Christmas/ Chanukah gifts for artists part 3

November 28, 2012

Choosing a gift for the more experienced artist

Above: “Adoration of the Mago by William Blake

Is your friend passionate about drawing or painting? Would you like to buy them a gift that they will use and enjoy? If so then do read through this article for ideas and suggestions.

I have recently published two other articles that might interest you: One about gifts for the artist who likes to sketch, the other about gifts for the new artist. Just click on the highlighted text to open either of these in a new window.

For the painter (oil or acrylic paint):

Choosing either paint or paintbrushes for a friend can be a minefield, as artists tend to opt for their favourite brands and to feel most comfortable with these.

Here is one suggestion for the oil painter: A set of oil pigment sticks presented in a wooden box. These vibrant colours can be layered with normal oil paints, are very easy to transport and are perfect for experimentation. The picture below is of the R & F translucent set (click on the picture to find out more). There are other boxed sets as well as individual sticks available.

R & F 38ml Pigment Stick SET : Translucent Color Set (6 colors)

A very practical gift, in my opinion, are ready-stretched canvases. These are quality surfaces ready for painting. If you buy those with smart edges then they won’t necessarily need framing, thus saving the artist much time and money.

 If your friend routinely uses stretched canvases already, then try to find out whether they prefer the thinner type (about 1.5cm thick) or the thicker, “deep-frame” style (up to about 5cm thick). The deeper ones look smart in some exhibition settings and are usually more expensive. I personally prefer the thinner type as they are easier to store at home, and they will fit into a picture frame if I decide in the end that my image looks better framed. A selection of sizes is a good idea. Small ones are very versatile. If you friend has enough storage space, consider getting a canvas that is larger than they usually work. It may inspire them to create something different and special and they’ll remember you when they use it.

Click on the pictures below to view further details of products at the Jacksons website.

Daler-Rowney are one good choice for standard stretched canvases:

Daler Stretched Canvas : 100x120cm artists quality - medium grain

For meticulously-detailed painting, it is better to choose a fine-grain canvas such as those made by Bella Arti:

Professional Stretched Canvas from Belle Arti Linen (62/574) Universal Primed Fine Grain Texture 40X50cm

A luxurious choice for those who want a very chunky look would be Bella Arti fine-grain deep canvases:

Gallery Cotton (32/569) Stretched Canvas by Belle Arti 43mm deep profile 50x60CM

For the pastel artist

Pastels are bought as sticks of colour, some ranges containing hundreds of different colours. It is always a delight to receive a few more pastels as gifts. Consider choosing a selection of your own favourite colours. Even the brightest pink or zingiest turquoise will get used, and these colours will remind your friend of you.

Unison is a well-loved range of handmade, vibrantly-coloured pastels. The clickable image below shows a limited selection of their colours in a presentation box. It is also possible to buy individual sticks from their extensive range:

Unison Soft Pastels : Set of 72 for Starters in a black presentation box

For the artist who has already built up their own extensive collection of pastel sticks, consider buying a special box for storage. One of the most beautiul pastel boxes is made by Schminke and is available in different sizes. They will of course fit Schminke pastels and  most others. Please note- Unison pastels are particularly chunky and might not fit this box comfortably.

Schmincke Pastels - Wooden Box Empty 100

Colours for work and play

If you artistic friend likes to experiment a bit, then they’d enjoy the following products:

Neocolour sticks

These are very grown-up crayons that can be dipped in water and then swept across the page to make a lovely flowing line. They are great for sketching and life drawing but can also be used for more careful finished work, especially when combined with other materials such as acrylic paints or inks. They are available as individual sticks (126 colours are available)or as boxed sets:

Caran Dache NEOCOLOR II : Artists Watercolour Crayons : 40 in a Metal Box

Inktense sticks

These are another type of fabulous water-soluble crayon for drawing and painting, design and decoration. They come in wonderfully vibrant colours and are extremely portable.  Click on the picture below for more information:
Derwent Inktense BLOCKS (24) TIN



Sketchbooks, pens and pencils make ideal gifts as discussed in my previous article. To open that up in a new window, click here.

You may also consider natural bamboo pens that are cheap and characterful:

Chinese Painting : Bamboo Pen : Set of 3

These work well with FW acrylic inks, which are very lightfast and come in a mouth-watering range of colours. My personal favourites from this range are Red Earth and Indigo:

Daler FW Ink : 29.5ml RED EARTH
Daler FW Ink : 29.5ml INDIGO

The FW ink range includes far brighter colours than these. They also have a range of pearlescent colours that are fun to use for decorative work:

Daler FW Liquid Acrylic Ink:29.5mlxSET OF 6 Shimering Colours

Storage and portfolios

For the artist who travels to drawing groups, life painting sessions and so on, bags are extremely useful. The one shown below (click on it to find out more) is highly recommended. It has space for an A3 pad, a removable pouch for paints, a ground sheet and pockets for other bits and pieces:

Mapac : Sketch Bag : Fits A3 Pad : 45x35x10cm

What do you buy for the artist who already has everything?  If they are producing a reasonable amount of work then portfolios are an excellent idea for storage and display. A luxury choice would be the Mapac Premier (more expensive but more sturdy and professional-looking than others in the Mapac range). Click on the image below for futher information:

Mapac : A2 Premier BLACK Portfolio strong ring mechanism : double thickness handle : shoulder strap

 Gift vouchers

In the end, your friend may well know best what they want, whether that be tubes of colour from their favourite range,  colours for whichever piece they are about to work on or a stretched canvas of the right dimensions for their next piece of work. Select a voucher for either their local art shop or, if they shop online, for a reliable art products website with an extensive range. The £50 Jacksons voucher, below,  comes with a free brush and brush case (lower denomination vouchers are also available at the same website):
£50 Jacksons gift voucher - with Brush & Case



Other ideas

How about lighting? I love working under a “Daylight” lamp indoors, as it illuminates my work without a colour bias. Looking at their current range, I see that the Daylight company now produce portable lamps, mains or battery-operated ones, and easel clip-on lamps.

For the still life artist who has a bit of storage space, a selection of contrasting plain and patterned fabrics to use as back-drops could be welcome. What type of objects do they like to paint? Perhaps you could find a vase of a wonderful colour, a piece of handmade glassware or a characterful figurine and give it the opportunity to feature in a still life painting.

If all else fails, I recommend that you buy chocolates. The “Couture” boxes from William Curley contain exquisite chocolates and are a perfect shape for storing oil pastels!

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