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New Products From Various Art Suppliers

ART TIMES Oct, 2003

EVERY SO OFTEN, I give over my usual monthly grousing on my latest "piques" to share with my readers some of the new products that come across my desk. It is one of the many perks of my job to be on the lists of publicists who represent the ever-growing and various art suppliers who devote a great amount of their time to researching artists’ needs — and, as a way of thanking these companies for sending along such items to me gratis, I happily bring them to the attention of my readers. New art books — another perk I heartily enjoy — I of course share with you every month, but since other such art-related products come in rather sporadically, I try to wait until we are closer to the coming holiday season so that you might pass this column along to your loved ones before they prepare their gift lists. Though it’s nice to try out new products, it’s always nicer when they come to us as gifts! And speaking of gifts, Gail Speigel of Terre Verte, Inc., makers of Vasari Classic Artists’ Oil Colors, brought me three tubes of their paints — Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Lemon, and Cadmium Yellow Deep (anyone familiar with painting knows how handsome a gift this was!) — at our 20th Anniversary Celebration this past August. I’ve written about Vasari paints before (Peeks & Piques!, October 1999), and am still of the opinion that these handcrafted paints are top-of-the-line and would make a splendid holiday gift for that special artist you know. You might stop in at their new location at 323 W. 39th St., 6th Floor, (between 8th & 9th Aves.) in New York City, where Gail will be happy to give you a hands-on demo of her products. Another great present is Winsor Newton’s webbed carryall for the outdoor watercolorist. Replete with a sketchers’ pocket box containing 12 half-pans of Cotman Water Color w/pocket brush and plastic box; three watercolor brushes — Series 111 Round #0, Series 111 Round #6 and Series 666 #1/2"; a water color pad (140lb 10"x7"); plastic water bottle; two "hints & tips" booklets; and even a Winsor & Newton Art Towel (34"x23"), this is one of the handiest items that I have received. I recently used this product on a 3-day stay at the Jersey shore and found its flexibility and handy shoulder strap with extra little hidden pockets a great improvement over my little (but bulkier) wooden box I formerly brought to the beach with me. (There is, of course, nothing to prevent you from using this same carryall for pastels, or oils, or whatever). Another publicist sent me an "Ott-Lite" with adjustable arm, flexible gooseneck and practical clamp (for attachment to easel or desk or whatever) but found it more often in my way when I was painting and so keep it attached to my desk. I tend to move around a lot with large movements when I paint; the more careful painter of detail might find it just perfect. Still, a little more light in the studio never hurts and I appreciate their sending it to me for trial. These are but a few of the new products out there and I am always amazed at the ingenuity of art-supply companies in their keeping up with artists’ needs and desires. They’ve come a long way from their first efforts at keeping up with the plein airistes by coming up with traveling artists’ boxes and tubed paints. Surely many of these suppliers must have working artists on their staff who keep them apprised of new ideas and suggestions — and who better to let the manufactures know what really works? Happy creating and I hope that you also find some new gadget that makes your work just a bit easier or a new product that enhances your artwork.

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