I am excited to share information about new products that are perfect holiday gifts for your family members and friends who paint. We'll also look at some interesting painting surfaces that can be used for your Christmas painting projects! Wishing you all a holiday season full of love, laughter, great memories, and of course, painting!
- Kathi Hanson
Sketch & Go Kits
General Pencil Company
General Pencil sure came up with a winner when they designed their brand-new Sketch & Go drawing kits. If you have never tried to draw, any of these kits would be great because they contain everything you need to start creating art in a specific pencil medium. Veteran on-the-go artists will also love these artist-quality pencil kits, because they are compact and ready to pop in an art bag or suitcase. There are five different kits, which are available in the following mediums: watercolor pencil, charcoal, graphite, pastel, and a mixed-drawing assortment. The Kimberly Watercolor Pencils kit includes six gorgeous watercolor pencils and a brush. Each of the four dry medium kits (Charcoal and Carbon, Graphite, MultiPastel Chalk, and Mixed Drawing Media) includes a seven-piece pencil assortment. Each kit also contains a drawing journal, a Little Red All Art Artist Sharpener, an eraser, a zipper pencil bag to house all the supplies, pencil point protector caps, and (best of all) a How to Draw booklet filled with techniques and step-by-step instructions for three projects. The booklets are easy to follow and are extremely informative. General's Sketch & Go kits are the perfect holiday gift for artists of all ages and abilities.
The Gardener's Color Wheel
The Color Wheel Company
The Color Wheel Company is known for their creative approach to understanding color. In addition to their traditional color wheel, they offer an assortment of unique color theory tools to meet an artist's needs.
If you are an avid gardener, you are going to love a unique color wheel developed by Sydney Eddison called The Gardener's Color Wheel (style #3388). This is not a traditional color-mixing wheel; this wheel was created with gardeners in mind to help them understand color relationships for the garden. This wheel comes with a booklet that explains color schemes; color temperature; color value; tints, tones, and shades within a color; primary, secondary, and intermediate colors; complementary colors, analogous colors, and pure colors; and how each topic relates to color choices for your garden. There is also a section on color schemes for the garden, plus additional tips on the power of white, neutral foliage, and the importance of the color green in your garden. The Gardener's Color Wheel features a broader range of color chips than a traditional color wheel, and has been coated to resist moisture so that you can take it outdoors with you. The layout of the wheel makes it easy to recognize color temperatures, tints, tones, and color schemes. A striking garden requires planning and preparation as well as physical labor. Creating the perfect combination of contrast and harmony is easy to do with the help of The Gardener's Color Wheel. On a different note, I find this color wheel very helpful in the studio as well. The wide range of color-chip visuals are very helpful when planning a color scheme for a new design.
Walnut Hollow has an extremely versatile tool called the Creative Versa-Tool (item #38283) that can be used for many design purposes. It is an electric hot tool that has a variable-temperature control, a great comfort-grip handle (for ease and comfort, especially when working for long periods of time), and eleven different interchangeable points that create a variety of looks and serve a multitude of purposes. (There are even hot stamp points that leave a great design pattern on your surface and a calligraphy point for creating text.) This tool is part of a kit that contains a tool stand, a sturdy storage case with dividers, a lead-free solder with rosin core, and a pamphlet featuring instructions and technique ideas. Talk about versatile, the Creative Versa-Tool can be used on leather, hard and soft plastics, synthetic and natural fabrics, wax, cork, iron-on embellishments, wood, paper, ceramics, foam core board, foam pumpkins, and more. The new Versa-Temp Zone temperature feature on this tool is the reason it can be used on such a wide range of surfaces. An easy-to-read, color-coded temperature chart lists temperature settings and the surfaces with which they are compatible. This amazing tool can even solder, hot-knife cut, woodburn, cut stencil designs, emboss fabric, and transfer photocopies of black-and-white laser images onto surfaces. I have been using my Creative Versa-Tool for my encaustic work and mixed-media designs. This tool allows me to design in a way that I never could before—adding textures and patterns that were unavailable to me.
Basswood Canvas, Shadow Panels, and Wood Panels
Do you love the look of canvas but prefer to paint on wood? Walnut Hollow's Basswood Canvas comes in ten different sizes and gives you the best of both worlds. The deep-well frame structure gives the look of canvas when hung on display, and gives you the option of artfully displaying your work in a framed or frameless state. A Basswood Canvas has no pitch or grain in it to interfere with techniques. It is kiln-dried, sanded, and ready to use; and won't flex, stretch, or warp, because it is cradled with a pine wood frame. This surface is ideal for painting in all mediums, but is also a perfect choice for fiber art, paper collage, woodburning, woodcarving, mixed media, and encaustic art designs.
Other new Walnut Hollow paintable surfaces are their floating wood panels called Shadow Panels. They are also made from basswood, so you can create a wide variety of art on them. Shadow Panels are available in four different shapes (square, circle, oval, and rectangle) and sizes (11" x 14", 8" x 10", 10" x 10", and 6" x 6"). The unique dimensional key-hold hanging system on the back of each panel allows it to stand out 1/2" from the wall, creating the illusion that the panel is floating. Your displayed art will take on a whole new look using these panels. The different shapes and sizes will allow you to create interesting groupings (such as a triptych series), as well as single-panel designs.
Are you looking for a cost-effective, high-quality wood panel? Walnut Hollow has a line called Wood Panel. These surfaces are made of top-quality Baltic birch that is cradled with a 3/4" pine wood frame. Like all other Walnut Hollow surfaces, Wood Panels are sanded smooth and will not flex, stretch, or warp. They are available in five different sizes (6" x 6", 8" x 8", 8" x 10", 10" x 10", and 12" x 12") that are easy to hang flush to the wall. These panels are reversible and can be used with or without a frame. They are great for creating all types of painted designs, as well as stamped-art designs, mixed-media collage, altered art, fabric collage, and more. All Walnut Hollow wood products are made right here in the United States of America. For a complete list of all their wonderful wood products, be sure to visit their website.