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Best Christmas Gifts for Artists

A Little Inspiration To Help You Choose the Best Gift for an Artist: Paint, brushes, art materials all spring to mind, but have you thought of a creative holiday as a Christmas gift for anyone who loves art?

A Little Inspiration To Help You Choose the Best Gift for an Artist: Paint, brushes, art materials all spring to mind, but have you thought of a creative holiday as a Christmas gift for anyone who loves art?

Ten Gift Ideas for Creative People

So many people love to draw, paint or express their creative self through making objects or images and what better way to support and encourage their artistic expression than through gifts that artists would really treasure?

I'm a professional artist myself and I run art courses for amateur artists and I've thought of a few ideas and chosen a few gifts that I think artists, professional and amateur, would love to receive for Christmas. This guide is really aimed at people who paint and draw but it might also help with gift ideas for other artists and creative people.

The first thing that springs to mind are art materials, and here you ares spoilt for choice. I've chosen a range of gifts from Luxury items and basics through to stocking stuffers and fun little arty objects. But have you thought about the gift of a magazine subscription, art books, picture frames or, my first choice, an art holiday?

Luxury Painting Gifts for That Extra Special Occasion

  • Ten Luxury Christmas Gifts For Artists
    Are you looking for special gifts for artists? The artist in your life would love a creative gift with that extra touch of luxury - special art materials that are that little bit indulgent.
Have you thought of giving the gift of a painting holiday?

Have you thought of giving the gift of a painting holiday?

1. Painting Holidays Are Great Christmas Gifts for Painters

What is the best and most useful gift? Knowledge. The best gifts for the artist in your life is the gift of knowing the basics of how to paint and draw, and what could be nicer than combining this with a wonderful holiday? Show your love by giving something that will give a lifetime of pleasure.

Choose a painting holiday or an art break that will be relaxing, thought provoking, fun and oh, so indulgent. Great Christmas gifts for artists but perfect for gifts for any occasion!

There are so many different painting holidays to choose from all over the world so you will be spoilt for choice. First of all think where your artist would like to spend a week or two and what they would like to do. There are art courses for painters, sculptors, fabric artists, printers, jewellery makers ... in short everything you could think of.

Go Learn To and Krazart are just two of the many sites that list Art holidays.

Unfortunately, I am having to delete all the links to the products as I try to find out what HubPages is objecting to in my article. Soon there will actually not be any pictures of the gifts suggested. Please do return as, should the advertising not be the problem, I will return and re-establish the product links that are really a key part of this article.

How to Choose the Best Painting Holiday for You

Art Materials Are Always Welcome

If you would like to have a gift to unwrap, why not choose from some of these art basics? Every artist needs a good easel suited to their needs. They need paint and brushes. Believe me, artists just love a brand new selection of bright, clean colours and super-smooth brushes! Show your love by giving something that will give hours, weeks, months of pleasure.

Basic Painting and Drawing Materials

A basic set of acrylic paints will go quite a long way!

A basic set of acrylic paints will go quite a long way!

2 Paper and Sketchbooks

Get the right paper for the right job. I've chosen a water colour block from Amazon but you might like to buy an all purpose sketch pad, Ingres paper for pastels, canvas paper for acrylic paint or special paper for oil paint. Hand made and Japanese papers are specialist papers and make lovely gifts.

You can buy the papers in the form of a block, or bound into a lovely sketchbook.

Every artist should have a sketchbook by their side - you never know when you might see something exceptional or when an idea might spring forth. The sketchbook should be a place to make visual notes, written notes, to store ideas, colours, textures - anything that might get those creative juices flowing. I always liked to have a bound, hardback sketchbook and I have kept every one of them - for future reference and for a march down memory lane.

3 An Artist Always Needs Paint

There are many different painting media to choose from so you need to know if the artist uses only one medium or several. Would it be a good idea for your artist to branch out and explore other media? You can buy starter kits of oil paint, acrylic paint, water colours and gouche or you could buy single tubes or cubes of special colours. White oil and acrylic paint seems to disappear fast!

With acrylics artists sometimes use different media to get different effects - to speed up drying time or to slow it down, to make the paint glossy, transparent or to thicken it for impasto. Have a look at my guide to acrylic paint media (below).

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Artists also need palettes, turpentine or white spirit, inks, pencils (charcoal pencils, pastel pencils, colour pencils and watercolor pencils as well as a range of ordinary graphite pencils).

Painting and Drawing Materials

There is a whole wide range of painting and drawing materials to choose from including oil paint, acrylic paint, water colour paint, brushes, media, pencils, pastels (chalk and oil pastels), charcoal and conté, erasers, sharpeners, palettes - I could go on! Surely there is something for everyone here.

A Guide to Acrylic Media and Oil Painting Materials

  • Oil Painting for Beginners - Tools and Materials
    Oil painting tools and materials for beginners. Which are the best oil painting materials and tools to buy for a new artist? How do you choose the best art supplies? How do you avoid buying art materials that you don't need? This guide will help you
  • Acrylic Paint Mediums
    Love painting but don't like oils because they are messy, smelly and take forever to dry? With acrylics and acrylic mediums you can paintings with a wide range of possibilities but without the fuss. Acrylic paints are clean and water soluble so you..

4. A Good Easel is an Essential Tool of the Trade

It really is essential to have a good easel so that you are looking directly at your subject and your work - no need to change the plane of view. This makes it easier to get the drawing correct and avoids looking at your work 'in perspective'.

You can buy a desk easel for indoor work on a small scale like the one shown here, or you can choose a lightweight travel easel for outdoor work. For larger drawings or paintings indoors you can buy a tripod easel but best of all is a solid studio easel that will last a lifetime.

Oriental Furniture Fan Calligraphy Set

5. Brushes are Things of Beauty and Precision

There's nothing like a brand new paint brush. A paint brush is a critical tool and to have one in in pristine condition is a great thing. Personally I haven't noticed any difference in quality between nylon and squirrel or sable brushes but your artist might also need hoghair brushes depending on the type of painting they do. Take a peak at the brushes they are currently using and buy a brand new set - they'll be sure to come in handy.

One of the brushes I loved most of all was a bamboo brush, an oriental calligraphy brush, of the sort used by the Chinese to create decorative lettering. Why not get a set of these with inks and a book on how to paint the oriental way?

6. Art Books and Books About Art

A really good art course book is a great gift, but choose carefully. Avoid the 'how to paint a rose' type of book - roses are infinitely different! Choose instead a book that will open out the possibilities of painting or other arts and guide a student through different techniques and open their eyes to the fundamentals of seeing.

An essential part of improving artistically is to have a good grasp of what artists have done in the past and here there is a world of books to choose from. You can buy a really good Art History classic such as The Story of Art by E H Gombrich, or choose any one of the sumptuous books on art movements or great artists. Do choose one with really good illustrations though.

Then there are all those lavish coffee table books on individual artists with large, glorious color pictures. I loved to sit with a book on my lap hoping to uncover the secret of painting great paintings.

7. Picture Framing

Once your artists have painted their masterpieces, they'll need to get them framed. If you're hand you could make a picture frame for them yourself, which would make a wonderful gift, but if not why not buy an antique picture frame? There's a wonderful range of old picture frames on eBay and on other sites on line. Alternatively, scour jumble sales and car boot sales for frames that you can spruce up and present at Christmas.

If you find the right frame you can buy a pack of gold-leaf so the artist can while away a few hours practicing the craft of gilding.

If your artist is a real DIY enthusiast you can buy card for mounts and a mount cutter - even a glass cutter,- that way they can make the whole frame themselves.

8. Arty Stocking Stuffers

What about searching the web for fun little arty gifts? Try putting in key words like Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, keyring, T shirt, Impressionist Poster etc Zazzle and Cafe Press are great sites for finding lots of little gifts, and you can load up your own photos and add them to a whole range of gifts.

You could use your artist's own work and put the image onto a mug, a tea towel, sticker .... many, many products and personalise your gifts still further by adding text and photos. Have fun at these sites crafting that special Christmas gift yourself. Take a look at my shop for art inspiration LesTroisChenes on Zazzle

9. What About A Magazine Subscription?

There are so many art magazines out there for professional and amateur artists - so why not give a year's subscription to inspire and instruct? A great way to learn is by looking at work by other artists.

The Artist, Leisure Artist and Artist and Illustrator are the ones that I know best, but a quick search on the internet will bring a whole list of magazines.

10 Art aprons

Keep it clean with an arty apron. There are so many options to choose from but a wipe-down material is essential.

Need yet more ideas?

How about an art poster for inspiration?

A subscription to the local galleries is always a great and inspiring gift. On the same lines, how about tickets to a really big art show?

There are some great films about artists - Caravaggio, The Girl With a Pearl Earring about Vermeer or Miss Potter about Beatrix Potter. I know there are many more films about art and artists to choose from.

Adult coloring books are really therapeutic and calming.

Small gifts could include packs of postcards or greetings cards to send to friends.

For more lavish gifts you could look at art-inspired jewelry, Limoges porcelain boxes or arty objects like tea-towels or kitchenware sporting famous paintings.

For the technologically minded, how about a Sensu Artist Brush & Stylus to paint right into your smartphone or tablet? A 3D Printer or a sketch tablet such as Trust Slimline Sketch Tablette graphique or similar.

A light box might be a good idea - so that sketches can quickly be transferred?

Has This Helped You To Find the Perfect Art Gift?

© 2011 Barbara Walton

What Are Your Painting Gift Suggestions?

knitstricken on January 02, 2013:

What a lovely introduction this lens affords to you, to your passions, to the lovely place you call home. Nice to squidmeet you! :o)

Barbara Walton (author) from France on July 09, 2012:

@Susan_Moss_Art: It would be lovely to see you here Susan. Great place for painters! (Mind you, everywhere is a great place for an artist ...)

Susan_Moss_Art on December 29, 2011:

Definitely the next trip will be to visit lestroischenes, sounds wonderful. Great lens Barbara.

Barbara Walton (author) from France on December 09, 2011:

@sarahrk lm: Wouldn't it be lovely if we could have a Squidoo holiday here, (although I doubt that I could put verybody up!). Be the first. Thanks for visiting Sarah

Barbara Walton (author) from France on December 09, 2011:

@Scarlettohairy: Thank you for these kind words Scarlet! You can book one of course! Would love to see you.

Barbara Walton (author) from France on December 09, 2011:

@Close2Art LM: Many thanks for dropping by and for your blessing. Do come and stay, you'd be my very first angel.

Barbara Walton (author) from France on December 09, 2011:

@traveller27: Thanks, Heidi, for my first blessing on this lens. So pleased you liked it.

sarahrk lm on December 05, 2011:

I would love to go on an Art holiday and just enjoy the scenery. Sounds wonderful.

Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on December 04, 2011:

Your art holidays sound wonderful! Wish I could book one right now!

Close2Art LM on December 03, 2011:

very nice, some great picks too, I would like to visit France and draw,Blessed..:)rob

traveller27 on December 03, 2011:

Great lens - blessed by a travelling angel.

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