The Best Plein Air Umbrellas for Artists

Plein air umbrellas are on the list of “what to pack” for many outdoor painters. They offer shade for both yourself and for your canvas or paper, blocking the glare of the sun from skin and substrates.

So what are the best plein air umbrellas for artists? We asked, and you answered! Here’s what artists from the Plein Air community had to share, including some helpful photos of their painting setups.

P.S.
Be sure to use the comments section below to tell us what you use when painting outdoors!

Crowd Favorites: Plein Air Umbrellas for Artists

plein air umbrellas for artists
Easy L.; photo by Julia Norton Stevens

Easy L.; It’s super easy to use, provides enough shade for me and my easel, slips into a nylon sack with shoulder straps so it’s easy to carry/transport. This is my second one, and I would buy it again if I need to.” ~Julia Norton Stevens

Best Brella; photo by Martha Faires Art Fair
Best Brella; photo by Martha Faires Art Fair

Best Brella – It’s lightweight, easy to attach in many angles, and sturdy.” ~ Martha Faires Art Fair

Shade Buddy that stakes into the ground…the wind won’t take your easel with the umbrella. Plus you can move the umbrella around without having to move your easel when the sun moves.” ~Laurie Bonn

Wondershade; photo by Lori Yates
Wondershade; photo by Lori Yates

“I love my freestanding Wondershade umbrella, with its large canopy and tripod base, it can handle the wind. It comes with accessories like hanging hooks and cup holders.” ~Lori Yates

Best Brella. And they offer reasonably priced replacement parts! ~ Lewis Williams

Guerrilla Painter Soft-Clamp Deluxe Vented Silver Umbrella; photo by Jacq Baldini
Guerrilla Painter Soft-Clamp Deluxe Vented Silver Umbrella; photo by Jacq Baldini

Guerrilla Painter Soft-Clamp Deluxe Vented Silver Umbrella – it’s compact, easy to pack for travel (collapsible). I was sent one of the prototypes when it was first created. Then sent an updated one, I still have both. I used one of them for the Worldwide Paint Out. The photo is St Lucia; the umbrella has travelled a lot with me. Just picture walking through an airport now with an umbrella that doesn’t fit in your suitcase.” ~Jacq Baldini

Ultimate Wondershade Umbrella; photo by Debbie Underberg Mueller
Ultimate Wondershade Umbrella; photo by Debbie Underberg Mueller

“I have a BestBrella that I love, but they are no longer selling the full item (only some replacement parts – they have stopped manufacturing the clamp mechanism which is superb). It is difficult to use it in windy conditions.
I bought an Ultimate Wondershade Umbrella off Amazon a few years ago and I love it. Its canopy is huge- it can cover me and my easel in the rain, and the stakes anchoring the metal base hold beautifully in windy conditions. Only issue is it’s a little heavy- would not bring it on a long hike.” ~Debbie Underberg Mueller

The Shade Buddy by Guerrilla Painter; photo by Jean Frey
The Shade Buddy by Guerrilla Painter; photo by Jean Frey

“The Shade Buddy by Guerrilla Painter” ~Jean Frey

“I love [the Ultimate Wondershade Umbrella] for close to home plein air outings. It’s a little bulky to hike with!” ~Ellen Sinclair

Art Essentials EasyL Umbrella; photo by Jacquelyn Reid
Art Essentials EasyL Umbrella; photo by Jacquelyn Reid

“Love my Art Essentials EasyL Umbrella lightweight easy setup; it extends up and down and rotates in any position for best coverage on your palette and canvas. Black interior to reduce glare and silver exterior to reflect away light and heat and vented to reduce wind drag toppling your set up. The umbrella slides into the extension tubes and a bungee attaches to keep the umbrella from flying away another safety feature to reduce toppling in the wind. Comes with a bag with shoulder strap for easy carry. I’m very impressed with the features on this umbrella and did a lot of research before I purchased it.” ~Jacquelyn Reid

The freestanding Shade Buddy by Guerilla Painter; photo by Johanne Mangi
The freestanding Shade Buddy by Guerilla Painter; photo by Johanne Mangi

“I love BestBrella and also my umbrella that attaches to my easel – the Julian White umbrella.” ~Johanne Mangi

Shade Buddy by Guerilla Painter; photo by Bonnie McGown Torres
Shade Buddy by Guerilla Painter; photo by Bonnie McGown Torres

Shade Buddy from Guerrilla Painter! I tried many and this one is the best. Lots of coverage, can be securely placed and held up after being caught by a gust of wind and dunked in a pond or rolled down an open field!” ~Bonnie McGown Torres

Tallbrella from EasyGo Products; photo courtesy Katy Smith
Tallbrella from EasyGo Products; photo courtesy Katy Smith

“I am really liking my Tallbrella from EasyGo Products. It stakes or screws into the ground. When I have tried the kind that attach to the easel, I had to keep a hand on my easel at all times if it was breezy.” ~Katy Smith

Just for fun!

Photo: Katherine Farrell
Photo: Katherine Farrell

“My favorite umbrella is a wide brimmed hat!” ~Katherine Farrell

What plein air umbrella setup do you use? Share it with us in the comments below!


 

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6 COMMENTS

  1. I have an Easy L umbrella and a Shade Buddy. The frustrating thing for me with all umbrellas that are black inside and opaque is that light cannot get through them to light the canvas at all! When I’m looking at the landscape, my pupils close down, and then when I try to see my painting, it’s too dark under the umbrella! Manufacturers, please make a white umbrella that partially shades the painting, letting some light through! Offer both a white and a black umbrella, PLEASE!

  2. I live in the Rocky Mountains in Montana, so I have 3 umbrellas that I use. If I am hiking somewhere, or if the wind is light, I use my Easyl. However, I put extra bungees to keep it attached in case of a wind gust. If I am working on soft ground, I prefer the Shade Buddy. However, as the dry summer and fall progress, I find that I cannot press into the ground! Or, there may be too many rocks. In those cases, I use my Wondershade umbrella which is really my favorite. And, anytime that I am painting on pavement, I grab the Wondershade.

  3. Absolutely in love with my Best Brella, but as mentioned in the story, they are no longer being made. The thing I like about it is they have a white/filtered version, which works much better for my eyes. It also provides a lot of shade and will fit in my suitcase. I’m looking for sources to make something similar.

  4. I recently purchased a Guerilla umbrella, silver over black. I particularly like the clamp. It has eight optional access holes for the screw base. I chose to pair it with a heavy duty professional camera tripod. The umbrella clamp can fasten to the tripod to keep it from blowing over. My painting easel is an Art Essentials which is very lightweight. Both accessories function well in their own respect.

  5. Both my wife and I use the TallBrella from Easygo. I’ve found that as long as your canvas and palette are in the same light, it isn’t a problem seeing different color from subject to painting. However, I can never leave things as they are and manufactured brackets to be able to attach the umbrella to our tripod necks. That way you have a two point connection to the earth when you need it. Many times the ground, at least in our area has lots of rocks or you are on cement which makes mounting the umbrella to the ground impossible.. if it’s windy, I just don’t use an umbrella.

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