As I watched with my mind's eye the old gardener painting his self-portrait, I saw a palette of mainly black, a few brushes and definitely a easel, an old and very used easel.
Pictures courtesy of craftsmanspace.com
So I scoured the net and finally found one that looked like it was real easy to make. Look at the plan. Study it carefully if you are planning a life size one or if you intend your artist doll to be able to fold the easel and store it after she's done. That version is the Sophisticated Easel.
First, cut the requisite pieces. Use all 3 tooth picks for the legs because they already naturally look like legs. Glue the pieces as in the picture above to form the frame.See that tiny bit at the left hand corner of the frame? Save that because you will need to glue it to the center base of the shortest side of the frame.
Here we are at Step 3 after all the pieces are glued. See that center bit for the last leg? It's glued to both the base of the short side and the last leg. It keeps the leg stable. Paint it or not, but leave the glue to dry strong before you start. Mine took 24 hours.
This is it, a no frills, easy easel if you need one for a gardener artist who builds everything he uses.