Ok, There’s only a couple of weeks before Christmas. How’s your shopping coming along? Check everyone off your list? No? Still have to buy for that creative someone in your life? Oh, You don’t know what to get them? Hmmmm… It’s the same every year, isn’t it? You want it to be a surprise. But, how do you surprise that artist who seems to have everything? Well, I’m here to help you finish your Christmas shopping by giving you some insight on what artists really want or at least what every artist can use, anytime of the year!
As artists, we tend to be very personal about choosing the materials we use. We know specifically what brand of paints and brushes we want and what paper, canvas, or substrate we want to paint on, and we usually buy these materials as we need them. This makes buying gifts at Christmas a challenge. Cheap Joe’s makes it easy to select the perfect gift for those who may otherwise be a bit finicky. Besides the obvious that all artist use, like paints, brushes, and painting surfaces, here are some gifts that any artist would appreciate in their stockings or perhaps under the tree!
1. Smock or Apron
This simple but useful gift will save a lot of fussing when you get a little too loose with your painting! I have embellished many a shirt or pants while painting and I now wear an apron or smock to help prevent unwanted artwork on my clothes! There are stylish black aprons, canvas ones, or clear plastic, as well as, artists’ smocks (messy paint not included!) that give you full coverage, no matter, your size. Note: Oil and acrylic paint is extremely difficult to remove from clothing, if at all. You might as well buy another shirt and use that one for a painting cloth. So, I would highly recommend this wonderful gift for the messy artist we all know is in us! As they say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Or in this case, it’s worth a closet full of painted clothing!
No matter the medium, there is an easel made for every situation. In the studio, or plein air, while standing or sitting; easels that convert to tables for the versatility for use with many mediums, ones that provide storage and extra surface space, big ones and small ones, and ones that fold down for travel, metal ones and wooden ones, and some even made by a Guerilla! Some artists have painted all their lives without one. However, they may have never known how much they really needed one. An easel makes it more comfortable to create and can even promote good health. It is something you won’t want to be without, once you get used to having it! There is an easel for that artist in your life and we can prove it!
3. Basic Drawing Tools
Ok, you say a pencil is a pencil, is a pencil, huh? Just ask any artist and you will find out that is not exactly true. Sketching pencils come in many lead types for example,9XXB, 9B, 8B, 7B, 6B, 5B, 4B, 3B (which is the standard Cheap Joe’s pencil), 2B (which is the standard found in most school pencils), B, HB, F, H, 2H, 3H, 4H, 5H, 6H, 7H, 8H, 9H. Using several of these will make it easier to create a complete value study for your paintings. The Cheap Joe’s Sketching set gives you the five most useful lead weights at an incredible savings! There are as many kinds of erasers as they are leads; white plastic erasers aka Cheap Joe’s White Eraser, Art Gum erasers, Tri-Tip erasers, MOO erasers, Kneaded erasers, the Wave erasers, pencil type erasers, and even cordless battery operated erasers. We need these to remove any unwanted marks we might have, aka: mistakes (just in case we happen to make any) ; or perhaps, we change our minds all together, (We do this more often than we would want to tell.) Many types of erasers are made to be especially effective for erasing on watercolor paper and delicate surfaces, so you don’t damage the substrate in the middle of a painting. (It’s difficult to imagine, but it does happen.)
Every good artist needs a suitable sketchbook, like the American Journey Sketchbook, to jot down ideas, work out value studies, scribble workshop notes, and sometimes just write your thoughts down. Add some color and Voila! You’re journaling and didn’t even know it! There are as many different choices for sketchbooks as there are of artists who need them. It was Vincent Van Gogh who said, “Sometimes there are sheets in a sketchbook, although they are more or less scribbles, nevertheless, have something to say.” And that’s all I have to say about that!
5. Good Lighting
Studio Lighting can be the most important of all of the tools as it can affect your painting experience in more ways than you can imagine. The best lighting is overhead natural Northern light. It gives you a bright but indirect light that forms no shadows and is easy on the eyes. However, this sacred source of light is hard to come by when you work indoors and many times we have very little control over where our natural light is derived. So we often need supplemental light, aka: artificial light, the Bulb. The right light and bulb will help you to see your painting surface clearly, colors are often corrected when compared to standard bulbs, they also simulate natural light, which helps with eye fatigue. Having great artificial lighting like Ott-Lite’s Rechargeable Compact Lamp gives you the advantage of good lighting no matter where you are painting, the weather conditions, or time of day (or night). You can paint where ever and when ever you want!
6. Hand Protection
No matter how careful we are, artists are still somewhat at risk when using any professional artist materials. It is necessary for us to be constantly aware of how we protect ourselves from our art stuff. Even with today’s advancements in the production of art materials, some paints and mediums still contain dangerous ingredients like Cadmiums and Cobalts that can be harmful if ingested or absorbed into our skin. Oil paints and Pastels may be the worst offenders as most artists will often use them without gloves or tools to apply and blend them when painting. Using a barrier cream like Gloves in a Bottle is an important health choice. It keeps the mediums from entering your body, keeps your hands from staining, and is just an all around good idea. It is also great for dry skin! Note: You should never eat or drink at your art work station to keep from ingesting art materials that may be transfered directly from your hands.
Oil, watercolor, acrylics, pastels, encaustics, and other mediums all require some sort of palette to store your paint as well as a place to mix your colors. And a palette can often be a personal choice, but I don’t know any artist that would not be thrilled to receive a new one. We like our old crusty, stained, and “broken in” palette so much that we may not always be on the lookout for something new. This means we may miss out on all the benefits of some of the unique and practical designs that are now offered like the Miller’s Workhorse cup palette. There are palettes made especially for every medium. All with their own benefits so check some of them out! Another great palette is not a palette at all, but The Palette Magazine! This the gift that keeps on giving all year long with instructional articles for all water media! For a limited time you also get a great Tips and Techniques DVD just for subscribing!
Transporting or storing your artwork can be a job in itself, especially, if you are working in larger sizes. Portfolios are helpful and keep the art from getting bent or damaged while you are transporting it. You can even use your portfolio to store your materials as well as using it as a presentation case to allow clients and galleries to see your work in person. There are several designs like Martin Universal’s Pissaro Portfolio which not only gives you room for paper, but all of your art stuff as well. It is like having a portable studio!
Keeping your studio workspace uncluttered is one of the most complicated tasks for any artist. As we begin to create, it usually becomes our last concern. Some artists are more organized than others. However, all of us could use great storage to keep everything in its place. It is a good idea for safety reasons, as well as, for cosmetic reasons. It also keeps you from over buying things you might have put away and couldn’t find. “Out of site, Out of mind!” (This happens to me all the time!) Practical storage should include clear plastic totes to allow you to see what you have, as artists are usually very visual people. We like to “see” our art stuff! My personal dream studio would definitely include the Joe’s Studio Taboret. This station gives you complete accessibility to everything you will need while you are painting including full sheets of watercolor paper. The choices for storage are not limited to just the studio as sometimes it is necessary to travel with our art stuff, like when we take a workshop. I recently purchased the Artbin Tote Express which, surprisingly, housed everything I needed for my most recent art workshop. Well, except my full sheets of watercolor paper, in which, I put in my portfolio (See stocking stuffer #8 for suggestions) for transporting it to the workshop. The paper went in as a painting surface and came home as a piece of artwork! Without getting even the first blemish! How about that!
10. Gift Card
Ok, for those of you who couldn’t decide on any of the previous choices, there is one gift that fits everyone in concern, The Cheap Joe’s Gift Card. Any amount is acceptable. Slip it in a pretty Christmas card, and place gently in the stocking. Or send it in the mail, the shipping costs are minimized to a first class stamp. Everyone artist loves to shop for art stuff! Your dilemma is over! No more malls, crowded stores, packed parking lots, just peace and quiet. Everyone is happy, especially us! Merry Christmas to you and me!
So as you make your list and check it twice, go ahead and buy for those you have no question about. Get that over with. Then, sit down with this list and a 2012 Holiday Sales Event flyer (Expires at the end of the year and includes the greatest prices of the year on all of the wonderful suggestions above, Plus you get FREE shipping on all orders over $150.00!), the current Cheap Joe’s catalog, or at our website (we are conveniently open 24 hrs a day for easy holiday shopping in your jammies!), and check out all of these great suggestions. I am sure you will find the perfect gift for that special artistic someone in your life who loves to paint, draw, or just doodle. Save yourself a lot of time and use that extra time to get a manicure, go to the gym, have your car washed, or clean out the garage. You know you never have time to do these things, well, now you do. No excuses!
Time is running out! And now, with all of this great information, you don’t have to wait until Christmas Eve to finish your shopping! Just consider us Santa’s Elves, here to help. If you do need additional information or assistance in placing your last minute Christmas order, just call our Friendly Christmas Elves, at Santa’s satellite workshop here at Cheap Joe’s at 800 227 2788, that’s 800 227 2788. Call Now!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us at Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff.
We look forward to serving you in the New Year!