Friday, April 9, 2010

Material Pleasures (or, the thrill of indulging in an art supply purchase)

Art Materials.  We gaze at the colors, shapes, and textures of the materials and tools and dream of the possibilities.  But we rarely indulge ourselves past what is absolutely essential for the project at hand.

I happen to live in a city that has several art supply retailers, one of which is a mega store – The Dick Blick. Walking around Blick’s can make you giddy, and very poor if you are not careful.  It is easy to be seduced by the dizzying array of merchandise, and dream about life in the studio if I only owned a complete set of such and such inks or whatever it is that looks tempting.  But being the “frugal” (cheap) person that I am, I usually just shop my list and leave (quickly).

A supply I have always loved is caran d’ache watercolor pencils.  I have spent my whole life as an artist buying only two or three pencils at a time, gradually building a set.  Recently, I started to use these pencils again regularly and made mental notes of the colors that needed to be replaced.   Then one day, something wonderful happened…..

In the mail came the offer of all offers….the 40% off one item discount. FORTY PERCENT!!!!!  Even I can figure out that it almost half off!  Well, I am a full time artist, over fifty, and now have a forty percent off coupon. I think they are three good reasons to say the hell with it, I am going to get something I would normally not buy.  So off I went to Blick’s and purchased a full set of caran d’ache watercolors pencils, less 40%.

Will this be something I do again? Probably not because if you do something like this too often, it no longer is special. But I think at least once every artist should have the thrill of buying that one special thing they have always drooled over.

I love just looking at the pencils with the colors all lined up.  Someday very soon I will use them. But for now, I just want to look at them brand new, and digest that they are not on the shelf at Blicks. They are mine.


  1. I know what you mean! I have a lot of beautiful [unused] material that i look at. Being an art therapist made me become more aware of the "property" (texture, resistance, control) of the media. But sometimes I tell myself, "artist is nothing without work". and i look at my art materials and sigh... I did managed to make a few paintings this past two years. My new quarter has a class called "Studio art for art therapist". i should start making some art soon. ;-))

  2. Woohoo!! What a deal! And it's wonderful getting a set of brand new colours of any media; enjoy their pristine condition only a moment, then enjoy even more their wonderful usefulness in your art.

  3. Hello, I was just passing by and saw these colour pencils ... I could spot those beautiful pencils a mile off!
    enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!
    Appreciated very much what you were saying in your post!