May I preface this post by stating that I feel all kinds of greedy putting this out there? But, people ask what you would like every year and it is so much easier to do your Christmas gift readying when you have an idea of what someone would like isn't it? So I decided to cultivate a little "Creative Christmas List" for the artsy craftsy sewy types of the world. This is uh.. tailored to my wants, but feel free to send your loved ones to view!
Art Supplies. The most obvious for me I think, but probably really hard for people to shop for, especially if the buyer isn't familiar with art supplies.
Watercolor paper comes in sheets, journals and "blocks". I love watercolor journals. Either by Moleskine or handmade. I have purchased two of these handmade journals from here and have loved them and filled them to the brim with sketches and paintings.
I also love watercolor sheets. My favorite is Fabriano Artistico Traditional White watercolor paper in cold press / 140 lb. Thats a whole lot of talk for a piece of paper, before I understood the lingo of art supplies I thought I was listening to another language.
Watercolor Blocks are pads of watercolor paper that are glued on all four edges instead of just the top edge. When they painting is complete, the top sheet is cut or gently peeled away. I assume this is to help the paper not stretch or move too much when painting but I have never used a block. Just never tried it out, prefer the portability and easy of a journal that I can flip to. If I am working on a painting I need to have loose, I go for the sheets of paper, which are large (22" x 30") and cut it to the size I need.
Paints are like everything else. You can buy a range of qualities. For many of lifes necessities I am happy to make do with the cheap stuff. Not when it comes to paint. The student grade as they are called have much less pigment and don't go as far. This may be a really great option for someone just starting out in watercolor as they are more like painting with a marker. The color you see is the color you get. The hues are usually synthetic and don't go as far. Artist quality paints are packed so full of pigment that the color that comes out of the tube usually looks nothing like the color you will get on the paper. You dilute watercolor paints with water, so you can achieve many different values of a color just by using more or less water.
Tubes or Pans? I highly prefer tubes. I did a lot of cost comparison before I invested in paints and tubes are so so sooo much more ecconomical. A half pan of Winsor Newton Alizarin Crimson runs you about $5. A 5 ml. tube of the same color and brand costs pretty much the same amount, but the tube will fill a half pan probably 4 times. Watercolor goes a long way and I have been able to fill my own palettes as well as those of friends from the same tube.
My favorite brands are Daniel Smith, Winsor & Newton, M Graham and select colors from Holbein. Holbeins quality isn't as up to snuff as the other brands, but they offer some colors that I haven't been able to achieve by mixing with other paints.
I am swooning (somewhat obsessively) over Dr. Ph Martins Radiant Watercolors. They are liquid watercolors that are juicy and bright. I haven't used them, but am kinda dying to. You can use them completely in place of other watercolors, but I want to use them in wet on wet painting. When you have wet paint on your paper, you can drop in color and have it bleed and swirl around wherever the wet is contained on your paper. These paints have a dropper in the lid and I think playing with them like this would be like watching creamer go into tea, but full of glorious color.
I have a lot of paintbrushes, but they are mostly small for fine detail work. I'm playing around with much more loose paintings and larger areas, and could use some good, plump brushes. I have my little heart set on owning a few of these.
If you have someone who is considering starting watercolor painting and isn't sure if they will love it or not.. Winsor Newton Cotman Sketchers set is perfect for starting out. The palette comes with the colors needed for learning basic mixing and when they graduate themselves to artist quality paints, the pans will pop out and the box can be refilled with tube colors. I have it and love it. The brush it comes with is actually the reason I bought the kit and is my favorite detail brush. Daniel Smith has it for about $16 right now which is a steal. Add a watercolor journal and a starting out book would be perfect. This is my favorite book for watercolor, but maybe do a little searching before buying it. I got it for $6 at our used book store, but it is in the hundreds on amazon. Maybe it is out of print?
I love getting a good book for Christmas. After all the hustle and bustle is over, curling up with a new book next to the Christmas tree is perfect.. I just finished Matched and would like the second and third. I have it on a completely not sly authority that the second is on its way, so the third book will needed soon.
Its probably safe to say that anyone who appreciated handmade things would love a gift certificate to etsy.
And friends? My life will not be the same without these earrings. I need them. They would be the crowning joy of my jewelry, they would be worn everyday a lot.
And then I think I would be quite happy picking out a new outfit from Ruche to accompany them, so a gift card there would go to a happy home too.