Archive for the art supplies Category

[#art] A Change of Carrier

Posted in art, art as a career, art supplies, creative process, creativity, liff on June 14, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
I’ve decided to join the messenger-bag generation.

It’s cool. I’m usually a few years late to just about any party, anyway.

If you don’t know if I’m hangin’ around or not, you can usually tell that I’m here if you see my backpack. It’s a habit I picked up never-you-mind how many years ago and I’ve probably kept too long, but in an unfriendly world that don’t love you back no matter how hard you love it, you have to have your security blanket.

We all do, I think. I fancy I’m just a bit more honest about it than some. Then, I care less and less what anyone thinks about what I do as I move through this part of my life; I’ll do what I can to cope.

My backpack has been part of my identity for a long time. It holds a lot of things that are important to me that I want to keep near; the sketchbook I’m not drawing in; the book on creativity I’m not reading or using, the art supplies I’m apparently hoarding up against the apocalypse. But backpacks encourage a sort-of hermit crabbish-ness, in which I carry my notional studio on my back. As long as my right shoulder isn’t killing me (how I’ve avoided tendonitis all these years, I can’t tell you) I figure I can carry anything. Or everything.

Whether or not I can kickstart my own engine, a touch of parsimony is called for, I think. Will it improve my creativity at all if I don’t figure I have everything I need and inspiration will spontaneously combust from inside the recesses of the thing?

I don’t know.  Anything’s worth trying once.

I also have a taijtu (see illo) patch that will simply look stunning on the flap.

And so it goes.


[art] You Can’t Legislate A Man’s Neck; or, Art in the Art Supply Store by the Employees

Posted in art, art humor, Art Is Local, art supplies, art supply retailers, I've Been Framed, PDX art stores, pdx artists on December 31, 2013 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
This is one reason why I love my favorite art stores, and one reason why we have to have more than one.

I have rhapsodized in past missives about my two beloved east-side art supply sources, I‘ve Been Framed and Muse Art and Design. Today’s IBF’s turn for some sloppy love. They both have different characters, each unique from the other, both like sides of a whole.

Kind of like this taijitu here.

Both are friendly, both are crazy knowledgeable, both almost-unsanely-affordable, but where Muse is cool, ordered, and tailored to fit its location, IBF is kinda wild, kinda wooly and exuberantly unafraid of being what it is. And, today, what it is is a happenin’, accidental gallery for its employees.  I wasn’t looking for anything this day, The Wife™ was. I come out of the long corridor of decorative papers …(and tho IBF on Foster is in a small building, it seems to go on forever … like ‘dis …)

… and I look at this, and can’t stop giggling.

Flesh Beard. You can legislate a lot of things, but you can’t legislate a man’s neck … Well, yes and no. In American culture you certainly can’t argue the point, but during the French Revolution they legislated a whole lot of men’s necks, if I understand what goeth on thereth correctly. Turning about a quarter of the clock’s turn to the right, we have a windowpane simply full of delight.

There is some connection between Nathan (whoever he is) and coffee (or, perhaps coffeee) that we will have to leave to more learned heads … Erich VanDaaniken, say, or Richard Hoagland, perhaps … to puzzle. At this time, I can only bask in the infinite power of such a connection.

Another incident where the inanimate speak. First, it was ‘bacon bits‘. Now …

I guess that colors having an off day. GEDDIT? OFF … COLOR!!! Let’s try it with the bonus Commonwealth U: OFF COLOUR!!!! My God this is comedy gold!

A couple more for good measure, or least odd measure

It’s the newest model, 70s cool, with all the options (as noted)

Stravinksky from the Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain school.
And whooo’s your Daddy? I guess we’ll never know.
The illustration of the building façade? You know I’m in love with this.
Is it any reason a visit to IBF leaves me feeling kid-antic inside, and full of the idea of the possible?
My recommendation to you, dear artist friend, is to also adopt both IBF and Muse. Do it. Don’t argue with me. Just go.
And don’t forget to stop and smell the art along the way.

[art] How-To Art, in the Days Before North Light Books, et. al.

Posted in art, art how-to, art materials, art supplies, DIY Resources on December 9, 2013 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis

While assistance in creating one’s self an artist has been been findable, the format has gone through some surprising (at least to YT) evolution. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, in retrospect, but it just seems amazing to me that the how-to art book hasn’t been anything other than a medium-to-large, glossy, fun-to-look-at and exciting-to-hold explosion of color and photography that makes you feel as though you’re looking over the artist’s shoulder as they demonstrate it to you.

But art how-to books weren’t always the satisfying fun that they are now. Found about a week back at Periodicals Paradise that, quite honestly, surprised me in its aspect. Here’s what it looks like:

How To Draw and Paint, by Henry Gasser. This paperback … in the popular format so widespread in those days … claimed to be able to impart to the beginner the techniques needed to get started in a variety of media and popular materials. And it’s just this little paperback.

The introduction sounds big-chested and confident:

“Do it yourself!” Every day new thousands of American men and women alike, are discoverign the fun, the deep and lasting satisfaction they can derive from making things themselves, with their own hands.

This book is addressed to the aristrocrat of all “do-it-yourselfers” – to you, the beginning artist. Whatever your goal in art – whether you hope to become another Rermbrandt, a top-flight commercial artist, or just a happy amateur – How to Draw and Paint should help smooth the way for you.

Makes some big promises to be sure, and the enthusiastic and chest-thumping “American DIY pride awesome” text not only connects the urge to learn to a great democratic American tradition but also pats the self-trained artist on the back with special strokes – you aristocrat, you! But after leafing through this book, those promises are more than just hand-waving, huffing-and-puffing. Somehow, the artist-author has indeed managed to squeeze into this little 240-page book the basic tips and ideas that wouldn’t get you all the way to Rembrandt stage but some first steps on the road, and if you were looking for enough protips to start arting around for your own self, well, this would probably get you most of the way there.

And casein! This little guy will get you started in casein, which I don’t see a lot of how-tos on these days. His wheelhouse, it is big.

The obverse, as can be seen above, is an ad for the Grumbacher line of art supplies, a line whose name stands pretty tall as one of the American old-guard, and whose products can still be found in art stores today, though its reputation seems a bit more pedestrian than the Gamblins and such … more of a poor-artist’s Winsor and Newton.

What really surprised me was the amount of availability this book had as far as even this edition went. I found it for sale on eBay here, here and here.  It’s apparently been through several printings; this availability on Amazon UK suggests a larger format and a more modern cover.

If you ever find one of these in a used bookstore, get it. It’s a fun read, and actually kind of solid, even in todays world of art how-tos that do everything but draw your drawings for you.

[art] Radio Station Stationery In The Close Out Bin At I’ve Been Framed

Posted in Art Is Local, art supplies, liff in PDX, PDX art stores on April 17, 2013 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
2923.I’ve gone on and on about our favorite art-supply sources. I get silly. Sorry about that, but being smitten, you get silly in public.

Our faves are faves for slightly different reasons. I’ve Been Framed‘s superpower is getting castoffs and closeouts. When you walk into the friendly storefront on SE Foster Rd just off Powell Blvd, you know what you’re walking into, but you can never be completely certain as to what you’ll walk out with.

Like this, today:

This, my friends, is retired stationery from KKRZ – Z100. It’s nostalgic. It comes from not too long ago, the age when Portland radio didn’t suck, back when you could find more than conservatalk and Yet Another New Groundbreaking Country Station.

Now I’m crying softly inside. Wait … okay. Bettah now.

Anyway, I’ve Been Framed.

You guys know the place. Go there, or you just have some issues, I tell you.

[art] It’s Gamblin Torrit Grey Time!

Posted in art, art supplies, Gamblin Colors, Torrit Grey on March 27, 2012 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
2794The spring is sprung and that means grey, but in more ways than one. Of course, there’s that particular Oregon gray, the sky that never stops giving us its water, but for some years now, Portland’s own Gamblin Artist Colors does a singular thing.

Gamblin’s Torrit Grey is a unique pigment. Every spring, they collect the pigments that are captured by the shops Torit® brand air filtration systems. When you mix all colors together, you don’t actually get black … they neutralize and you tend toward gray. And the sum total of the color of all the pigments collected by the Torit are just a little different each time round, depending on what sells, how much of what gets made, and suchlike.

Well, Gamblin has just announced the game is on with the announcement of this year’s Torrit Grey contest. Each year, Gamblin distributes tubes of Torrit Grey to art stores throughout the area, and is complementary with purchases of Gamblin products, just for the asking. You create some amazing value-based art with Torrit Grey and enter it in the contest.

Information is available here:

Game on, peoples.

[art] Muse Art and Design-Earth Safe Finishes Demo at Milepost 5

Posted in art classes, art supplies, art supply retailers, art tools, Milepost 5 on March 8, 2012 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
2792So, yesterday night, The Wife™ and I took part in a demo/workshop put on by Muse Art and Design at the Milepost 5 complex. The subject of interest is a line of art supplies by Earth Safe Finishes (, and we found the whole thing nifty as a rule.

Earth Safe Finishes is a company working in the field of ‘green’; the line is different, they say, for two main reasons. First, they’re made in the USA, which is always a plus these days, and second (and maybe more important to an individual artist) they boast that they’re free of VOC’s, or volatile organic compounds. These are the chemicals that allow the paints, mediums, etc to dry quickly by outgassing. For those who are chemical-sensitive they are an active concern.

If they are a concern for any individual, then Earth Safe Finishes products do indeed provide an alternative. They are all non-toxic. They include mediums (including a titan called Fabric Magic, which can do just about anything, it seems) and a line of paints (called colorants but now called pigments) that are very very concentrated. A few drops do go a loooong way.

I used very small amounts of Phthalo Blue, Red, Yellow, and Lampblack to produce this Mona-Lisa-esque work over the two-hour workshop:

The colors are very rich and vibrant and enjoyably workable. The right side of the picture was me playing around with colors and a medium. 
A good time was had by all, and the Musers Marcus, Peter and David were there, and did their own works; I found all three to be skillful artists … albeit with visions running toward the comically disturbing. Good thing I don’t have clown issues … and let’s leave it there. Susan, led the demo had a sure and informative hand over the proceedings, and the people who showed up were all very affable and friendly.
In short, fun.