilling in her own world. It offers a way for viewers to unwind vicariously! This pose came from one of my New Orleans Drawing Group sessions in which I had previously arranged the setup with one of my models.” 

Thanks Sandra!

AND, today also happens to be Rosalba Carriera’s birthday. If you missed it, go check out an earlier post I did about her work.

And that’s it for this time!


PS. No, wait. One more thing. Sandra Burshell couldn’t resist including Picasso’s well-known quote and I couldn’t resist it either!

The purpose of art is to washing the dust of daily life off our souls.


    • Thanks Diane! I really do appreciate you taking the time to leave such an enthusiastic comment 😁


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