It is not easy to purchase a gift for the artist. If they have been in their trade for long, you assume they have everything. If they have just started, you assume they need everything. You break out in a cold sweat trying to figure out what would make them happy. And if you rejoice because you finally have some idea of what you want, you have yet to explain the… thing… to the sales person at the art store (cold sweat part two). If you are in a similar situation, and the words masonite, mahl stick or palette knife make you think of an exotic themed dinner party, then I suggest you try something out of the ordinary: a gift certificate.

Some might think giving a gift card is impersonal, and does not show that you gave the gift the slightest of though. You could argue that a gift certificate can be purchased in a minute, at the last minute. But then you could end up with something the sales person made you buy and is not going to be of any use.

And then again, giving a gift certificate gives the recipient the freedom to choose something they always dreamt of or try something they never though of and could not budget before. It gives your loved one the chance to roam and dream in the art supply store (for hours if need be) and look at all the possibilities with fresh eyes. And if you are still not convinced, then why don’t you agree on a date to go together and offer to pay the bill at the end of the hunt.

This idea occurred to me because I was a firm supporter of the anti-certificate group until this summer. I received two certificates from my girlfriends for my birthday, and with that I started seeing things differently. I had an incredible amount of fun discovering new stores, tools, accessories, paints and glazes. Stroking and testing brush bristles for (at least) half an hour. Meeting new sales people who are true connoisseurs. And I have to confess, I might have purchased a couple of things along the way…

on top: new da Vinci brushes in sizes 12, 10 and 8; bottom: my trusty and very well loved old brushes. Size and brand have worn off about.. oh, a decade ago
Old hog hair brushes on the left and new synthetic bristles on the right. Cannot wait to see how these compare!
Ever since I got the SAI Akashiya watercolor pens I was longing to try a water brush. On a trip to a brand new art supply store I finally spotted one!
Craft knife and extra blades. I really have to be careful because these are extra sharp!
A collection of acrylic paints to supplement my basic palette: Naples Yellow, Violet Red, Burnt Umber, Ivory Black, Cadmium Red, Ultramarine Blue, Turquoise Blue.

After my little purchase I sent the picture of what I bought to my friends. And funny thing is, I made them as happy with my sparkly eyes and tales of adventure as their special gift made me happy. And I just might have heard a sigh of relief, because they said they would have never thought to buy me that … thing.

P.s. Thank you again Girls!