Ten Luxury Christmas Gifts For Artists
Ten Luxury Art Gifts for the Artist in Your Life
That touch of luxury says it all. I'm a professional artist and I can vouch for the fact that artists just love those extra-special materials and tools that are just that little bit indulgent. Yes, you can use cheaper materials, and in many cases a large quantity of cheap material is best for students, but it is so nice to have a few totally luxurious items.
Wouldn't it be lovely to be presented with a really top-notch easel that's stable and actually works? As for sketch books: I still have my very nice, bound books from twenty years ago and cherish them even now. There's something so wonderful about having really beautiful tools and materials from time to time for that very special work of art.
As a little extra I've included three posters of my favourite paintings which would make great stocking stuffers.
This is a gift from one artist to another, from me to the artist in your life, because, as they say in another walk of life, "we're worth it!"
I run painting holidays at Les Trois Chenes, or 'The Three Oaks', in Limousin, S W France
Luxury Art Materials Won't Make a Rembrandt
But they make us feel just that little bit more like an old master!
Buy this poster for constant inspiration! It's always nice to have a goal and one of my goals as an artist it to be able to paint like Rembrandt. When I lived in London I would often call by the National Gallery to go and see the works in the flesh, so to speak. There's nothing to compare with first hand experience of the works, but to have a good quality poster of your favourite artists comes in a good second.
A Beautiful Sketchbook with Top Quality Paper - Should be an artist's constant companion
I've begun my selection of art materials and equipment with a sketchbook because I think that practice and observation is the key to success in art. An artist is always looking, seeing and thinking about the visual world. Ideas to be noted, colours, thoughts, observations. Details to be caught, light, dark, textures. The sketchbook becomes a collection of material to feed the artists work, but more than that, it becomes a diary and history of progress. A beautiful object and a wonderful gift.
A Solid Beech Studio Easle - A classic
My second must-have is a good, solid full-sized easel. Desk easels and sketching easels have their place but an artist that is really devoted and serious needs a flexible easel that stands on the floor and allows the painter to view the work at close quarters and at a distance.
I've chosen this one, because your easel will take pride of place in the studio and you'll have to look at it for many years - i've looked at mine and loved it for half a century - what better gift could you give than that?
When choosing an easel the qualities that I look for are stability, strength, enough weight to keep it on it's feet but not so heavy that I can't easily move it, (I'm a smallish woman). I also want to be able to paint very small works and large ones so it should be easy to adjust the height and the canvas should then be firmly supported. Art is enough of a struggle without fighting your easel.
Winsor & Newton Oil Paint With Jewel-like Colour - Choose the best!
The better quality the paint the more saturated and pure the colours. if you use very poor quality paint and mix red and blue you may well end up with plum or at worst brown, so it is worth investing in paint of a reasonable quality. I've chosen these Winsor and Newton paints because they are good paint, but better still they are luxuriously presented in a wooden box and include thinner, brushes, palette knife and canvas - all you kneed to just get going straight away.
for more guidance and ideas about oil painting materials, have a look here. Oil Painting for Beginners - Tools and Materials
Sennelier Soft Pastels are So Sensual - So luxurious they make me shiver!
One thing that I just adore in life is a really good soft pastel. I love the creamy texture, subtle colours and sensuous response. Senelier pastels are some of the very best commissioned by Degas, a master of pastel, and used by Czanne, Gauguin, Monet, Bonnard, Soutine, Picasso, Modigliani and Kandinsky amongst others.
This box contains every colour in your own imagination - a gift of pure luxury.
What Are Pastels? - Discover the rich history of the pastel
- What is Pastel
A description and history of soft pastels and oil pastels
The Very Best Paint Brushes - They come in all shapes and sizes
A good brush is an essential tool of the trade and the artist will need a range of brushes depending on the effect to be created, the medium used and the scale of the painting. These sable hair brushes are good for watercolours and small scale oils and acrylics, or for details or meticulous work. They should be looked after very carefully; cleaned thoroughly and smoothed to a nice, fine point before drying.
I love sable brushes, but good quality nylon ones are just as good. Hogs hair brushes are used for different purposes to the fine-tipped sables.
Professional Grade Artists Watercolours - See those colours sparkle
Just as with the oil and acrylic colours, watercolour must be of a high quality if bright, saturated and brilliant colours are to be produced. It's so disheartening for a painter to struggle with chalky colours that turn to various shades of mud, so it really is worth while splashing out on a great set of watercolour paints that an artist would probably not feel that they could treat themselves to. You'll see the quality of your gift reflected in their work.
Albrecht Durer Watercolor Pencils by Faber Castell - The name says it all!
Faber Castell is famous for the quality of its materials and Albrecht Durer is famous for his drawings and paintings. Just look at the rendition of a hare above.
What I love about watercolour pencils is that they form a bridge between painting and drawing. You can use them as normal coloured pencils, but you can also add water to achieve a watercolour effect. They are in their element, in my opinion, when used to draw as well as 'paint'. They are clean and easy to handle and ideal for travelling and sketching outside. For me, a really worthwhile addition to my stock of materials.
Winsor & Newton Stretched Canvas Stretchers for Oil and Acrylic Paintings
Always buy a strong cotton canvas and make sure that it's sized and primed with the correct products, (at least if you are hoping to hang them in an art gallery or hand them down to your children!). It's nice to have a little stock so that several paintings can be worked on at the same time. If you'd rather stretch your own though, I show you how in the link box below.
A Complete Painting Course in One Book - A completely essential tool!
Nothing beats a good textbook and this book is excellent. I is a structured course that the art student can work through. It is liberally illustrated with good examples of painting and it is choc-a-block with good information. I use this book myself when planning painting lessons and courses and I find it invaluable - a book, in fact, to have on the shelf for reference at all times.
Modesty does not prevent me from pointing out that some of my work has been used to illustrate this book and it's sister book, the Complete Drawing Course.
Did You Find Your Ideal Gift Here? - If not have look at these gift guides to artists' materials
- Best Christmas Gifts for Artists
Thinking of Christmas gifts for artists? Find some inspired art gifts for the artist in your life. Art materials or painting materials spring to mind but what about a painting holiday in France?
- Best Christmas Gifts for Painters and Artists Part 1
A whole range of art materials that would make perfect gifts for artists
- Best Christmas Gifts for Painters and Artists Part 2 - charcoal, conte and oil paint
This guide concentrates more on drawing materials
- Charcoal sticks
Buy charcoal sticks online
Where in the World Are We?
An Arty Link List - For your delectation
- How to choose a painting holiday in France
A few pointers
- Painting Limousin
You might be surprised to hear that Monet painted in Limousin
- Learn to Paint in France
More about our painting holidays here at Les Trois Chenes
- Contemporary Art in the Chateau of Rochechouart, South West France
The magnificent medieval chateau at Rochechouart, just ten minutes from Les Trois Chenes, is now an impressive centre for contemporary art
- How to stretch a canvas yourself
It's worth stretching a canvas yourself if you need an odd shape or large size and it isn't that difficult to do.
- Art Easels: What is your favorite easel for drawing and painting?
An introduction to easels
© 2011 Barbara Walton