It is a new year, and I want to extend a belated gift to all my followers!
All my 9 x 12 inch watercolors and my 7 x 10 inch watercolors are matted with a backing board to fit 11 x 14 inch frames and 8 x 10 inch frames respectively. Frames that are a standard size and easy to purchase.
They are ready to frame and trackable shipping is included in this new price ( to USA and CANADA)!
Start the New Year off with a piece of original artwork for your walls. ENJOY
With holidays around the corner, or maybe you have a birthday gift to get or for whatever reason, art can make a great gift.
You don't have to invest in huge framed paintings and break the bank, but you can still offer art in different ways.
Art print greeting cards is just one affordable way. They can enjoy the sentiments you write inside and then enjoy the print on the front, signed and titled by the artist. (ME!)
I created these art print note cards by printing my artwork onto quality Canson watercolor paper and then permanently affixing them to Strathmore blank watercolor cards. I have signed and titled each one.
If You Prefer an Original Piece of Art to Give as a Gift...
Another affordable option is my "two gifts in one". These are matted original watercolors that have been affixed to a Strathmore card. You can write your note inside and then it can be displayed as a card or quickly popped into a 5 x 7 inch frame to hang on wall.
A nice card with sentiments that is also a gift of art to frame.
There are many different ways to give art as gifts. I hope you enjoy shopping in my store for some ideas for the people on your list this year or for yourself. There are many different price ranged ideas.
Hand Painted Mixed Media Bookmarks
This is another affordable option to give art as a gift. These are original mixed media piece of art that are protected in a plastic bookmark sleeve. If you have an avid reader on your list this year, give them something original to remember you by.
These bookmarks are fun and whimsical and a great stocking stuffer or gift idea. Just click on the picture to see more.
If They Collect ACEO Art Cards..
This is another option that is literally under 10 bucks! Original little art trading cards that measure 2.5 x 3.5 inches. Many art lovers collect these cards to save in albums or to display in frames. They are an affordable way to enjoy original pieces of art and are shipped in protected card sleeves.
Enjoy art in many forms, it doesn't just have to be a frame on the wall and a lot of money. There are so many different ways to give art as a gift. ENJOY!
After a lot of requests, I am pleased to announce that I have started creating my own art print cards.
These are prints of my own watercolor paintings, that I have printed onto quality Canson watercolor paper and then affixed to a Strathmore 5 x 7 inch watercolor card. These cards include matching envelopes and I have signed and titled each card.
Would make a great gift for the art lover!
The card is blank inside ready for your own inspiring words. Could also be framed in a standard 5 x 7 inch frame.
Check out my store under the category "Art Cards". Stay tuned as I will start to add more. If you are looking for cards that are a little different, then you will like these ones.
As with all my art I offer free shipping.
Great works of art have been started at kitchen tables!
You do not need a huge studio (although it would be nice) to get creative! But you do need to get creative to make your small space art studio..
After downsizing to a smaller house, I had to get creative with my own art space. It all depends on your craft of course, but for me it is painting with acrylics and watercolor and the only space available was in our bedroom..
Try to Decide on your Favourite type of Art
This is hard for any creative person, but if you want to stay organized, try sticking to a particular type of art to get the most out of your studio. For me this is painting. I don't create large pieces of work, but I still need a place for my paints and other supplies. I did invest in a couple of storage items by following these steps, and was able to fit everything I needed in a part of my bedroom underneath the window from a huge basement studio!
Step 1 - Collect all your Supplies - From around the house in boxes, and gather them in the same room as the space you have decided on. Remember the space doesn't have to be big, it can be a corner of the kitchen, but once allocated, you can get to work.
Step 2 - Sort Your Supplies - There is no point in trying to store dried paints, broken items, or things you will never use. At this point, create 3 separate piles. One for Donation, one for garbage and one for Keeping. You will feel so much better for getting rid of garbage and donations. Value Village took many of my supplies, as well as a friend in a garage sale. Now you can see just what you are working with. Why store things you won't use?
Step 3 - Utilize Vertical Space - Meaning if you don't have much floor space, try and use as much wall space as you can or tall dressers or tall drawers on wheels. Minimize how much floor space you use and go up.
By getting your paints off the desk, table or floor, you not only make room for your artwork but you have neat storage where you can see every bottle. (Note: Most 2 ounce bottles of paint have the color on the lid, but if not quickly dab some on as you put them away)
This one will hold 81 bottles. You could hang a second one on the wall beside it or above it if you have the room. This is easy to use and great storage for less than 60 bucks. Check the current price online to see if this would work for you.
Step 4 - Make Every Bit of Space Count - I invested in a tall set of drawers on wheels. This was perfect for all my smaller bits and pieces, pens, stamps, pictures etc. I made one of the drawers my "idea drawer" rather than leave my ideas on scraps of paper all over the place. I decided everything has to count "double time" So what I do like about this set of drawers is that the top is usable space as well. I have used this space many times for my photos of cards I paint and sell on ETSY.
You can get these at many art supply stores, but I did find good deals online and usually free delivery, so check this one out. I have a similar one in my art studio. What I really like about this unit is that it takes up very little floor space. You can get double width ones, but I needed it to rise vertically instead of taking up horizontal space on the floor if that makes any sense? They can fit a lot and easy access to your supplies.
Step 5 - Your Art Desk or Work Surface - Maybe you use a small desk or even a kitchen table, you need to make it work double time for you. Meaning it can somehow or other house accessible storage. I prefer to keep things off the work surface but you can get bins from the dollar store that stack on one end of your table.
I use the dollar store all the time for small bins and containers for brushes, pens and pencils. I then use online for the larger pieces. I got this adjustable table similar to the one below last year for my birthday. I love this especially for my drawings as I can adjust the surface with some storage underneath.
Step 6 - Admire your Small Art Studio Organization! - It is amazing just how much you can fit into a small space art studio, especially once you have had a good clean out. If you take the day and really look at your supplies. The one thing I noticed, is that you tend to collect many things as an artist or crafter, many things that you really don't need. Remember go LEAN AND CLEAN!
Go Lean and Utilize the Dollar Store - The dollar stores have become my best friends because they have so many storage containers especially clear ones so that you can see what is inside. I have a few book shelves that I use clear plastic tubs I got from the dollar store to store things I don't use all the time but don't want to throw out. If you take the time to label these containers you will not be tearing apart your little studio looking for them.
Once a Month Have a Clean Out - The best part about having an organized small art studio is that you will take a bit more effort to keep it clean, especially if it is part of a family room. After a session of creating, if you have garbage or recycling, deal with it now. This keeps your little studio humming along.
Portable Art Studio
Another idea I came across for anyone who literally has no room for storing supplies.
The case on each end of these pictures is on wheels. So that you can set yourself up for your crafts anywhere and then keep everything you need tucked away and place in a closet or out of sight when not in use. They hold a ton of supplies, and perfect for art classes too.
Organizing a Small Art Studio may seem stressful at first, but I felt really good for having a good clean out and organizing. I had a full basement in my last house which made it easier to spread out all over the place. I have adjusted to a much tinier space quite comfortably.
My small space art studio is always a work in progress. I was lucky enough to have a little nook of book shelves that housed a lot of my supplies. I still have to get better at clean up after a creative session, but at least I keep my desk clean!
Don't let a small space stop you from being creative. For many including me, having a creative spot to play easily makes me a better person. Make your small art studio easy to use, everything accessible and have a place for everything!
If you love to create with all kinds of mediums including wood, here is a brilliant and affordable way to age the new unfinished wood you may have for your projects.
Having that grayish patina can look awesome and add a distinctive look to your piece. It adds age. You can purchase all kinds of expensive products that will do the same thing, but this has got to be the easiest way yet. As long as you can afford at least 4 days to let the solution work, you can create this aged wood look in less than an hour.
First Step - Find a clean pail with a tight fitting lid. Enough to hold your vinegar and equal amounts of water.
Second Step - Wearing protective gloves, tear apart the steel wool and place in the bucket.
Third Step - Pour your plain white vinegar into the bucket (this works on a 50/50 solution of vinegar to water so make sure your bucket is big enough and it also depends on the size of your project as to how much you need) Do not use the water just yet.
Fourth Step - Let these two ingredients soak (steel wool and vinegar) for at least 4 days.
Fifth Step - After 4 days check it out, it will look all muddy and rusty. Add equal amounts of water to the solution as vinegar and stir with a paint stick. (In the video she used a 1/2 gallon vinegar and used the same bottle for the water)
Sixth Step - Using a clean paint brush, paint the solution on your unfinished wood and watch the magic start within an hour.
That is it! Check out this video for a more visual look.
If you love to paint on furniture, or maybe you want an aged wood look for your painting frame, this is a great way to achieve it.
It can take years to have wood turn that silver/grey look. I used to look for old barn wood, and now many antique stores sell it, but it gets very expensive. If you don't mind a bit of work, for the price of some white vinegar, steel wool, a bucket and a paint brush (you may even have all of these items at home!) you can knock that "too new" look right off the unfinished frame.
Unfinished Wood Works Best for Aging Wood
You could try and sand an old piece of wood or frame to get every bit off, and give it a try, but so far I have found better luck with new pieces. You can get plain wood frames online, or you can make them yourself. Get the cheapest pine and then get creative with this aging process. As you can see in the video, it can really give that rustic look you are going for.
Try to Keep Frames for Paintings Uniform Size - Keeps Your Costs Down
If you sell your artwork at shows, fairs or even give as gifts, framing can get very expensive especially if your work is a unique size. To keep your costs down, try to keep your artwork to such a size that a common sized frame will work. Especially if you sell it without frames (as I tend to do!).
An Entire Page of Unfinished Picture/Art Frames online
Customers don't want to have to pay a lot extra for a special made to order frame which can get very expensive. But if you do sell it framed, try this process instead of numerous coats of paint or stain.
Rustic Look to Frame Your Artwork
If you love the idea of a rustic looking barn wood frame but without the splinters, then get unfinished ones online as above, or find deals, just make sure they are unfinished so the vinegar and steel wool process will work its magic.
I absolutely love this patina, and it will pretty much match most decors as it is not too bright or too dark, just right.
I used to do a lot of painting with acrylics, and then a couple of years ago, I ventured into pencil drawing and then watercolor.
I fell in love with watercolor right away as you can see in my store. But as I learned more and more about this medium, I also found that this type of art is best displayed in frames behind glass. Which is great, but now I find that a bit limiting. I have many leftover unused larger canvases in my studio from my acrylic days, and figured I would go back to that medium one day, but right now I love watercolor but would also love the idea of displaying my work without a frame just like the acrylic and oil artists.
Now You Can Watercolor on Canvas! - Can Be Used On Many Different Surfaces!
By using this product on a clean unused canvas, you can create the base necessary to accept watercolor. If you try to paint with watercolor on a regular purchased canvas, it has a gesso base which would not absorb the paint, it would simply pick off or roll off, this is why most artists use specialized watercolor papers. But if you prep the canvas with this product, you create the base necessary to create your artwork.
Hang it On the Wall Just Like The Other Art Mediums
Since it will not be behind a frame it is suggested that you protect it with a matte varnish when done, which is what I did with my acrylic paintings. This means you can show off your art without having the expense of a frame.
I found a video on this product, check it out below:
You Can Buy This Through Amazon
I tend to purchase many of my art supplies online. It is so nice to have other options to display your watercolor paintings. I was quite excited to find this product because this means I can use my canvases (is that even a word?) I had stockpiled (I always purchased them when there were deals) and use the medium that I fell in love with.
Now You Can Paint a Large Canvas without Expense of a Frame!
I love how you don't have quite the same control with watercolor paints, and that it can have a mind of its own, but the results can be awesome! Don't get me wrong. I still like to mat and frame my smaller paintings on paper, but it would be nice to do a much larger painting without having the expense of a super large or custom frame.
If You Don't Want This as a Project You Can Purchase Special Watercolor Canvas too!
If you don't have any canvas laying around, and you really don't want the extra work of preparing a regular one, you can also purchase specially made watercolor canvas online too. Check it out.
Enjoy your watercolor experience even more, with these different options!
If you would like to create what I call "functional pieces of art" such as one of a kind furniture, there are products that will help you avoid all the preparation that used to be involved. You can do this WITHOUT sanding or stripping old surfaces!!
I found this chair at a thrift store for 5 bucks. There was nothing wrong with it, and I wanted something in my front entrance to sit and take your shoes off and to look good and show off a bit of my art and whimsical ideas.
It was a light slightly worn varnished chair to begin with. Sorry I don't have a before picture, but these were very common kitchen table chairs. If you would like to paint furniture without sanding, then try this method. I eventually sold this chair to an admirer.
Step 1 Thrift Store or Your Own Wooden Furniture - Once you have found a sturdy chair or actually any piece of furniture that is in solid shape, take it home and find a place to work.
Step 2 - Work Space - Create an area in your home, where you can freely work without interruption and where you can leave it out to dry when done. I personally am not a fan of working outside, although the natural light is better, but bugs and dust can glue so easily to your work.
Step 3 - Clean - This is not sanding, this is cleaning. Take a household cleaner and totally clean this piece to get rid of built up dirt and wax. Then go over it with a wet cloth to get rid of any cleaner residue. Let it totally dry. You don't have to use toxic supplies. You could even use a vinegar/warm water combo.
Step 4 - Gather your supplies. The best product on the market (in my opinion) for covering previously finished furniture is ZINSSER. This product will create a "tooth" between the finished wood and your paint. I like to put 2 coats of this on everywhere. You can then use acrylics, or oils or whatever your favourite paint is over top.
You can get this product in most home improvement stores or online as above with Amazon.
This one is water based which makes limited odor and cleanup much easier. I have used this product for a number of years on all my painted furniture for myself and for selling. It can not only prime bare wood and metal it "sticks to all surfaces without sanding". My only advice is to make sure your piece is clean. You want the original surface whether that is varnish or paint, just get rid of as much dirt and grime and loose bits as you can.
I found this old wooden bread box in a thrift store for 10 bucks. It had old varnish on it, I simply cleaned it with some vinegar and water, let it dry then used 2 coats of the Zinsser Bulls Eye Primer following can instructions, then went ahead and painted my scene in acrylic paints.
Step 5 - Paint 2 Coats of Zinsser - I liked to use an old brush or you can use those foam brushes, but make sure you completely cover your piece and get right into the corners. Remember this will be your new surface you don't want any old varnish not covered or your paint won't stick. Let dry between coats, just follow the instructions. I personally would split this project into two days. First day vacuum it, clean it, Zinsser it and call it a day.
Step 6 - With fresh eyes and optimism, gather your supplies and get creative! I loved to used delta acrylic paints, but on larger surfaces I would just head to my hardware store or online and mix the background larger areas in a water based house paint - small tin. This is much cheaper than going through your art supply paints. If you use oil then you would need oil based. I always preferred water based paints as I do a lot of painting in my house, basement or garage. Try to have as much fresh air coming in as possible.
Step 7- Varathane or Varnish Your Work - Once you have got creative and have done your painting whether its your latest masterpiece or simply painting a dresser a new fresh color, you need to protect your work especially on pieces that will be used.
This is my favourite brand and always will be. You can get this in matte, semi-gloss or gloss, personally I have always used the semi-gloss. I found it gave a nice sheen without being too shiny. If you prefer gloss then whatever works for you. This product really does a good job of protection, but I would put on 2-3 coats, let dry in-between and don't use the piece of at least a week if possible to really let it cure and harden.
Step 8 - Let it Cure To Harden - Follow the instructions on the can, but I personally like to leave the piece out of the way for at least a week if you plan on using the piece such as chairs and dressers. Just my own opinion, but you want to make sure it is good and cured and ready for use.
Step 9 - Take a picture and Admire your Work! - You are done. You have taken that tired piece of wood furniture and you have turned it into something magical. Whether you simply just painted it one colour all over or you added your personal artistic touch, it is your work and now this piece has a new lease on life.
Old Coffee Table got a New Lease On Life. I painted the entire piece in Zinsser first (2 coats) then did my painting in water based house paint on the top and then painted the rest of it a cream colour. I put 2 coats of water based varnish all over and an extra coat on my image. You could also decoupage something to the surface if you wish for added interest.
This piece was destined for the dump when I found it at my local thrift store as the finish was worn.
You can paint furniture without sanding with the right products. I have friends that swear by stripping old paint and varnish, but that can be so toxic! If you are trying to achieve the original wood grain then that is the process you would have to go through, but why not paint it instead??
I get a huge kick out of taking junk and turning it into one of a kind pieces. I would sell them too, or take customers pieces and create one of a kind artwork. Have fun!
Before and After Picture of an Old Dresser I painted for a customer
This customer wanted a mauve color and bold flowers over the drawers. This dresser was very robust but had seen better days as you can see in the first picture.
After cleaning, and using my Zinsser primer, I let it sit a day, then the next day purchased my colours and got creative. I actually sponged the mauve for a marble effect. I then coated the entire piece in semi gloss varathane. I kept it for 10 days to let it totally cure as she was going to use this dresser in her bedroom.
Definintely one of a kind piece now!
As you can see from my above products painting furniture without sanding is totally possible and a lot of fun. Recycling at its best! Functional pieces of art not only bring a piece of furniture back to life, it upcycles and shows off your work!
Although in my online store here you see watercolor paintings, I also work with acrylics. I just hope I have inspired you to get creative and haul that old dresser back out of the garage and turn it into a piece of functional art! Have a great day!
I have added another ink and watercolor in the theme of the "tutu". When my daughter was little, she just loved this tutu. She wore it until it fell apart. She would perform her little dances to anyone that would watch and even when there was no audience she would pretend.
Even helping with household chores wouldn't stop her from wearing the ballerina tutu and dreaming.
I painted this on Canson 140lb watercolor paper measuring 9 x 12 inches. It will be matted behind an 11 x 14 inch (outside dimension) acid free mat and backing board ready for your choice of frame. Enjoy!
When my daughter was quite young she received a pink tutu for her birthday and from that day forward it was worn over everything.
First thing in the morning it went on over her pajamas, and she would perform her little dances to anyone who would watch, or to anyone who was sitting on the couch. She didn't even care if they didn't watch she was in her own dream world and to her this was the stage and she was the ballerina star.
I tried to recapture the little girl in the tutu with ink and a dip pen then watercolor wash, putting the focus on the little girl and her audience fading into the background, because for this little girl she was a star in her tutu.
I do wish as adults we could recapture that fantasy world and try a little harder to dream and have fun as this little girl is doing right now.
This painting is done on a 9 x 12 inch piece of 140 lb Canson watercolor paper, and it will be matted behind an 11 x 14 inch acid free white mat ready for your choice of 11 x 14 inch frame.
As my drawing and especially watercolor painting becomes more and more a part of my life, I decided I want to be able to take it on the road.
At present, I take pics with my cell phone when we are out for a drive, and make a few notes in my notebook, then when I am home I print the picture and then create my ink and watercolors using my picture as a reference. But I was toying with the idea of being able to actually spend an afternoon somewhere in a park and paint "plein aire" which of course means to paint on site.
I don't want a cumbersome setup, I don't really want to stand out too much, was thinking a portable easel that I could sit at a picnic table for example, or in a hotel room, or whenever the mood strikes. I came across this portable watercolor easel that I will be asking for my birthday this year! (a great way to get extra art supplies) This particular one comes with supplies especially for watercolor artists. Check it out:
There are many easels on the market and it really depends on your painting personality as to how large you want or how portable it must be. For example if you rely on public transport you don't want to be lugging around a larger easel. I thought this was perfect as the supplies are designed to fit in the provided drawer space and it comes with a bag so you can also carry your watercolor paper and have everything in one spot.
The only thing I noticed that did not come with the above portable watercolor easel set was a good set of clips to keep your watercolor paper stretched and to actually hold it on the easel especially if you are painting outdoors, you don't need that strong wind taking it away.
I love the idea of things neatly packaged up and everything having its place. This would also make a great gift idea to any creative person on your list.
At home I have a tilted desk that makes it easier to draw and paint, but I am certainly loving the idea of this portable watercolor easel that I could setup super quick (anything that needs a lot of fussing simply doesn't work for me.) You just need to have a source of water if you use watercolor paints and that is it.
Quick set up, and get right down to business. I thought it would be cool to draw and paint the skyline from a hotel window that we recently stayed in, so having this set would have been super handy, this is what got me researching different portable watercolor easels.
Shopping Online for Art Supplies
You may have checked out my previous post on how to find cheap art supplies which should give you some good ideas, but I have also found comparing prices online helps a lot, especially with Amazon. Many of my name brand supplies are cheaper this way. If you love to create then keeping your supplies in check will also keep your budget in check. So this full kit that I don't have to stock works perfect for my next travel date or even a day in the park.
Happy April and Happy Creating my Fellow Artists!
Hi there! My name is Diane Palmer, and I love to draw and paint. I love to try new things, and in this blog and my website you will see the results of my artistic endeavors!