Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Five Great Gift Ideas for the Artist in Your Life...

Courtesy of dickblick.com

There I stood at my goodbye party as I stepped away from corporate America and ascended into running my own business as a fine artist.  My coworkers were kind enough to get me a going away gift of a Michaels gift card and a tube of blue oil paint, the same royal blue as the Volkswagen logo, where I worked in the Product Planning department for several years.  I sat there and thought to myself, "Hm, a new color!  I've never used this one before." I was hesitant to use it at first as it was out of my palette, until one day I struggled with the right color for a bright daytime sky.  Now I can't even imagine painting without this blue in my palette, it's gorgeous!  What a thoughtful, lovely gift I received on multiple levels, which brings me to my blog about five great gift ideas for the artist in your life, specifically an oil painter (since that's what I know best!)   So here they are, in random order...

1. A Unique Color of Paint

Given that I started my story about getting a unique color of paint, I have to push this gift idea.  Make sure to know the artists medium (aka, acrylic, oil, watercolor, etc.), and don't worry too much about getting the best brand.  Just get whatever color strikes you best in your budget.  You'd be surprised, many artists remember how they acquired a unique tube of paint, and attach fond memories to them.  And don't be afraid to go wild, either!  Neon green, sure, why not?!  It'll be fun to see it applied when they find the perfect subject matter, and I bet they'll not only remember your gift but certainly thank you for it years later!

Courtesy of dickblick.com

2.  A Funky Sized Canvas

For those of you who don't know, I love painting very large and very small.  How small?  Think the size of a credit card!  And if it weren't for the fact that I just so happened to pick up a few small canvases at Michaels on a whim, I wouldn't have realized that painting so small could turn into such a big passion.  When it comes to the artist in your life, check out their work and study what size they create most often.  Is it medium sized pieces of standard sizes (11"x14", 18"x24"), smaller pieces, larger ones?  Go out and buy the opposite!  They will be befuddled for certain as to what to do with it, but you will stretch their muscles and they'll love you for it.

Feeling like your artist friend paints every size?  Go for a funky shape.  Think square, extreme landscape (ex., 12"x36"), just make sure it has four corners for easy framing!  And if that's still not a viable solution, go for something really wild, like getting board instead of canvas!  It's such a fun gift idea and remember, artists are creative, they love to expand their breadth and depth and a funky canvas is the perfect challenge!

Courtesy of dickblick.com

3.  A Different Shaped Brush

Again, if your artist is like a lot of artists, they'll go through brushes quickly.  And usually once an artist finds their stride, they won't deviate from it much, which includes the brushes they select.  If you're stumped on an idea, walk down the aisle of your local arts and crafts store, and pick out the craziest looking brush you can find.  I recommend some type of fan shape (see above) or the kind that looks like a big oval, you know, the old school makeup brush type.  Two very unique brushes that have a TON of applications.  Again, you can go expensive or cheap on this, whatever's in price range!

Courtesy of dickblick.com

4. Artist's Apron

Art is messy...like, really, really messy sometimes. Many artists just relegate certain outfits to becoming painting only outfits, but that said, sometimes an artist doesn't have the luxury of wearing old sweats, especially if they are doing a demo or teaching a class.  Enter an artist's apron.  They come in universal sizes for the most part and a wide price range, and are certain to be used...you really can never have enough aprons to protect your outfits, especially since they usually end up covered in paint, get stiff, and need to be tossed eventually anyway.  If you're feeling generous, get a smock!  A smock with sleeves is also an awesome gift, especially in the Fall and Winter.  You can find aprons at your local arts and crafts store or online!



5. Art Cases and Bags

Sounds random, but if you want a fool proof gift, go for an art case or bag.  Artists make paintings to display them, which means transporting them.  Art cases and bags help to protect art and I really cannot emphasize this enough, you can't have too many.  Seriously.  These things are the equivalent of hair ties for women...always a need for them, always scrambling to find one.  Just be sure to figure out what size your artist works with a lot, as a teeny tiny bag may be useless if they only paint large.  And also keep in mind frame sizes.  An artist who works in 24"x36" often but then frames large will typically need something more along the lines of a 30"x42" bag to accommodate the frame and artwork.  Find art bags online, I recommend Dick Blick: http://www.dickblick.com/products/star-products-biyomap-art-protection-cases/#photos

So there you have it, five great, fool proof ideas for the artist in your life.  Have you ever gotten your favorite artist a successful gift?  What was it?!  I'd love to hear it!

Monday, May 11, 2015


This past week I breathed a sigh of relief as I finished up a couple of projects, including touching up the nursery mural I was working on as well as delivering a painting and a commission I had recently finished.  Unfortunately, I can't share the commission since it's a surprise wedding gift, but I took videos of the finished product of the mural as well as a cool light show of the painting I delivered.

I'm so glad I got a chance to see the nursery fully decorated when I came to do the touch up...the decor she chose looks INCREDIBLE!  The wired light fixture casts a shadow on the wall that looks like the tree has extended to the wall where the cribs are located, and the rug and bedding makes the room so nice and cozy.  Totally a dream nursery!  When watching, I highly recommend muting the video, baby girl Hannon joined me for the touching up and during the filming decided she was ready to GO.  Ha!

The video below is of a recent painting I created called "Waiting in the Wings."  When I delivered it, we shot a really cool video of what you can do with paintings when you change the lighting on it.  This is an LED light that changes color via remote control shining directly on the painting.  Since the original painting was mostly white, it reflects the changing colors really well.  Apologies for the slight shakiness, I'm still practicing my video skills!

Hope you are having a great Monday!!!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Vale Show!

Happy Monday!  It was a busy couple of weeks with the ValeArts Spring Show last weekend!  I had a really great time at the show and got a chance to meet a lot of people who came through the door looking for great art.  

The group is incredible at maximizing the space available at the Vale Schoolhouse, with art on walls, flats, bins, and tables.  Above you can see a new palette knife piece I recently finished of a ballerina hanging on the wall while a woman looks at bin pieces available by artist Jenna Klimchak.  The artists place pieces throughout the room to keep it interesting.

Above is the artists' table, where members of the group put out information about themselves as well as portfolios of their work and small original pieces available.

The reproduction room greets you as you enter the schoolhouse.  On the walls are original works of art and on the tables are reproductions in the form of prints and note cards.

Overall it was a wonderful show and while it's a whirlwind weekend from set up to break down, it was really wonderful!