As a child, one of the things I looked forward to the most every Christmas was opening my Christmas stocking. My mother was so creative with the gifts that she found to put in it and it never ceased to amaze me how she knew just exactly what I would like. Well, somehow I managed to keep the tradition going with my family, and through the years, I have become adept at finding unique items for the special people in my life. Here are a few new art products I found in my travels this year that just might end up in a stocking of someone who is special to me; maybe you have a special someone who would love one of these items too.
Masterson Sta-New Brush Holder
Masterson Art Products
Bill (one of the owners of Masterson) was shaving one day with a very expensive shaving brush, and when he placed it on its stand to dry correctly, he came up with the idea that artists really needed something like this to correctly dry, preserve, and keep their expensive, high-quality brushes in “like-new” shape. This handy drying rack allows you to hang wet brushes in the proper position so that the excess water remaining in the hairs does not damage the ferrule or wood brush handles. The rubber grip inserts in the rack accommodate various-size brushes, and when the brush is removed, the rubber grip springs back into place. This unit can also be mounted on an easel or any other vertical surface—how inventive is that! What a great way to preserve, organize, and dry your brushes. Visit mastersonart.com for additional information on this new, innovative product. It is available for purchase on Masterson’s website or you can check availability at your local art supplies store.
Rembrandt Luxury Pocket Box Artists’ Quality Watercolor Set
I love working in watercolor, and after experimenting with the Rembrandt Professional Watercolors for this article, I will be finding a permanent place for them in my extended palette. The pure pigments in these watercolors are lightfast and produce beautiful color clarity and uniform color washes even when I dilute them extensively. (The secret is that they triple grind the pigment to a superfine consistency and their special gum Arabic blend). Rembrandt watercolors are available in tubes as well as pans, and both perform beautifully. The Luxury Pocket Set all-inclusive travel cake set is perfect for artists who love to paint on the go. The Luxury Pocket Box itself is extremely durable. When you open the box, the top becomes a large mixing area and the bottom half of the box houses twelve watercolor pans nestled in individual pockets. The colors that Royal Talens selected for this kit offer you endless color combinations for all types of subject matter. The set even includes a collapsible watercolor brush that has its own designated slot area when it’s time to clean up and move on to a new painting destination. I love the fact that the only additional supplies you need to gather are water, paper towels, and watercolor paper. This handy watercolor kit is available in fine art stores and through online dealers, such as Dick Blick. For additional information regarding Rembrandt Watercolors, visit rembrandt.royaltalens.com/.
Paintable Glass Jewelry
Bear With Us, Inc.
I first saw this line of paintable glass jewelry in the Bear With Us booth at the Heart of Ohio Tole Painting Conference. I instantly thought that they would be great gifts for stockings. You can use any type of paint on these glass surfaces (except watercolor) and the design possibilities are endless. There are four different pendant shapes to choose from: Puffy Domino Shaped Glass Pendant, 2"x 1" (2686); Puffy Heart Shaped Glass Pendant, 1-1/4" (2687); Puffy Teardrop Shaped Glass Pendant, 1-1/4" x 7/8" (2688); and Puffy Triangle Glass Pendant, 1" (2689). To assemble the pendants after they are painted, all you need is Eclectic Products E6000 Industrial Strength Adhesive (2692); a Silver Colored Bail for Glass Pendants (2690), which you glue onto the top of the pendant; and a Silver Colored Ball Chain Necklace, 24" (2691). (Note: The necklace chain can be adjusted to any length just by cutting between two ball sections with a pair of scissors.) If you want to paint matching earrings to go with a pendant necklace, Bear With Us carries the following sets: Teardrop Earring Set, 1" x 1/2" (2706); Domino Shaped Glass Earring Set, 1" x 1/2" (2707); and Triangle Shaped Glass Earring Set, 3/4" (2708). The earring sets come with bails and earring wires (you will need to order the adhesive). I can’t wait to get started on painting the earrings and necklaces that I have in my studio. I’m going to paint original designs on mine, but there are earring and necklace pattern packets available on the bearwithusinc.com website.
The DUETS Collection
Dynasty Brush Company
The creative team at Dynasty Brush Company hit a home run with this new line of brushes. The Duets Collection brushes are a one-of-a-kind artist instrument. What makes them so different is that the brush handle features two different brush heads, one on each end, allowing a painter to effortlessly switch out brushes with a twist of the wrist. The construction of these brushes is top of the line—the handles are made of kiln-dried birch, the metal ferrules are seamless, and the ferrules are both glued and crimped to the handles. Each of the three brush styles in this collection (The Tango, The Fox Trot, and The Salsa) all contains different types of brush hairs and shapes to meet the many different needs of painters. The Tango series brush heads contain a blend of hairs that mimic the deftness of sable and have the strength and durability of synthetic hairs. This type of blend is ideal for watercolor, silk painting, and other thin-body paint or ink because the hairs release paint in long, elegant strokes. The brush heads in this series are rounds, filberts, shaders, and daggers. The Fox Trot series allows you to move from oils to acrylics to watercolors effortlessly because the hair in each brush is a blend of enhanced squirrel (which is soft and supple yet strong and durable). The brush heads available in the Fox Trot series are combinations of traditional and specialty brushes. Your choices are rounds, shaders, angles, and the Dynasty signature Wave brushes. The Salsa series was created for multimedia artists. Each brush end of each Salsa brush contains totally different brush hairs. The brush-head hairs on one end contain a unique blend of synthetic multidiameter bristles known for their snap and strength to effectively move heavy-body oils and mediums (and the brush hairs were specifically positioned to create a large reservoir, which means the brush hairs can handle a heavy load of color). The brush-head hairs on the other end contain a synthetic blend of two different-color hairs that are stiffer than the hair on the other brush end; these stiffer hairs work well for blending and burnishing existing color. The Salsa brushes work exceptionally well with water-soluble oils and fluid acrylics. They are available in a variety of distinct brush shapes. For more information on these unique brushes, visit dynasty-brush.com.