Monday, November 5, 2012

10 Tips for Finding Good Art Deals

Well, we've been busy the last couple weeks! First, I have been privileged to teach not one, but TWO Coffee and Palette events. These events were held at our local church and I was asked to be the guest artist. It was an amazing experience and I think I learned just as much, if not more than, my students. I've especially learned about finding good deals on supplies and I'll share my not-so-starving artist tricks now:

10 Tips for Finding Good Art Deals

1. Buy canvas in bulk. 

If you can find a discount store with a large craft section, chances are they will sell pre-stretched canvases in multi-packs of 7-10. Some craft stores will also have the multi-packs and will allow you to use their coupons on them. Keep in mind, the larger the canvas, the more expensive it is.

2. Use coupons and sales.

Keep an eye out for those craft store sales flyers! I've seen canvas sell for as much as 60% off or buy one, get one free. Most of the craft stores around here offer internet coupons you can print if you sign up for the email listing.

3. Find a discount art store or wholesaler. 

One of the art stores here has a large wholesale warehouse that is open to the public. That's my favorite place to get brushes. They once had a box-style field easel for $30. (I still regret not getting that.)

4. For paint, skip the art section. 

If you're just starting out on painting, the price tags on tubes of paint can seem very intimidating! I'd recommend getting a beginner's kit (just the small tubes of paint and a palette). Then, as you use the colors, you can replace them with ones from the woodworking and craft paints section. They are usually much cheaper. Bear in mind the craft paint has a different consistency sometimes and you might want to research viscosity, etc. when you're ready to "graduate" to the art paints.

5. Think outside the box. 

Sea sponges at craft store: $5 for 4. Natural sea sponge loofah at grocery store: $2. Buy loofah, cut into 8 wedges. It works. 

Also, old paintbrushes with paint caked on can be soaked in alcohol (read that somewhere, but haven't tried it yet). Or, they can be used as stipplers and rough edgers.

6. Network with other artists. 

I only found the wholesale warehouse through recommendation of a friend. You never know who is a budding artist, who has old supplies sitting around, or who might make a good painting buddy.

7. Don't skimp when it's important. 

Two words: fan brushes. My sister bought a brush set and was fairly happy with most of her brushes, except the fan brush. She tried my fan brushes, then went out and tried to find the perfect one. She finally did and it was a little pricey. However, that is still her favorite brush and she uses it on almost every painting for something.

8. Take advantage of your local library. 

I've found a fantastic DVD series on famous landscape artists by David Dunlop at mine! I'm learning so much by not only watching these videos, but also checking out art books.

9. Buy what you need. 

Most of the art paints I've found are cheaper in larger sizes. However, if you aren't going to be using neon orange very often, a giant container might start to get old and separate. For an accent color like that, I would probably head over to the craft section and buy a small inexpensive container.

10. Paint with friends. 

I know I've said it before, but it's worth repeating. If you can find someone to paint with, your paintings will turn out much better (I suppose it depends on who you paint with!). Also, you can share brushes, split costs for paint, etc.

Painting Classes Update

Well, I didn't set out to share my money-saving tricks, but there you have it. Back to my painting classes. We had fifteen students in each class. The first class painted the coffee cup painting, the second a landscape. I think everyone in the first class was pleased with their paintings. The second class, I'm not sure. Theirs was much more difficult and we ended fairly late at night because of the difficulty. Still, everyone ended up with a blue sky, green grass, brown trunks, and pink blossoms. They all seemed to have a great time and several ladies have since told me how much they enjoyed the evening.

So when is the next one? We're working on it. I would like to do another before Christmas to keep the excitement for the classes going, but that's just around the corner! In the meantime, check out these process pictures I took during the practice session with my very patient husband:

 In case you're wondering, his painting is on the right and mine is on the left. The tiny painting in the middle is a result of being suckered into buying miniature canvases for two little girls and having leftover paint.

Isn't it cute? I had also bought myself a mini brush set specifically for this purpose and was dying to try it out. Coming up next are some Pinterest projects we worked together on.

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