By Susan L Stewart
Finding gifts for that special artist in your life can be confusing if you are not an artist. This guide will give you some options for supplies any artist will love.
ZenART Supplies group their products around the medium your artist uses. “Medium” is an art term meaning the type of materials an artist uses to create their art. For example, some artists work in watercolors, or oils or acrylics. Some artists do a lot of sketching or create art journals. Other artists may create mixed-media work where they combine a few elements that don’t usually go together. This could include collage, which is the technique of incorporating and gluing different objects onto the artwork.
ZenART Supplies carries a wide variety of artist materials meant for watercolor, oil, and acrylic artists. They have beautiful sketchbooks and bullet journals, as well. Here are some ideas for excellent art materials at reasonable prices.
- Watercolor brushes
- Oil and acrylic brushes
- Oil paint
- Art Journals
Professional brushes for fluid and heavy bodied media
As many artists know, brushes may be the most essential, but often overlooked, tool in any artist’s supplies. There is no such thing as a one-brush-for-everything. Keep in mind that specific brushes are designed and created with particular media in mind.
ZenART Supplies carries two lines of brushes. The first is designed for fluid media artists including watercolors, fluid acrylics, gouache and inks (above, left), and the second line is for oils and heavy-bodied acrylic paints (above, right).
ZenART’s brushes have quality aluminum (to prevent rust) ferrules and are wet tested to decrease shedding. Water-based brushes have shorter handles. Heavy-bodied brushes are long handled and both are beautifully lacquered.
Professional Watercolor Brushes
Watercolor brushes should be soft and hold a lot of water while keeping their point. When the brush is lifted from the surface, it should “spring back.”
The Black Tulip Collection has six professional brushes. The 12-piece Turner Collection has two types of brushes: a squirrel blend and Japanese synthetic. In addition, the Turner Collection (named for artist J.M.W. Turner) includes a palette knife and a carrying case that’s great for artists who paint outdoors or in places other than their studio.
Brushes for Oils & Heavy Bodied Acrylics
Oil and heavy-bodied acrylic brushes are stiffer than watercolor brushes. They are designed to handle thick paint. The Renoir Collection has two types of brushes for the best control. One is a badger and synthetic blend, and the other is a stiff Chungking Hog for base coats and beautiful texture.
The Artists Choice Collection offers the artist six badger/synthetic blend brushes in various sizes for the most versatility. With the same high standards of the other collections, Artists Choice brushes are easily cleaned and long-lasting.
ZenART Supplies Infinity Oil Paint Sets
Once your artist has the proper brushes, they need paint. ZenART Supplies has
three amazing professional oil paint palettes. Each set comes with eight large tubes (1.52 fl oz) of thick, buttery, non-toxic paint. Over time, artists have learned that a limited palette will more easily harmonize giving the artist a way to mix any color they wish to. To make things a little easier, ZenART has grouped each Infinity series according to the artist’s style.
- The Essential Palette contains the colors needed for the basic color palette.
- The Impressionist Palette will create those bright, soft shades used by painters like Monet.
- The Portrait Palette brings in earth tones and the ability to mix any skin tone. The Portrait palette also works well for landscapes.
Artist don’t create in a vacuum. They need visual stimulation, education, friendships with other artists, and inspiration. That inspiration can come from many different sources, some less expensive that others. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Art Museum Yearly Pass – Do you live in a city with an exceptional art museum? With a little investigation, you can determine if they have art similar in style to what your artist is working on. Even if they don’t, artists get inspiration from everything around them.
Books – One year, a client gave me $75 as a Christmas bonus for all that I had done for her that year. I was thrilled! I went to the bookstore and bought three art books that I refer to and look through frequently. The “Sister Wendy Beckett” art books are always a good start. Giving cash allows him or her to choose the books that excite them.
Magazine Subscriptions – There are so many art magazines! Go to a large library or book store and look through the possibilities. If you don’t find what you want, go online and search for what you’re looking for. The nice thing about a magazine subscription is that your artist will get a gift every month when the latest issue arrives.
Classes and workshops
Art Classes – Not only are these helpful, they are a lot of fun with artists swapping tips and stories about what they’ve learned. The best way to find these classes is to go online. Does your city have an Art Students’ League? Those are some of the very best classes taught by successful artists. Or, put “Art Guilds” in your area in a search. Many of them hold one or two day workshops.
Art Workshops – These are the most expensive options, but the most glorious, too. Five whole days of learning from and painting with a favorite artist! Find out who their favorite current day artists are and go online, search on the artist’s name, and look for their list of currently scheduled workshops. I spent a week painting with Robert Burridge in Cloudcroft, New Mexico. The setting was spectacular and I learned so much from Bob. Art workshops are held around the world, and some of them are given by internationally known and recognized artists. What a great experience!
Creating art can be a solitary process and lonely. Just knowing someone in your life who is standing with you is such a comfort. My mom was that person for me and when she passed away she left a special ache in my life. If you can be that person for an artist, that may be the best gift ever!
Sketchbooks and Bullet Journals
And, finally, an artist needs something to paint on. ZenART’s sketchbooks have
thick paper and no lines so the artist can get as creative as he or she wants to be. Watercolors, pens, and markers won’t bleed through. The sketchbook comes in two styles, an elegant gray leather, and a spotted leather cover. They also come in two sizes, The B5 is approximately 5″ x 7,” and the B6 is 7″ x 10.”
Art Journals for the crafty
For those people on your list who love creating art journals, ZenART has a bullet journal with either a black or teal engineered leather cover. They are 7″ x 10″ and extremely durable. With their heavy-weight paper, an artist is free to go wherever their imagination takes them.
For an artist, there really isn’t anything more exciting than opening a gift and finding art supplies. I hope this overview gave you some good ideas for the perfect gift for the artist(s) in your life. If you would like to review these products and their (sale) prices, you just need to go to this link at ZenArt Supplies.
ZenART Supplies is a family-run business located in London, England. Ardak Kassenova, one of the co-founders, is a professional artist who created the brushes, paints and other artist supplies she longed for but could not find. ZenART Supplies is known for its reasonable prices and excellent customer service. Check it out today!
Susan L Stewart is a professional artist and author. She grew up with artistic parents, and art supplies were readily available. Her mother, who worked in oils, had a special guiding hand in her growth as an artist. “…it’s all about the color” is at the heart of her semi-abstract art. She lives in Denver, CO with her husband. You can see her art on her website, SusanLStewartArt.