Tag Archives: Christmas gifts

All I want for Christmas…Advent Calendar of Essentials (!)

Advent calendars covered with glitter, or rattling with chocolates, are almost the best bit of Christmas. The tantalising countdown to the day itself raises expectations to a ridiculous degree.

My calendar is a shortish list of all sorts of mostly arty things that would be very nice to have in a stocking, under a tree, wrapped with a bow, sealed with a kiss.




I went to this wonderful exhibition a couple of weeks ago – well worth a visit. I normally buy a catalogue but I was a bit pushed for time…

Cézanne Portraits at National Portrait Gallery

This major international exhibition brings together for the first time over fifty of Cézanne’s portraits from collections across the world, including works which have never been on public display in the UK.

Over a working life of some forty-five years, Cézanne made almost 1,000 paintings of which around 160 are portraits. The exhibition  considers the extent to which particular sitters shaped the development of his practise.

Number one

TWO  Number Two

017450300000 analinky

These are a product I use all the time – I get through endless sets.  What I REALLY want for Christmas is for Koh I Noor to make these with big pans of colour so I can use a bigger brush.


Number Three

The Art Fund

As a child I thought book tokens were a bit of a cop out – a lazy present turning good money into less good money; membership to the Art Fund is the very opposite. This allows the member to have access free, or at reduced rates to galleries all over the country AND the Art fund supports artists and museums.

For over 110 years they have supported museums and galleries, and helped them to buy and display great works of art for everyone to enjoy.

The Art Fund helps museums and galleries in a number of ways:

  • Providing museums and curators with funding for: acquisitions; training and development; and the display of art through tours and exhibitions.
  • Running public appeals when a particular work of art is under threat; for example, in 2014 we ran a successful campaign to save one of the most important industrial archives in the world, the Wedgwood Collection, which documents the evolution of ceramics design over 250 years. Recently we also led a successful appeal with the National Portrait Gallery to save Van Dyck’s final self-portrait for the nation. In recent years we have run several major appeals, raising £45m to save works of art or collections.
  • Promoting hundreds of UK museums and galleries through the National Art Pass, the Art Guide app and more.


ERF5001940 encaustic

Number Four

I love to try new things – who doesn’t? I use wax crayons and wax resist techniques all the time so this encaustic beginners set seems to be the logical next step.





p-jasshiro brushes


Number Five
Just can’t have too many…






Number Sixapron

A good apron is hard to find.  Some people turn up to classes in full body overalls – not a bad idea.  I rather like this, less drastic option.







Number Seven

No list is complete without chocolate.

I don’t know anyone else who likes these so it looks like I get the whole box to myself.


Number Eight

This is TOTALLY ridiculous as half the pleasure of painting is choosing the materials…BUT… it is a very tasty set of delicious paints.

Old holland


Number Nine

These two Van Gogh paintings of blossom, together with Bonnard’s painting of an Almond Tree, make me yearn for a show of spring flowers.


Number Ten

Lino printing is occasionally forgotten…dismissed as a school pleasure and rather junior. Now is the time to revisit relief printing. Speedy Carve have a  rubbery material that is very easy to use. Lawrence Printmakers have everything you need for any sort of printing; their beginners kit will use high quality materials. Pfeil tools are the BEST.

I forgot to mention cashmere bed socks.  Get the best you can afford and have a warm and Happy Christmas.

All I want for Christmas…


The last minute panic

Bits and bobs for artists (or even major purchases) are easy – there are so many useful, fun, interesting, innovative things that could slip into a stocking, or hide under the Christmas tree. This list could be endless.  You might find you rather fancy taking up painting too. Below are a few ideas, with links to make it easy.

If you want to touch and feel the goodies you are buying and are in Stockbridge have a look at ELEF, the new art supplies shop, opposite the Greyhound.  They stock top of the range supplies in all media.

Memberships to any of the following:

Royal Academy https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/support-us

National Gallery https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/membership/info/find-out-more

Tate http://www.tate.org.uk/join-support

The Art Fund https://www.artfund.org/national-art-pass


For all those who want to ‘take up art…’

Obviously, lessons at ArtDrawPaint, plus –

There are lots of sets available for beginners/returners.  They all look so inviting – like sweeties in a shop window.

Oil painting involves paints, brushes, palettes, paper, blah blah blah. For a  cheap and cheerful set with all you would need to get started have a look at Daler Rowney Starter bundle. There seems to be a bit of a gap with linseed oil and thinners and palettes but enough to get started, or to take to classes.https://www.jacksonsart.com/daler-rowney-georgian-oil-paint-starter-bundle

At the other end of the price scale is a top of the range Old Holland set – very luxurious. https://www.jacksonsart.com/old-holland-classic-oil-set-34-x-40ml-colours

In the watercolour market there are lots of delightful sets of varying sizes https://www.cassart.co.uk/christmas_gifts/gifts_for_artists/gifts_for_hobbyists/winsor_newton_cotman_watercolour_half_pan_brush_pen_set_of_12.htm#b


I’m a bit hopeless with watercolours so hardly ever use them – however these wonderful bright paints from Koh-i-noor look like watercolours but are bright and wonderful. I would LOVE these in my stocking https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B005IX8I1M/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Two different acrylic options – I love the liquitex collection…it always excites me to see so many wonderful colours



If you fancy a go at lino cutting this is an easy to use basic kit. It is addictive https://www.jacksonsart.com/speedball-speedy-carve-basic-kit


For the artist who seems to have quite a lot of stuff already…

There are three options in this category: something they use regularly, something unusual they might not know about, and  something you can’t have enough of…

Something they use regularly is a tricky one.  My husband is a keen fisherman and it seems to me that trawling through the kit is one of the pleasures of fishing. Likewise with painting. I use Old Holland paints and love them. It is delightful that anyone should have noticed and thought they could buy me a few, but actually I want to choose my own. You are a brave person to think you know what to buy in this category. I’d leave it.

Something unusual can be fun. Pip Seymour’s ancient drawing materials are certainly unusual, and fun to work with – some are easier than others, but that is part of the fun.http://www.pipseymour.co.uk/ancient-drawing-materials.php

This is a tricky one to describe – graphite that feels like a putty rubber is the best I can do. Good stuff. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Artgraf-Water-Soluble-Kneaded-Graphite/dp/B011SAT58S/ref=sr_1_2?s=officeproduct&ie=UTF8&qid=1482145461&sr=1-2&keywords=art+graf

Things you can’t have enough of… The two things I would put in this category are brushes and books. Buy the best brushes you can afford to give, and have a look in every Oxfam, Scope, Hospice shop for art books – second hand they are not too expensive.

A hardback sketchbook is pretty irresistible too.


An Easel to last a lifetime


Each Mabef easel is made in Italy from good quality beech wood. Amongst professional and ametuer artists Mabef easels have been the popular choice for over 50 years.

Grand Gestures…

How about a few days in Paris to see the ‘Icons of Modern Art, the Shchukin Collection’ at the Foundation Louis Vuitton, designed by Frank Gehry?http://www.fondationlouisvuitton.fr/en/expositions/icones-de-l-art-moderne-la-collection-chtchoukine.html