Sleek, compact, and lightweight, the STRADA MICRO easel is the newest addition to the popular STRADA line of beautiful, functional, aluminum pochade boxes.

In business, I’m a big believer in hitching your wagon to a star, and the owner of STRADA has done just that. A talented artist and smart marketer, Bryan Mark Taylor has designed his STRADA website to resemble Apple’s. Just as eager cell phone, and computer users await the next best release of an Apple product, a visit to the STRADA website leaves any outdoor painter adding a new STRADA easel to the top of his or her wish list. In fact, due to it’s immediate need and popularity, the STRADA MICRO easel completely sold out of its first run. Luckily, Bryan Mark Taylor the maker of STRADA, saved one for me!

The STRADA MICRO truly is the new cool kid on the block! 

Strada Easels

A STRADA MINI user for nearly 2 years, I was excited to receive my new STRADA MICRO just in time to test it out during my painting trip to Venice, Italy. Suitably named, ‘strada’ is the Italian word meaning path, street or roadway. How apropos, for in Venice I would be backpacking my gear, walking the roadways, and painting each day.

Perfect for overseas travel or around town, the MICRO is especially great for any paintin’ girl on the go! With its minimal, sleek design, the STRADA MICRO easily slides into a backpack or designer bag, and looks chic too!

Strada Micro easel

No more excuses! The new STRADA MICRO is not much wider than my iPhone 6plus, and it neatly fits into my designer bag.

Specs

The MICRO is a little pochade box with a BIG attitude. Only 7″ x 7″ in size, the MICRO weighs in at only 1lbs 8 oz, but holds canvas panels up to 11″ high with an unlimited panel width. It will accommodate a 1/16″, 1/8″, 1/4″ canvas panel.

Like its big brother and sister, the standard STRADA EASEL and the STRADA MINI, the ‘baby’ MICRO easel simply attaches to any tripod with a quick release plate. The ingenious design makes for easy set up and use. There are no exterior knobs or hinges to adjust, just slide the MICRO from your bag, pop it on the tripod, flip open the lid, slide in a panel and you’re ready to paint! Breakdown is just as easy.

STRADA Micro side trays

The STRADA MICRO set up with side trays was perfect for my demo at Barnes and Noble. (Check out my book, Fine Art Tips with Lori McNee on Amazon)

Improved Design and some more thoughts

As awesome as the STRADA design is, no brand of easel or pochade box is perfect. With the MICRO, I am happy to report that STRADA has worked out some of the minor bugs that were previously found in the larger models – plus, STRADA has also upgraded all their second generation boxes.

  • The MICRO’s optional trays now nest and store inside the easel. With my older MINI, the trays are too large to fit inside the box when closed. This was one of my suggestions (and from other artists), and I’m happy to see that STRADA made this design improvement.
  • In my opinion, these optional side trays are a must as they add extra mixing space, and a handy place to keep extra brushes and tubes of paint. However, they do add a considerable amount of weight, especially when backpacking all day. But, what if STRADA were to punch holes in the trays? That would lighten the load.

    Nocturne Venice Door

    For quick set up, I left the optional trays in the box. It was especially helpful when painting a nocturne.

  • With the MICRO, I set up my paints in the removable tray (lined with plexiglass) to the left. That way, I can easily stack the trays inside the box with minimal clean up.

 

No matter what the brand, any pochade box which mounts to the top of a tripod is prone to some wobble. A few artists have complained about minor wiggle when using the larger STRADA easels.

  • I have found this can be minimized or even avoided by using a sturdy tripod with a heavy load capacity for maximum stability. Here’s a helpful post about choosing a tripod.
  • The easy open hinges of the MICRO easel are even tighter and more positive. For me, I didn’t notice any wiggle/wobble when I put brush to panel.
  • Also, it’s important to keep your tripod properly maintained by tightening all the nuts and bolts, and tighten the quick release plate each time you use the easel.
Venice Fish Market by Lori McNee

My first plein air painting in Venice! A great time at the Fish Market.

For this trip, my goal was to pack as light as possible. Of course I brought my Cobra solvent free oil paints, and I brought a variety of 1/32″ linen panels by MultiMediaArtBoard.com ranging from 6×8 to 9×12 inches. Canson also sent me some of their new Plein Air Canva Art Boards to try. They worked great! The MICRO had no trouble holding these panels securely.

Lori McNee painting in VencieThe STRADA MICRO was the perfect choice for navigating and painting the busy streets of Venice. I was able to tuck myself aside the flow of traffic. The onlookers enjoyed watching us paint, but they were in awe of my STRADA (they loved the name and the design). I could have sold a bunch of them right there in the street!

The STRADA MICRO is a little pochade box with a big attitude. It truly is the new cool kid on the block! Having a trustworthy easel made this painting trip especially enjoyable.

Still have questions about STRADA Easels? If you need more in depth information, please check out the wonderful review by Thomas Kitts. 

You can purchase a STRADA of your choice here. Be sure to tell them Lori sent ya!