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.