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22 April 2013 @ 07:00 pm
Art supplies are an addiction.  
The curse of returning home after a trip to a major art institution is that I find myself wanting to create my own work. But then, when I go to my art supplies, I don't have whatever it is I'm looking for. This has only gotten worse now that my art supplies are split between two locations - half still reside at my parent's house, while that which I need for my current art classes hang out at my main house - and what I want is always at the other house.

Paint colors are the worst. I'll think to myself, "I need burnt sienna. I have burnt sienna. No worries!" Then I'll start looking and realize that I have burnt sienna in watercolor and in acrylic, but I don't have it in oil, the medium I'm currently working with. Or I'll realize that while I have five different shades of blue, none of them is quite what I'm looking for - something will be off, like I'll mix to the correct color, but it'll be the wrong transparency.

Then there's the incredible temptation to buy something new. I've already got a set of chalk pastels, so I shouldn't need to buy anymore. But I've used up of just one or two colors, and while I could buy replacements I've always wanted to try XX brand so maybe I should just buy one of their trial sets and see how it feels. But then I'll have two half-used sets of pastels instead of finishing up the ones I've got. So I should just get the individual colors I'm missing. But how often do I pastel anyway? I shouldn't spend the money.

So I pop online to Blick and drool for a while, and suddenly hours have flown by and all I've done is scatter supplies all over the floor. Little has actually been made.

My poor husband. I don't know how he puts up with all of it.
Nechtan Albaflameelf on April 26th, 2013 11:54 am (UTC)
Somewhere, I have a post about addiction to art supplies!

There used to be a branch of Pearl Art Supplies up in Chicago that was in a building like an airplane hangar, and it was GIGANTIC and FULL of art supplies, even down to raw pigment. It was like going to a cathedral of art supplies! I would even make "art supply runs" or "art paper runs" to Chicago, planning on spending a buttload of $$ on stuff...and still not able to get everything I wanted! *laughs*

Worse, they were across the street from The Paper Source, and only a few blocks away from Aiko's, where there was the biggest collection of sumi-e supplies in North America (since closed). A buddy and I would spend HOURS going through everything and bringing home a small fortune of goodies that never looked like all that much once it was out on the tables at home...but it was still all good! *laughs*

What ended up 'helping' me was, I started pointing friends over to "art supplies" whenever they were buying birthday or Christmas presents. I still get jazzed over a simple new watercolour set!

I know the pain you feel about having a colour, but NOT in the right medium. I just discovered I need to buy about ten different colours of acrylics that I thought I had...but the old tubes were squeezed down to nubbins.

One thing you might consider is checking out garage sales, neighbourhood sales, etc. for art supplies. I don't recommend most 'wet' paints like acrylics in tube, but all 'dry' supplies that do not go bad over time (pencils, watercolour pans, paper) are worth searching out. I've found a LOT of supplies this way, often because either someone's kid started art school and never finished (and had a big box of supplies going wanting), or someone's dad/mom was an artist/graphic designer/draftsman who had a lot of stuff at home that no one now knows what to do with it all.

You know those draftsman leads for mechanical pencils (the 2mm sort)? They cost around $17 for a dozen of them in a regular art supply store. You can often find them for 50 cents a dozen on EBay, in all ranges of grade, from 9B through 9H. (9H must be like drawing on paper with a ROCK!!!) They never go bad, so they're a real bargain.

I've probably amassed more than anyone's good of both mechanical pencil leads (graphite and colours) and watercolour pans for a ridiculously LITTLE amount of money.

Now, STORAGE is a bit of a problem, as I've outgrown my taburet...

Grey :)
Suzik00kaburra on April 26th, 2013 06:46 pm (UTC)
I have found that when I direct friends/family to "art supplies" for presents, I'll tend to get either premade kits (usually full of items I already have) or low grade products because, even though I specified a certain brand, "You can get six colors with these instead of only three with the brand you chose!" Head, meet desk.

Right now, I live about three blocks away from University Art, which is probably the best art store in the city, and sometimes it is SO TEMPTING to just run down and pick up a little something to play with. But like you, I'm facing storage problems - I already have so much that I can't keep just trying something new. :-/

I should really start hitting garage sales in general! Sadly, they're always on weekend mornings, which is when I work. But they're always so much fun! Flea markets used to be pretty cool, but now whenever I go I'm struck by how many sellers seem to be professional resellers of cheap Chinese junk, rather than families clearing out their lightly-used stuff.