Merion Art Blog
All this month, we’re having a blowout sale on all of our Princeton brushes and brush sets. Princeton Brush Company makes something for every painter, from soft watercolor mops to silicone catalyst wedges great for shaping heavy body gels. Here are some ideas for how to take advantage of this incredible deal and make the most of your brushes.
Paint A Picture Using Only One Brush
This is the best way to get to know the limitations and special properties of any brush. Instead of switching brushes constantly depending on which area you’re trying to paint, paint an entire picture using just the one. You’ll begin to get a deep sense of what that brush is good for, and what it’s not as good for. You’ll also find out a lot about your own skills and proclivities- have you been using a specific brush to get out of painting things you’re worried about? Have you been leaning on one brush so much that your brushwork is getting stale? Doing artistic exercises like this are just like switching up your training at the gym- use one brush and exercise some underused artistic muscles.
Try A Brush Shape You’ve Never Tried Before
Cat’s tongue? Grainer? Deerfoot? Spotter? Liner? Fan? This is not just a string of nonsense: all of these are less commonly used brush shapes. If any of these sound made up to you, its time to try them out! Cat’s tongue brushes are used in watercolor for precision tapered shapes, grainers make a series of repetitive thin lines, great for hair and fur. Deerfoot brushes help with stippling effects. Spotters and liners are perfect for fine details, and fan brushes are a favorite for landscapes where foliage needs to be added in a hurry. One of these brushes could be just what you need for that tricky effect you’ve been trying to achieve! Check out Princeton’s “What does that brush do?” page for more specialty brush ideas.
Buy A Set And Flesh Out Your Collection
It’s always nice to have the right tool for the job, and if your brush collection is just a couple of rounds and a couple of flats, now is a great time to expand your toolkit. Princeton’s RealValue brush sets are a great way to flesh out your collection. There are a variety of sets, long handle and short handle, from camel hair watercolor sets to assortments of bristle brushes for oil. These sets are also a great way to supply a new painter with all the tools they need to get started, or to supply an artist who is switching mediums with a set of brushes for the new paint (using the same brushes for oil and acrylic isn’t a good idea).
Try a Princeton Catalyst Product
Princeton’s Catalyst wedges and blades are silicone tools halfway between a brush and a palette knife. Blades are like brushes, with a wooden handle and a flexible silicone top, and wedges are hand held tools that allow for close range, large scale paint manipulation. They can be used to move paint around, add texture, sculpt clay, and even frost cakes! They are especially good for large scale works and heavy body paints. They are heat resistant so they work well with encaustics, solvent resistant so they can be used with many different mediums, and they clean up thoroughly (although we don’t recommend using the same brushes for paint and food!). They come in a variety of shapes that help with making a plethora of new and interesting textures. For more info, check out Princeton’s website. If you’ve never thought about adding these to your collection, now is the time to consider them. At 40% off, they’re a great deal for a unique product.
Upgrade Your Sad Student Brushes
If you’re like me, you bought a large quantity of brushes when you first got started learning how to paint, and you tend to only replace brushes as needed- “as needed” meaning “only when the ferrule falls off, and the paint is chipping off the handle and falling into your palette, and all the hairs are sticking out in different directions”. This is behavior that befits a broke college kid, but is not the best way for an adult artist to treat their tools. Now is an excellent time for you to take a hard look at your brushes and decide which ones are still good, and which ones need an upgrade. This is especially important if you’re working in watercolor, where a few wayward hairs could put color where you don’t want it to be (an artist’s least favorite thing). Sort brushes into three piles: keep, rehab, and replace. Your brushroll and your future paintings will thank you.
Clean & Treat Your Brushes Right
All the brush sales in the world won’t help you if you treat your brushes badly! Make sure to clean them thoroughly after each use, and never let paint dry in the bristles. Keeping some linseed studio soap or Master’s brush cleaner around your studio is a good idea. If possible, hang your brushes to dry, and never leave brushes standing bristle-down in water or solvent. For misshapen brushes, reshape the bristles with a drop of gum arabic. You can also dip synthetic brushes in boiling water to get the shape back- check out this video for a how-to. If you’re good to your brushes, they’ll be good to you!
Summer is here with a vengeance- with sweltering temperatures sweeping the area it can be hard to think about anything but keeping cool. But it’s a good time to spare a thought for your framed artwork, just to do a seasonal checkup. Summer weather is characterized by things that are a huge danger to the longevity of framed pieces, and most of those dangers can be alleviated with just a little care. These issues can be especially bad in summer homes and beach houses, where there might not be someone to watch out for them regularly.
If your picture is someplace without adequate AC, or up against a wall that heats up, watch out! Excessive heat can cause warping, discoloration, deterioration and worse- certain art materials can even melt! Especially rapid temperature changes can cause condensation to form on the inside of the glass (see the dangers of humidity, below). This is something to look out for in mountain climates or other places where the night temperature is much lower than the daytime temperatures. Keep an eye on pieces that hang in vacation homes, which tend to be in warm places where the AC might be turned off for long stretches of time. For best protection, keep your artwork in a shaded and climate controlled room, out of intense sunlight and away from heat-producing lamps. Talk to your framer about ways to alleviate heat damage for your specific frame: you can even add extra insulation to the back of your piece, if it’s especially heat sensitive.
Light is an art killer. Ironically, the thing that lets you see the art to its best effect is also the thing that damages it the most. The same UV rays that damage and degrade your patio furniture can work their evil magic on your frames as well. Many art materials are sensitive to UV rays and can bleach or change color after only moderate exposure to light. Old photos and watercolors are both especially susceptible to light damage. Even (especially!) indoor fluorescent lights can damage artwork! This can be a special concern in beach homes and other vacation properties where a bright sunlit interior is the norm. The best way to prevent light damage is to use UV protective glass on your artwork (the same way you’d use sunscreen on a child at the beach) and to keep the frame out of direct sunlight. Strategic planning and frame placement can keep your artwork and photos looking good for years.
Everyone knows that excessive moisture is no good for upholstery, floors, drapery and other household accessories, so of course its not good for artwork either! But humidity can be insidious in the summer, especially in shore-houses and other water adjacent places, or during those unpredictable summer storms. Humidity can cause cockling (wrinkling in paper), warping, stickiness, and even mold growth! Moisture can also cause mounting (the tape or adhesive holding the art in place) to come unglued. Dry mounting or re-hinging moisture-damaged pieces is a good idea, if you notice moisture damage. Sometimes excess moisture can cause even cause the wood of the frame itself to expand and soften, allowing screws to loosen or the wire/ hardware to rust. Excess moisture can be a problem year round in bathrooms and kitchen areas. If you notice your frames flexing or feeling loose and wobbly, consider reinforcing or rewiring.
The best way to guard against humidity is to display your art in a climate controlled environment. Make sure there is space between your art and the glass, to stop humidity from causing sticking: that’s what mats are for! If your art is right up against the glass, consider taking it to a framer to add spacers or mats, so the glazing doesn’t stick to and damage the art. Seal the back of the artwork well with a good quality backing sheet: this will help to create a micro-climate in the frame and keep moisture outside where it belongs! You can also ask your framer about taping around the edges of the frame package, sealing the backing of the frame to the edge of the glass: this process is known by a number of different names including “Florida Wrap”. If the art is displayed in a beach house or other humid environment where the art won’t be seen all year round, storing it in plastic bins with silica gel packets or other desiccants during the off-season can reduce the likelihood of mildew growth and other moisture related issues.
The weather is nice, so you let the place air out- not thinking about what kinds of horrors will drift in and damage your artwork! Open air can allow a variety of undesirable things to settle on your pictures and paintings: pollen, dust, dirt, soot and smoke (from cigarettes, bonfires, barbecues, etc), and salt near the sea. Open windows also up the potential for six-legged intruders taking up residence in and around your frames and eating all that nice cellulose. These can all be guarded against with tight seals in the framing package, and using appropriate glazing. However, airborne pollutants can still cause damage to the frame itself, as well as causing damage to stretched canvases and unglazed pieces. Warped canvases can be re-stretched, and stretcher bars can be reinforced with bracing and framing: these precautions will keep your canvas looking great and can prevent further damage from happening. Keeping artwork (especially exposed art like textiles and canvas) away from open windows is the best course of action. Giving frames a gentle wipe-down with a clean cloth every once in a while can also help. Remember to take especially valuable artwork to a conservator to be cleaned properly.
Most of these issues can be avoided with some forethought, but that doesn’t help if the piece is already damaged! If you’ve had problems with any of these warm-weather issues, it’s a good idea to take your frames in for a tune up. Letting a framer clean and refit your frames can alleviate some of the damage done by what would otherwise be lovely weather. They can make sure you’ve got the right glass, the right backing, and a tight seal to protect your artwork all year round!
Click here for 15% off your next update order! Bring in an already framed piece for new glass, new mat, remounting, cleaning, or damage repair, and get 15% off your order at Merion Art!
Summer is here, and even if you’re not taking a vacation, it’s the perfect time to treat yourself to something nice. Summer is our reward for getting through an interminable winter and a weird, wet Spring. Take some time out to reflect on your artwork, and take advantage of our Summer sales to try some top-shelf, high quality art supplies. Instead of skimping, now’s the time to splurge on the professional-grade products you and your art really deserve!
Here are some amazing artist-quality products you should consider upgrading to this Summer! The Summer Sale starts June 21st, so make yourself a wish-list and get creating!
Black Velvet Brushes
Quality brushes are one of the best investments a serious painter can make: it’s hard to make good art with substandard tools! If you’re a water colorist, silk painter, gouache aficionado, or ink artist, Black Velvet Brushes by Silver Brush are the perfect addition to upgrade your artistic toolbox. They blend natural squirrel hair -for superior flow control and high volume color hold- with black synthetic fibers to increase longevity, resist wear, and offer a great snap and spring.
Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colors
Starting as a one-man-operation in the 80’s, Williamsburg grew to be a by-word for quality oil paint. You’ll feel the difference when using these fabulous paints. They are made in small batches (no more than 5 gallons at a time) and carefully ground to varying textures chosen to enhance specific qualities for specific paint colors. For example: “Our Cerulean Blue will have a beautiful velvet, light-absorbing surface with an extremely strong covering power; our Sienna’s will often be chunky or gritty to allow light to travel through the vehicle, exposing rich golden or mahogany undertones instead of just heavy, dull browns.” Many of the colors are modeled after the paints used historically by artists such as Monet, Matisse, and Cézanne. Pick up some Williamsburg oils to treat yourself this summer, and you’ll feel like you could go toe-to-toe with the Old Masters.
If you think all substrates are created equal, it’s time to try some Masterpiece canvas. Masterpiece has been making high quality canvas for fine artists since 1965, and their experience shows. Their Vincent Pro and Monet Pro canvases offer an exceptional surface, even priming, excellent tension, and extremely sturdy stretcher bars. No warping, great “bounce,” and high quality through and through, these canvases will ensure the longevity of your artwork. Sturdiness and quality get more and more important the larger your artwork is, so if you’re planning to paint big this summer, this is an upgrade you definitely want to make! The bracing on large scale Masterpiece canvases is intense! Start your artwork on an artist-grade substrate, and you’ll get better results, and superior durability.
Golden Acrylics and Mediums
Golden acrylics and mediums are a great affordable treat for acrylic or mixed media artists. For starters, Golden Artist Colors is a company that is wonderfully nerdy about their paint products: their artist colors are subject to rigorous testing and they are constantly doing research to improve the durability and quality of their products. You can trust that you won’t pick up a lemon of an art supply if it carried the Golden label. Their line of mediums has something for everyone. If you’re looking for new ways to mix your media, or just looking for inspiration, try picking up one of their mediums. Their molding paste and pastel ground both allow dry media like pastels, graphite, or colored pencil to be mixed with acrylic paint in heretofore impossible ways. Their crackle paste, fiber paste, and tar gel can add unique textures to paintings. Their line of GAC products allow for chemical barriers that prevent degeneration, as well as allowing for different ways to mix and layer paint. In short, they’re an excellent company that makes excellent products, and this Summer is a great time to try out something new and interesting!
Guerrilla Pochade Boxes
Guerrilla Products makes a fantastic array of high-quality painting accessories, many specifically designed for plein air painting. Along with tripods, portable chairs, umbrellas, and brush rolls, their pochade boxes are beautifully designed and amazingly efficient. Their worth is evident through the thoughtful design and construction.
The CigarBox has a hinged lid that can accommodate two 8″x10″ panels, and the palette slides out to reveal space for paints and accessories. The ThumBox kit has a designated space to hold two wet 6×8 panels in the lid, and comes with 4 short handled brushes, a brush washer, a composition finder, a detachable palette, AND a bag to carry it all together! These boxes are designed for hardworking artists by someone who is listening intently to what artists need and want. Picking up one of these pochade boxes for yourself will feel like Christmas came early!
A good easel is an excellent investment in your professional artistic future- especially if you’re the kind of artist who tends to stand their painting-in-progress up on any vertical surface that’s handy (this blogger is guilty of doing this). A professional easel will help you to produce more professional work. If you are in the market for a good easel, and you’d like to buy one you will never have to replace, look for a MABEF easel. A good easel is a quality piece of furniture, which won’t wear out and never goes out of style. MABEF easels are constructed using solid beech wood (see their website for an in depth explanation of why, using words like “grain”, “consistency”, and “tannin”) and MABEF specializes in making easels with “unparalleled function and aesthetic qualities.” Beautiful and useful: how could you go wrong with that combo? When you get your easel, be sure to take a few moments to register it online, to take advantage of MABEF’s amazing lifetime warranty. Bottom line on MABEF’s durability: “Properly cared for, your MABEF easel will last a lifetime, reducing the overall cost of ownership.” Great warranty, great deal, great product.
Daniel Smith Watercolors
Daniel Smith’s Extra Fine Watercolors have been a leading force in the watercolor market for 25 years now. Their unique colors deliver high performance, excellent lightfastness, and permanence. This is always an important quality for watercolors, as they can be notoriously fugitive. Their pigments are made from high quality minerals, including some you’re used to seeing in the form of semi-precious stones, such as amethyst and hematite. To learn more about their process and the science that backs it up, check their website, where you’ll find an absolute wealth of details about their milling process, chemical makeup of their pigments, and information about paint granulation. Aside from sheer quality, DS Watercolors deliver an impressive array of one-of-a-kind colors, allowing artists to find precisely the right hue for the job. For artists looking for an upgrade, their luxe Luminescent colors give a “sparkle, sheen, or reflective glow” and really add a sumptuous touch to any watercolor painting.
Come and join us for Merion Art Adventure: an afternoon of creativity and fun, presented by Merion Art, and First Friday Mainline. From 1-4pm on Saturday, June 9th, come check out live art demos, view original artwork by local artists, try some tasty food and drinks, and generally enjoy yourself on a Saturday afternoon in downtown Ardmore!
Our creative company of local artists will be out in the warm air, demonstrating their artwork, painting and drawing live for your viewing pleasure, and answering questions about their work and the materials they use. You can even try out all the different mediums, and make some art to take home! Below, you can check out our guest list of artistic demonstrators, and explore their work!
Oil Painting- Justine Babcock has been working as an illustrator and fine artist in Ardmore for over a decade. Her personal work reflects her intense interest in all things fantastical and ghoulish, drawing aesthetic influence from the rich tradition of golden age illustration. You can find more of her work online at justinebabcock.com. Justine will be demonstrating the oil paints she uses to bring her whimsical visions to life.
Intricate Paper-Cutting– Since graduation, six years ago from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania’s BFA program, Melissa Kenney (@kenneykutouts) has been producing and showing work in Philadelphia. Departing from her earlier works made primarily with charcoal and pastel, she began experimenting with cutting cardstock to create layered, intricate works. This new direction jump started her business Kenney Kut-Outs & Illustrations. Melissa’s work can be found online at www.etsy.com/shop/kenneykutouts and at Art shows throughout the Philadelphia area. Melissa will be demonstrating her cut-paper artwork and techniques.
Devin Marshall creates jewelry, miniature food models and fantasy decorations out of epoxy resin, silicone, molds, acrylic paint and air-dry clay. Through the name “CuteAndWonder,” they seek to combat darkness in the world by creating things that bring out a child-like sense of awe and wonder. Bright colors and shiny, glittery magic may evoke the sense of a time long past, but Marshall plans to cultivate this feeling and turn it into a sense of renewed hope. The Northern California native now seeks inspiration around the Philadelphia area. They’ll be demonstrating their clay miniatures at Art Adventure!
Acrylic Painting – Ya-Meer is a self-taught, South-West-Philadelphia-based acrylic painter. His paintings are often portraits of prominent black cultural icons and historical figures. He defines their faces using abstract areas of color playing off lines and fields of black paint. Known for his “drippy” Acrylic portraits, melting color blends and Futurist ideas, Ya-Meer creates bold, stimulating visual experiences. Check out his amazing artwork on his website www.rawartists.org/hades21 and on Instagram @hades_blue_phi
Oil Pastels- Jen is a mixed-media artist from Long Island with a degree in Art and Art History from Drew University in NJ. She incorporates oil pastels, the written word, traditional acrylic painting, metallic paints, decoupage, and Golden mediums into colorful multilayered works on panel. She thinks of herself as an artistic Swiss-army knife, as she has experience with art materials retail, custom framing, graphic design, and computer art as well as traditional fine art mediums. She incorporates these diverse experiences into her artwork through the use of handwriting, printed images and text, and the merging of her handmade and computer-made artwork. This Saturday, she’ll be demonstrating oil pastels, exploring different oil pastel brands, techniques, and applications. Her work can be viewed or purchased on her etsy shop, StrangeFamiliars.
Mixed Media and Acrylic Paint– J is a fine artist originally from Philadelphia, PA, specializing in mixed media pieces on both wood and canvas, in addition to classic oil paintings. He studied painting and graphic design at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, as well as the Art Institute of Philadelphia and has exhibited many times in Philadelphia, New York, and New Jersey. His work makes use of bright, often metallic colors with a variety of media to create a psychedelic ‘fabric’ of sorts with a variety of subject matter. He’ll be demonstrating his mixed media acrylic painting style at Art Adventure this weekend.
Watercolor– Vessna is an artist based in Philadelphia, PA. She says of her work, “Through my art, I reclaim who I am, what I have to say, and how I want to say it. Art, has always been my space of freedom. Art allows me to be as big, loud and powerful as I want to be- to encourage others to live boldly, challenge structures, and create experiences that connect across boundaries. Freedom in art for me involves learning to recognize disenfranchisement, detaching its weight from my shoulders, to let it be carried by collective struggle. I am inspired by stories of resilience and revolution, in particular by Malcolm X, Assata Shakur, James Baldwin, Gabrielle Union and Angela Davis…Using a combination of watercolors on wood, watercolor on Dura-lar, poetry, beats, movement and voice, I orchestrate performances where we may challenge our fears, craft our freedom and nurture our empowerment.” Check out more of her work online at www.vessnascheff.com. At Merion Art Adventure, Vessna will be demonstrating the techniques she uses for her beautiful watercolor portraiture.
Handmade Jewelry– Local craftsman April says “I’ve been obsessed with making things for as long as I could remember. When I realized that I could make things that I could wear and show off, I was hooked! I’ve been passionate about jewelry-making ever since. I also had a love for crocheting ever since I taught myself at 12 years old. Through the years I’ve strived to combine my loves of fibers, crocheting and metalworking. After I graduated from the University of the Arts in 2011, I started getting serious about making my own line of work and selling. I make a broad range of work, from the elaborate one-of-a-kind pieces shown in art galleries, to simple earrings and stacking rings for everyday wear. I hope you enjoy wearing my creations as much as I loved creating them!” You can view and buy some of April’s jewelry here, at www.aprilmade.com. She’ll be selling her handmade creations at Art Adventure, answering questions about her techniques, and demonstrating wire weaving!
Abstract Art- Jeremy Petrachonis is an American painter from Hazleton, PA, who is known for his unique abstract style, and specializes in color, as well as black and white compositions. He is also a sculptor, as well as an actor, musician, and merchandiser, with a BA degree from Penn State in the Drawing/Painting field. He has already exhibited in many places around the United States, including art scene staples such as New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington DC, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, with plans of exhibiting internationally. Along with his rise to artistic fame, he always loves to expand his artistic vision in ways that many people thought would never be possible! Jeremy will be demonstrating abstract art at Art Adventure.
Wall d’ Art Interactive Art Guides
Linda and Alice will be the artist guides for the Wall d’Art program sponsored by First Friday Mainline. Participants will be invited to make 3×3 inch small pieces of original artwork, with the help of our interactive art guides, which will hang in the custom made Wall d’Art structures, which will be displayed locally after the event. All ages are welcome to take part in creating quick, interactive artwork using paints, india ink, crayon resist, watercolor, markers, and other mediums and techniques!
Alice Dustin is an oil painter who delights in color and is known for her impressionistic style, a natural result of alla prima painting. She appreciates the understated and ultimately finds harmony in simple themes. Dustin’s themes range from still life to land or cityscape and include the figure and the animal world.
Alice Dustin’s professional career began with languages and teaching. She holds an MAT from Harvard and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the mother of two grown children and when they no longer needed her time, she began painting in and out of class. She studied with several Philadelphia artists and now teaches oil painting with Main Line School Night. Alice shows with galleries in the Philadelphia area as well as in NY, DE, and MA. To see more of her artwork, check out her website.
Linda Giovagnoli is a retired high school teacher and local artist. She settled in Malvern, PA and is the mother of two grown children. Linda loves her two dogs, is passionate about nature, lives simply, and strives to be a positive presence. Artistically, she is free spirited, and likes to have fun with colors and mixed media painting.
At Merion Art, our staff is full of creative people- artists, designers, and more. Creative people are always looking at things as they are and trying to improve them. They have a spirit of progress and change. So it’s no surprise that over the last year, and especially in the last couple of weeks, we’ve been making some big changes to the store and its layout, all to make the store look and work better for our customers and our staff.
Our aim is to continue to provide the service and knowledge that has kept us going for 47 years, combined with creative innovation that brings the store up to date from 1971 to 2018 and beyond. Here are some of the changes we’ve made and why we’ve made them, as well as some future plans for moving forward!
Store Remodel- The new floor layout is now just about a year old, but we’re still getting long-time customers noticing it for the first time. We rearranged the whole store to make aisles wider and more comfortable, and make items easier to locate. It also gives our remodeled front counter a better view of the store and both entrances, allowing us to see the whole store and assist customers more easily.
Custom Framing Area Remodel– We moved a pre-existing half-wall perpendicular to where it had been, and rotated the whole framing area by 90 degrees, opening up the space and improving flow. We also split the counter, making it easier for two framing designers to work with customers at the same time. The framing counter has been in the same area for over 15 years, but after we moved the half-wall, we’ve been getting customers noticing it for the first time!
Front Classroom Remodel-We know that the thing that sets small businesses apart from big box stores and online shopping is personal connection. We wanted to make it easier for artists and teachers in our store to connect with interested students and beginners. We’ve been doing small art demos for many years, but we’ve never had a great space for larger, more in-depth demos and classes on site. We wanted to make a space in our store where we could run quality programming like workshops, demonstrations, classes, and more. We did some major rearranging and found the space right in the front of our store. This week, we’ve laid a new floor (for easier cleanup), and opened up the front window for better lighting. We’ll start having demos in the new space this weekend!
Repainting- Everyone knows nothing improves the look of a room like a fresh coat of paint. We’ll be touching up and repainting starting today. Swapping the old mustard and purple-grey paint out for a basic white should make the whole place feel cleaner and brighter! Look for some murals to start popping up in the not-too-distant future too- artists can’t look at blank fields of white wall without our fingers itching to pick up our brushes!
Repro Remodel– Our Repro department has evolved from producing Whiteprints for architects in 1971 to what it is today- a full service graphic design and printing department. The next remodel on the agenda is to make a design consulting space so our talented graphic designers can work directly with clients and show off all the amazing stuff they can do. This will involve shrinking the Repro area slightly and moving our designers to a more accessible space across the aisle, where customers can talk with designers directly and see examples right on their computer screens.
Now that you’ve seen our Done-list and our To-Do List of changes, what kinds of changes would you like to see at Merion Art? What things do you want us to never change?
Spring is FINALLY here! (Okay, so far it’s been more like summer, but it’s better than The-Winter-That-Would-Not-End) It’s finally time to get outside for some Plein air painting! We’re having a plein-air-centric Spring Sale to celebrate the lovely weather and encourage everyone to get out there and paint! This sale continues ’til June 21st, so there’s time to try all kinds of different plein air techniques and materials. Here are some details on what products are on sale, and why you should get excited:
Daniel Smith Watercolors 30% Off-
Daniel Smith has been making their Extra Fine Watercolors for 25 years. They specifically focus on producing unique colors with high performance as to lightfastness and permanence. This is an especially important quality for watercolors, as they can be notoriously fugitive. Their pigments come from high quality minerals including some you’re used to seeing in the form of semi-precious stones, such as amethyst and hematite. Fun fact, “Daniel Smith was the first manufacturer to use the high-performance Quinacridone pigments for artists paints,” so if you have a love for a good Quin Rose, thank them! To learn more about their process and the science that backs it up, check their website, where you’ll find a wealth of details about their milling process, chemical makeup of their pigments, and information about paint granulation. Plein air painters can always benefit from DS’s many one-of-a-kind colors, including their PrimaTek paints and Luminescent watercolors, which give a “sparkle, sheen, or reflective glow” and can kick your paintings into high gear.
Koi Watercolor Sets 20% off, (& Free Pack of Fluid Paper With 30, 36, or 48 Set)
Koi Watercolor sets are an amazing one-stop-shop sort of product for those looking to paint on the go. The larger sets have 30, 36, or 48 half-pan high pigment watercolors in a convenient plastic case, with a detachable palette and a snap-shut lid that doubles as a teeny easel. The case is around 6″x10″ which is easy to slip into a medium sized bag and take anywhere, and only weighs about a pound. Each kit includes Koi brand water brushes, so you don’t even need to worry about where to store your water cup. The case even has a little pull down ring on the bottom for easy gripping! We’re selling them this Spring for 20% off, PLUS you get a free sample pack of the full line of Fluid watercolor papers. Speaking of which…
Fluid 100 Watercolor Paper 20% Off
This is the professional quality line of Fluid Watercolor papers. Fluid 100 is a 100% cotton premium archival paper, “made with a combination of traditional papermaking techniques and modern technology.” Sized with gelatin, these papers are an excellent value for any plein air painter. They come in 140lb and 300lb cold press, and 140lb hot press. Fluid’s “Easy Block” system is a godsend for plein air painters. Easy Blocks are glued on the two long edges, allowing for the structure of a block with much easier paper removal. Fluid 100 comes in a wider selection of dimensions than your average watercolor pad- opening up your painting possibilities. Easy Blocks go all the way down to the pocket-sized 4×6, and larger sizes include square options. Regular Fluid watercolor pads include pads at 4×8, 16×16 and 6×18, among many others. These dimensions allow plein air painters to do panorama paintings or small scale studies with ease. If you’re a longtime Arches or Strathmore user, give these a try!
Jack Richeson Soft Pastels 20% Off
If you’re not big on wet media for plein air, pastels offer an opportunity for portable “painting” without worrying about solvents or rinse water. With pastels, there’s no worrying about dry time, or having the right brush, leaving the artist free to concentrate on light, color, and content. This Spring, we’ve got all our open stock soft pastels on sale, including 20% off Jack Richeson Handmade Soft Pastels. Richeson Soft Pastels are “versatile, vibrant, and well-made,” offering a gorgeous velvety finish. These soft pastels offer “Superior lightfastness, professional quality” and a selection of 120 colors. Unlike some crumbly softer pastels, these offer consistent application without breaking apart, and hold up well to travel, making them perfect plein-air companions.
Guerrilla Products 30% Off
When you’re ready to get serious about plein air painting, you’re ready to look at Guerrilla products. Their series of high quality plein air accessories are amazing- they range from pochade boxes, to tripods, to portable chairs and umbrellas! Their BestBuddy Plus is a combination carryall, shade, and folding travel chair that even includes a pillow for lumbar support. It also includes a shade umbrella to keep the sun from melting your creative brain! It allows you to pack everything you need for a good art outing, and wheel it to wherever your heart desires. Their pochade boxes are amazingly efficient- the CigarBox has a hinged lid that can accommodate two 8″x10″ panels, and the pallette slides out to reveal space for paints. The ThumBox kit can hold two wet 6×8 panels in the lid, and comes with 4 short handled brushes, a brush washer, a composition finder, a detachable pallette, and a bag to hold it all together. The price tag can feel like a commitment, but their worth shows through in the thoughtful design and construction. Grab them while they’re on sale for a great value!