Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Goodies and a Return to Art

Some of the Christmas goodies I received this year were some tubes of paint, two dvd's and a book called Art and Fear.

The book was recommended by Sandy Maudlin and is excellent! A 'product description' is: An artist's survival guide, written by and for working artists. The authors explore the way art gets made, the reasons it doesn't get made, and the nature of the difficulties that cause so many artists to give up along the way.

It's getting me out of this horrible, deep hole of a slump I've been in.

Thanks for the recommendation, Sandy!

Also received were two dvd's, the first by Ann Pember called Painting in the Flow of Watercolor . If you'd like to see a quick preview, you can go to Creative Catalyst Productions which is where it was purchased! (The service is awesome there and the videos are top-notch quality.) I love this dvd and am itching to get to work on a painting of les Chutes de Plaisance, my favourite falls.

The second dvd was Urban Landscape in Watercolor by John Salminen and I've learned a lot from it also. Again, you can see a clip by going here. It's a really interesting dvd and I plan on using a lot of the info I've learned. Something I really like in an art dvd is an artist who explains and talks and teaches throughout the dvd. There was lots of that in both of these videos!

And then there's the paint! I chose the tubes and ordered from Curry's, which has awesome service!

If you click on the photo at left, you should be able to see the playing around I did with the new paint and a few old ones for comparison.

First , I should explain that I had originally placed an order for some Daniel Smith paint, which used to be my favourite brand of paint. I was ordering several triads of paint. Any Canadian artist can tell you how exhorbitant their shipping rates are - usually around 23% of the cost of the order! Yikes! But, they have these little sets of three tubes of paint called triads which they ship free to Canada and the US.

But back to the story, one of the triads was for the Hematite w/c triad. They have since changed the name on their website to a watercolor set! But, I have a screen shot (taken on Nov 29, '08) of the original webpage that refers to it as a watercolor triad set and if anyone would like to see the screenshot, let me know. I've also kept the correspondence from their customer service rep.

Anyways, after three emails received back from their customer service department, one of which from me had attached the screen shot with the words, 'triad' circled and highlighted, it all boiled down to the fact that they would not honour their policy of free shipping for triads because, and I quote: I'm sorry, but you'll note that there is no free shipping mentioned on the web page. And the product title says clearly "set."Triad of course means three -- three colors. Have a great day! If there are any questions or if I can be of any otherservice, please let me know.

That's right, there was "no free shipping" mentioned on the webpage BUT it is supposedly understood that their "triads" all have free shipping to Canada. And since the original page included the word, Triad, twice in the name description, one would think they'd honour their policy. But no, Daniel Smith does not like Canadian customers. So, rather than pay a whopping $13.75(!) to have these three tubes shipped, I cancelled the entire order on the principle of the thing. AND, decided to not use their paint anymore. It's great paint but not worth the aggravation.

It's not the money as much as it's the morality of doing what you've promised!!!! In Canada, if you advertise something, you have to honour the claim.

All that to say ....... three of the tubes of paint were M. Graham to try it out. I've never used the M. Graham paints but have heard a lot of good things about them and since I need to replace the DS with something, I decided to try these. The three I received were Sap Green, Gamboge and Naphthol Red. Wow! I'm blown away! They're really creamy paint - a feature I had liked about Daniel Smith paint. And the colour is sooooo rich! I'm sold on them! (And I can order them from Curry's, get free shipping and have them in a week! And Curry's Customer Service people work WITH you to give you excellent service - like the time I needed the Escoda brush set for a class on a Tuesday - they shipped in Purolator instead of mail so I'd have in time and I did! Like using a heavy roll tube to carefully wrap rice paper and masa paper around so it wouldn't crease and at no extra charge!)

I also tried three DaVinci tubes - Lapis Lazuli, Irridescent Burnt Sienna and Sap Green. Not bad! The Lapiz Lazuli and Irridescent Burnt Sienna are new to me and I like them.

Holbein Opera and Shadow Green were also included. Both I love and needed to replenish. (Since I won't be ordering any more Daniel Smith Undersea Green, I figured I'd better get the Shadow Green instead. A bit different but I can work around that.) I know Opera is fugitive but it's still mixes some gorgeous colours!

One other paint smear on the sheet is Winsor Newton Smalt (Dumont's Blue), a 5 ml tube I received free when I ordered a magazine subscription. Nice, but a limited edition. It's kind of like a mauved version of French Ultramarine blue.

Sooooooo, I love my new paints, I love the new dvd's and I love the new book!

What kind of art goodies did YOU get for Christmas? I'd love to hear!

And I apologize if this post sounds like a rant. It wasn't meant to, I just wanted to explain why I'm switching brands of paint.

Merry Christmas!

Due to the sad fact that I did not get any Christmas cards painted this year, I'm posting a small painting I did for Susie Short in '03. A group of us each painted her a card and mailed it to her. If I remember correctly, this was the year that Dabs organized a group gift for Suzie.

Wow, I've just realized that this was five years ago!

I wish you all a great Christmas, albeit a bit late, and a wonderful new year.

If you're an artist, may the next year be very creative for you!