My favorite shop for arts supplies is the one that I can get the best deal at. I live within 8-10 blocks of a Michaels, JoAnns, and an Utrecht art supply, and I always go armed with coupons. I love that most of these stores have apps and I can access them from my phone, because too often I run out the door without the paper coupon.
My community has a really neat, unique resource here in town, called the “I.D.E.A. Store.” It’s essentially a resale shop….for gently used art and craft supplies and all kinds of assorted donated odds and ends intended for recycling and reuse. It’s a mixed bag every time I go in there — never quite know what you are going to find….but I’ve purchased (at crazy low prices) tubes of paint and jars of gesso and mod podge with plenty of product still in them, paint brushes, brayers, art books, stamps,maps and sheet music for mixed media projects, yarn, frames, and more. Staffed by volunteers, all proceeds benefit a local school districts. So indeed — pretty cool, and something every community should have!
I always love to dreamily float through Michaels Stores (Arts and Crafts Supply) for inspiration and quick fixes. Since it’s in so many states, I can even pick up emergency supplies (yes, an art emergency!) when I’m traveling to and from art shows. For items they don’t stock, I buy from various online sites for items such as my favorite clay for making Skellies and stretcher bars for limited edition canvases of my Big Eye Beauties!
The one thing I can’t do without is my shoplight and OttLite. I have a day job and often paint at night. My vision is very poor in the evening and I could not paint without a good light. I have 1000 watt halogen shoplight for the room. I use an OttLite for my small paintings. The OttLite can be very expensive, I bought mine on sale at Christmas and glad I did.
My can’t live without art supply is sterling silver. I could use brass or copper but silver is much nicer to work with than those other metals, and not just because of its colour. It’s smoother to saw through, the solder joints aren’t as obvious and you can do things with it you can’t do with brass or copper, like depletion guild it.
This is a tough question. I am a simple painter. I use paint, water, brushes, palette knives, gesso and canvas. I can not live without any one of those supplies. I really have no tricks or secrets to offer. I can tell you that my most replaced supply would be script liner brushes and detail round brushes of various sizes.
My most important art supply are “Oval Poly Sponges” They are synthetic and blend all my background colors better than any brush I have ever used. They are resistant to chemicals and grease and hold only water so they are ideal for acrylic application. I also use one for finishing my paintings with protective varnish because they make an even application. The cleanup is easy, just rinse and squeeze with warm water.
Well, I think every new art supply I get is one I can’t do without. I’ll pass up new shoes or clothes for new little art goodies. But if a non-artist came to my studio they would think I had a colored pencil fetish. That’s the basis of two thirds of my artwork over the last couple of years, and the one I would hate to do without.
I’m still in holiday mode and will be till my daughter returns to school in January. But the blogging (and creating) must go on! One of the things I look forward to most is the post-holiday shopping for art supplies. I always get a few gift cards to my local arts and crafts store. Here’s a snapshot of this year’s post-holiday art supplies. The magazine was actually a gift from my Christmas stocking but the rest I bought. Strathmore Windpower Series is my favorite watercolor paper. I’ve tried a few other brands and always go back to Windpower. The brush is a watercolor mop made by Cotman. This brush has been on my “buy list” for months but they aren’t cheap. Thankfully, I had a 50% off coupon begging to be used. The last little nugget is a tube of Winsor & Newton Artists’ Watercolor – Indigo. Good watercolor isn’t cheap either, so I often buy one tube at a time when I have limited funds.
Now it’s your turn. I want to know what art supplies you received or bought this holiday/post-holiday season. Is there something you like to stock up on during the sales? What was your favorite artsy gift this year?