Artists – No Peeking!

This is for the friends, family and significant others of our artist members.    If you are still struggling with choosing a gift for the artist in your life, we’ve come up with a few last-minute suggestions.  While we wouldn’t necessarily recommend buying an artist their main tools (paints, brushes, easels, pencils, pastels, and so on), since most artists have their own very strong preferences, there are some things that we believe almost any artist would be glad to receive!

  • Art Store Gift Certificate – Yes, your artist can buy many of their supplies at hobby stores or online.  But for an artist, a visit to a real art store, several of which we are lucky enough to have in the area, is like being a kid in a candy store.   Your artist can go down each and every aisle, touch the canvasses and brushes, stare with awe at the amazing selection of colors of paints and pastels and colored pencils and inks (and we challenge anyone to walk past one of those big fluffy soft brushes without running their hand across it).  And finally, they can open up those giant drawers of paper, (see the next suggestion).  An afternoon spent in the art store, clutching their new gift certificate, and remembering your instructions to “be spontaneous”, may be just what your favorite artist needs!
  • A Selection of Papers – Make sure you know which medium your artist loves to work in, and with that knowledge, head to the above-mentioned art store.  Unlike at the hobby stores, all of the art store employees are artists and will know what to do, so let them know your artist’s preferred medium, and ask them for a selection of papers.   Make sure they walk right past the pads of cheap scratchy paper and lead you to the giant drawers!   You will then have the pleasure of opening those giant drawers to see and touch cream-colored papers that feel as soft as cotton, pure white papers that feel as hard and smooth as a stone, papers so thick you can’t even fold them, papers so thin and delicate that you can see right through them, colored papers, papers with bits of flowers embedded in them, patterned papers, papers made of bark, of bamboo, and, well, you get the idea.  Buy one of each that the salesperson says will work for your artist, roll them up to wrap them, and your artist will most likely be thrilled! 
  • Framing certificate  – Many artists may have doubts about whether some of their artwork is “good enough” to justify the sometimes considerable expense of matting and framing.  This may be causing them to miss exhibit opportunities or even just the satisfaction of seeing their artwork beautifully matted and framed and hanging on the wall.  Show them that their wonderful artwork does deserve to be proudly displayed and not just hidden away in a drawer or closet!  There won’t be time to get anything framed for them this holiday season, but both local and online framers will be glad to offer you a gift certificate. 
  • Art Class – Do we need to even ask whether any artist member of the Nature Artists’ Guild would like to attend one of the best art classes in the area, those offered by The Morton Arboretum’s Education Department?  Of course they would!   You can enroll your artist in a class by clicking right here, printing the confirmation e-mail, and wrapping it up in a beautiful box or putting it in a card.  Voila!  If you happen to choose the wrong class for them, classes are refundable or exchangeable.
  • Artists’ Workshop – Perhaps the ultimate gift would be a gift certificate to a workshop.  Workshops range from short ones offered at The Morton Arboretum (see last suggestion) and art schools and art leagues in the local area, to week -long (or longer) retreats anywhere in the United States or abroad.  Some of the best are offered right here in the Midwest!  Look online, check all the details including refund and cancellation policies, and make the call.  Don’t forget to sign yourself up too, since most artist workshops have activities for their non-artist guests, and you may just discover your own new passion!

2 thoughts on “Artists – No Peeking!

  1. Hey Denise! Awesome post with great suggestions! Your description of paper has me salivating. This artist can never have too many kinds of paper!

    One additional suggestion for a gift: a gift membership in an artists’ guild or association such as, of course, The Nature Artists’ Guild. Depending on your artists’ interests, other great organizations include the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators and the American Society of Botanical Artists.

    Finally, do you think we can mention our personal favorite art supply stores here? For artists in the West and Northwest suburbs of Chicago, there are Dick Blick and Carlsons. Chicago has Pearl. And I have to mention Daniel Smith – now that I’m in the Seattle area, I have a DS store just a few miles away 🙂

    Happy holidays – wishing you a warm and happy holiday season!

    1. Thanks for your additions, Mary! Those are great comments – maybe next year we can ask all of our members for ideas and develop a nature artist “wish list” to give to our friends and families (after all, it’s better for the environment to give and receive only gifts that are sure to be used, right?)

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