Wet Paint

Artists' Materials & Framing in St. Paul, MN


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Jumpstart Your Art with Mixed Media Collage

virginiaheadThis blog post is from Virginia, our Programming Manager at Wet Paint:

Join us in the Wet Paint classroom on Saturday, October 22nd for a 3 hour mixed media workshop with visiting artist Dana Brown.  You will make (and take) two unique mixed media pieces while exploring the potentials of Ampersand’s fantastic panels.  The workshop is offered twice – from 10am-1pm and again from 2pm-5pm – choose the one that’s best for you!

Mixed media collage allows you to experiment with dynamic compositions while you explore new techniques and materials. The change of approach from more conventional processes is great for generating original ideas that impact both the collage itself as well as your regular drawing and painting practice.

Dana is well known for the fun he brings to teaching, as well as his extensive knowledge of artists’ materials. This workshop is suitable for any level of art maker. It would be a great way to expand your experience of using a variety of media on the same surface, or just to try something different.

The $48 class fee includes all of the supplies we’ll use in the workshop: an 8×10 Claybord and an 8×10 Encausticbord for each participant, as well as Golden acrylic paints, Claybord/Scratchbord inks and the full line of Scratchboard tools, magazines for collage, drawing supplies, random materials for mixed media techniques, and essential studio supplies like brushes, glue and scissors. Register yourself – or your group – here.

More about Dana and Ampersand:

mixed102216Dana Brown is an artist from Austin, TX.  He has worked with Ampersand Art Supply for the past nine years educating artists and conservators from all over the world about Ampersand’s innovative contemporary artists’ panels. Dana’s personal art work is in a variety of media, ranging from oil painting to paper collage.

Originally from rural Iowa, Dana moved to Portland, Oregon, after completing his degree in studio painting. While there, he spent almost six years with oil paint company Gamblin Artists Colors, before moving to Texas to join Ampersand Art Supply. He loves working in the constantly evolving world of artists’ materials. He finds that this work reinforces his belief that access to information about the materials that we use helps support our personal, artistic intentions.

Ampersand Art Supply began hand-making museum quality panels in 1993, with the goal of offering artists  rigid, versatile, and permanent supports. Initially beginning with smooth, absorbent Claybord, Ampersand now offers ten different surface options; rejecting the, “one size fits all,” approach to painting surfaces. Ampersand hand-makes museum quality panels in Buda, Texas.

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40 Years of Collaboration: Wet Paint turns 40!

oldwetpaintFrom Wet Paint’s humble beginnings as the art supply section of the Hungry Mind Bookstore to the 5000 square foot wonderland of artists’ materials we’ve become, one thing has remained constant: the reason we’re here.  Serving one of the greatest creative communities in the world has been our honor and passion for 40 years.  As we celebrate this milestone anniversary in October, we simultaneously look forward to the next 40 years of providing the right tools for every artistic expression to the generations of creatives to come.

Like seeing some images from Wet Paint days of yore? We’ve made a little gallery of a few old Wet Paint pictures posted here!

Kicking off the anniversary festivities will be a month long exhibit of art by Wet Paint staffers at Sencha Tea Bar just next door to Wet Paint. There will be a closing party from 5-7pm on Sunday, October 23rd.

We’ve also come up with a number of ways for the community to help us celebrate this momentous milestone.  The most eye-catching activity will surely be our “Exquisite Corpse” project.  Following in the footsteps of the Surrealists who popularized this chance-based parlor game in the 1920’s, we’ve recruited a variety of artists to create a section of a figure.  These sections were collectively assembled to create crazy, mismatched people called Exquisite Corpses.  These near life-size artistic creations will grace the front windows of Wet Paint for the month of October. See photos of them on our Facebook page here. 

Note: want to participate in our Pocket-sized Exquisite Corpse Project?  Click here for information on how YOU can get involved!

The weekend of October 27-30 is when the celebration kicks into high gear!  Look for a variety of family-friendly anniversary events, as well as door prizes, raffles, refreshments, and more!  All events are free and open to the public.  See the tentative schedule below or check out our Events page on our website for more info.

Thursday, Oct. 27th: Exquisite Corpse Art Exhibit Opening Reception from 5:30-7:30pm

-Collaborative Pocket-sized Exquisite Corpse Project (ongoing through October): draw inspiration from the characters in the windows, or invent your own pocket-sized person!

Friday, Oct. 28th: Gel Plate Printing Party from 5:30-7:30pm

-Want to try printing with a gel plate?  It’s easy and fun!  Join Wet Paint staffer, Kate, and create your own monoprint card or artwork.  All materials are provided, just bring your sense of creativity and fun! Plus a sweet door prize!

Saturday, Oct. 29th:  All Day 40th Anniversary Celebration– door prizes, Exquisite Snake Origami Project, and more!

-Join our Collaborative Exquisite Snake Origami Project: led by Origamist, Kathleen Sheridan. Bring in some old coloring sheets, sketches/drawings, or colorful works on paper. Once cut to a square and folded, you’ll add them to become part the giant patchwork kinetic origami snake that will wind through the store! Plus door prizes, Pocket-sized Exquisite Corpse Project, and more!

Sunday, Oct. 30th: Sunday Sketch-a-Thon– all day sketching in the classroom

-The classroom will be set up for sketching  from intriguing artifacts courtesy of the Bell Museum of Natural History and more. Bring your own sketch pad and favorite tools for sketching/watercolor or use shared supplies from the classroom. Stay all day or stay for a few minutes! Drawing-friendly Door Prizes!

We hope to celebrate with you at one or all of these events!


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Learn to Paint from a Modern Master


This blog post is from Virginia, our Event Coordinator at Wet Paint:

At Wet Paint we are fortunate to know so many incredible artists, many of whom are also great teachers. Carl Oltvedt is one of them.


Reflections II


Carl taught at Minnesota State University, Moorhead, where he was a Professor in the School of Visual Arts for 32 years.  Back in the day, he worked for an art materials retailer in Minneapolis so his knowledge of art materials and uses is extensive.  You can see some of his paintings at Groveland Gallery where he is currently represented. His work is in national and international private and corporate collections. He currently has his painting Reflections II on view through January 2017 in the US Embassy in Olso, Norway.

Carl has a lot of credentials but he’s not intimidating…he is one of the most caring, attentive and skillful teachers you’d ever want to meet.

And here’s an opportunity to do just that when you sign up for Carl’s multi session  Introduction to Acrylic Painting class at Wet Paint, Tuesdays from 4:00-7:00pm, October 4th-November 1st.

In this class you will learn basic painting fundamentals – how to build a painting from start to finish, simple color theory and composition, and how colors mix and relate to one another.  The class starts out simply and more advanced technique is added in as the course progresses. You’ll be working from a still life. Paint and some shared supplies will be provided, though a few additional materials are required.

Starting a new medium can be daunting. Acrylic colors and mediums offer a huge array of choice which can be overwhelming. So it’s great to have expert guidance, a stretch of time to absorb it all, and materials chosen with your experience in mind.

I believe that real, long term enjoyment of a new medium comes from gaining knowledge of how to use the materials, combined with basic principles of art.  These foundations give the aspiring artist the best chance to realize their vision.  Whether you  are new to painting or painted years ago and want to get back into it, there is no time like the present to begin or begin again. I hope to see you there. Click here to find out more and register online.

Virginia McBride
Programming Manager

Space is limited…please register no later than Sunday, October 2nd


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Cornucopia of Classes

virginiaheadThis blog post is from Virginia, our Event Coordinator at Wet Paint:

If you’re like me, crickets, cool mornings and long shadowed afternoons still signal that it’s time for returning to the focus of learning.  Fall classes at Wet Paint are just the thing to support your continuing creative pursuits or perhaps introduce you to new materials or techniques for the first time.

Here’s a look at what’s in store:

You’ll find multi week courses in watercolor and acrylic painting, lettering, urban sketching, rosemaling and printmaking; daylong workshops  in encaustic painting, silverpoint drawing, and watercolor; and many single session classes ranging from book and paper arts to mixed media collage, mat cutting and alcohol Inks.

There are some new instructors and classes to point out:

Japanese woodblock printing taught by Wisconsin artist John Koch; Airbrush Basics and Airbrush Techniques taught by Rurik Hover; Introductory Rosemaling taught by Julie Anderson; Bullet Journaling taught by Deb Shanilec; Hand Lettering Styles  and Modern Brush Calligraphy taught by Jessica Chung; Beyond Coloring: Intro to Color Basics & Pattern Making with Jill Michell;  and a  series of 3 awesome Origami Projects with Kathleen Sheridan.

We are fortunate to be able to partner with some of our manufacturers to bring you a selection of classes featuring expert instruction and excellent art materials including :

Chicago artist Don Colley’s Master class featuring Pitt Brush Pens and more from Faber Castell; Mixed Media Collage on Ampersand Artists Panels taught by Texas artist Dana Brown; Mat Cutting with Brian Buell of Chicago-based Logan Graphic Products, Intro to Encaustic Painting and Oil and Cold Wax with R+F Handmade paints both taught by the incredibly popular Julie Snidle from St. Louis; Diana Eicher’s Linoleum Block Printing class and Family Print Day with Speedball/Akua printmaking supplies; Airbrush Basics and Airbrush Techniques featuring IWATA airbrush taught by Rurik Hover; and Hand bound Sketchbooks using CAVE handmade paper (from across the river in Minneapolis) taught by Bridget O’Malley.

In addition to classes you’ll find some incredible free demos and events this fall- an art history talk on 17th Century painter Jan Vermeer by Jim Robinson; a review of Faber Castell Pitt brush pens, Polychromos colored pencils and water soluble graphite with Don Colley; an introduction to egg tempera with 2016 Minnesota State Arts Board Grant recipient, Julie Jao; Ampersand Panels: Extraordinary Surfaces for Your Art with Dana Brown; Logan Mat Cutters with Brian Buell; and Water Media with Golden Artists Colors – a hands on demo with Bonnie Cutts.

With 45+ classes and events, It’s going to be a colorful and creative Autumn in the Wet Paint classroom. Hope to see you there!

Click here to see all the upcoming classes and events at Wet Paint!


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Wet Paint’s 3rd Annual Summer Postcard Project

Going somewhere fun this summer? Or, having a productive stay-cation? Draw, paint, or mix up your media on a postcard-sized paper and mail it to Wet Paint! We’re putting together an exhibition of mail art from our friends and fans wherever they may be. As postcards arrive, we will photograph them to share on our social media pages and then display them in our storefront windows. At the end of the summer, we’ll host a public art opening here at Wet Paint for all of the contributing artists!

postcardimage15There’s no limit to how many postcards you can send, but in order to participate, postcards have to arrive at Wet Paint via our friendly postal carrier – – no dropping them off at the store! Don’t forget to sign your postcard(s) and let us know how to reach you. We want to make sure we’re crediting you when we post the work online and we want to be able to contact you with details about the end of summer art opening on August 8th, 2016.
General Guidelines:
-We are a family-friendly shop, so please tailor your images & words to be suitable for viewers of all ages.
-We reserve the right to not display postcards that we feel are inappropriate for this activity.
-All artwork must be original.
-In order to have your postcard displayed in our end of summer exhibition, you’ll need to have it postmarked by August 2nd, 2016.
-All participating mail art must arrive at Wet Paint via US Mail.
-Keep in mind that postcards will “wear” a bit depending on how far they travel- which is part of the fun of mail art!
-Contact your local post office for shipping and postage information.
-Send one or send one every week! We’ve got big windows!

Wet Paint Address:

Wet Paint
Summer Postcard Project
1684 Grand Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105



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Wet Paint Staff Pick of the Day: Strathmore Learn to Draw Animals

We have such a wide and ever-expanding selection of journals/notebooks/pads at Wet Paint, we thought it would be fun to feature some of our staff favorites. Stay tuned to find out more about what we stock and maybe find a new favorite for yourself!

Today’s staff pick comes from Virginia: Strathmore Learn to Draw Animals

“Strathmore’s New Learn to Draw Instructional pads offer a pad and a class all in one. This spiral pad series combines high quality acid free Strathmore paper with Christopher Hart’s How-To-Draw techniques. This is ideal for beginning artists of all ages who want to learn to draw Animals, Cartoons or Manga.  Each page is laid out with the simple step-by-step mainly pictorial instruction at the top with ample room to follow along right below. The pads  also contain a couple of pages of general drawing concepts and techniques and numerous extra sheets to practice on. You can work at your own pace and many of the lessons have an accompanying Video tutorial on Strathmore’s website. It would make a great gift combined with a set of drawing pencils for the budding young artist or the coloring book enthusiast who wants to try drawing.”


Strathmore Learning Series

Quality Art Paper + Superior Instruction = Strathmore’s Learning Series
This innovative line of pads brings you art lessons from the most popular instructors. Each pad includes step-by-step instructions on quality Strathmore paper. Pads also come with follow-along online video tutorials for an integrated learning experience. Paper is very good for pencil, colored pencil, charcoal and sketching stick.
The first 3 products in the Learning Series line feature instruction from Christopher Hart, the world’s bestselling author of how-to-draw books.
Pad Features:
-Pads are wire bound and acid free
-30 lessons per pad
-10 online video tutorials per pad
-8 blank pages for practice
Made in the USA

Click here to see all 3 pads in the Learning Series!


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Wet Paint Staff Pick of the Day: Stillman & Birn Alpha

We have such a wide and ever-expanding selection of journals/notebooks/pads at Wet Paint, we thought it would be fun to feature some of our staff favorites. Stay tuned to find out more about what we stock and maybe find a new favorite for yourself!

Today’s staff pick comes from Liz: Stillman & Birn Alpha Series

“Truth be told there’s hardly a sketchbook I don’t like!  It’s the allure of the sketches to come and stories each book will hold that pulls me to them all.  However, as an avid sketch-journaler there is one I always come back to that meets all my mixed media needs: Stillman & Birn’s Alpha Series books. My favorite is the 7×10 wire bound.  The paper holds up to my favorite Holbein watercolors and Platinum Carbon ink, and it works with the Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen brush markers for quick color applications.  And colored pencil and graphite glow on Alpha’s bright white surface!  This book also holds up to light gluing with a gluestick so all my trinkets and mementos can be included in the pages. With the variety of sizes and option of a hard spine, there’s one for everybody. I particularly love the 7×10 as it fits in my bag and provides enough room for my creativity.”


Stillman & Birn Alpha Series:

Stillman & Birn stands out in the crowded sketchbook market, offering a unique collection of archival quality, premium sketchbooks designed to work with many different kinds of media. Only Stillman & Birn offers a sketchbook system, allowing the artist to choose the paper weight, shade and surface type to suit their specific techniques. All their papers have both internal and surface sizing, providing exceptional wet strength. All their papers are true art papers that withstand multiple erasures and are suitable for precision work.

The Alpha series features heavyweight 100lb./150gsm paper and it has a natural white vellum surface intended for all dry media and will accept light washes. It is available in both hardbound and wirebound formats.

Click here to see the entire Stillman & Birn line of sketchbooks!



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Wet Paint Staff Pick of the Day: Rhodia Pads

We have such a wide and ever-expanding selection of journals/notebooks/pads at Wet Paint, we thought it would be fun to feature some of our staff favorites. Stay tuned to find out more about what we stock and maybe find a new favorite for yourself!

Today’s staff pick comes from Kate: Rhodia Pads

“Having the right tools when learning a new skill is essential to maintain engagement and mitigate frustration. When I started learning calligraphy, I was constantly trying new papers to practice on and eventually fell in love with Rhodia for its performance as an economical and wonderfully smooth paper for pens. Rhodia makes grid, lined, blank and dot grid pads and books in so many sizes and formats it is hard to pick just one. For calligraphy practice I use the grid, but keep blank ones nearby for freehand design work and dot pads for geometric doodling. Whether using metal nib or fiber tip pens, the reliable surface that Rhodia provides is joy to have at hand.”

Rhodia Pads

The French notebooks with a cult following! Rhodia is known for high quality, exacting standards and timeless design. These economical pads are a favorite of artists & designers, writers, notebook fans and people who like to use graph paper for notes, sketching and hand drafting. People love them for their smooth paper & iconic cover- the classic orange has been around since 1934! Today, they have expanded their selection to include blank, lined, and dot paper and are available in a variety of formats, colors, and styles.  Click here to see our selection of Rhodia Pads!


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Wet Paint Staff Pick of the Day: Decomposition Books

We have such a wide and ever-expanding selection of journals/notebooks/pads at Wet Paint, we thought it would be fun to feature some of our staff favorites. Stay tuned to find out more about what we stock and maybe find a new favorite for yourself!

Today’s staff pick comes from Tina: Michael Roger Press Decomposition Books

“These are built like the composition notebooks you’re used to buying for school, but the ruled pages in these journals are made with 100% post-consumer waste, and the variety of interesting cover designs are printed with soy inks which contain fewer volatile organic compounds than the usual petroleum-based inks. These notebooks are great for journaling and note taking on any and all subjects, and though they are either ruled or gridded, they are fun for sketching, too.”

Michael Roger Press Decomposition Books

This line features clever cover designs and a number of eco-friendly attributes, including: 100% post-consumer-waste recycled pages; and soy ink printing, which contains fewer VOCs (volatile organic compounds) than regular, petroleum-based ink and is also easier to recycle. Includes 80 Sheets (160 Pages) of college-ruled paper. Made in USA

Click here to see all the options!  Plus, for Earth Day, we have them all 20% off now thru 4/24/16!


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Wet Paint Staff Pick of the Day: Fabriano Ecoqua

We have such a wide and ever-expanding selection of journals/notebooks/pads at Wet Paint, we thought it would be fun to feature some of our staff favorites. Stay tuned to find out more about what we stock and maybe find a new favorite for yourself!

Today’s staff pick comes from the owner of Wet Paint, Beth: Fabriano Ecoqua Pocket Journal

“I have found small notebooks to be life savers.  I keep one with all my computer cheat sheets.  I keep another that are just my ongoing “to do” list and “follow up” lists.  These little notebooks fit into a hip pocket easily.  When I want to remember something, I just write it down rather than trying to keep a running list in my head.  It is part of my mindfulness training, less multi-tasking, more thoughtfulness of just doing one thing.  The little books are tactile and its way more interesting to use a nice pen or pencil than type into a phone.”

Fabriano Ecoqua Pocket Journal

These sweet little 3.5″ x 5.5″ minimalist notebooks – grouped economically in 4 packs of warm or cool colored covers – are convenient go-to journals that you’ll want to stash in every bag. EcoQua pads are perfect for writing and drafting with pencil, ballpoint pens, fountain pens, and marker pens. Made in Italy of Environmentally-friendly, FSC certified paper that’s Chlorine-free, acid-free, and completely recyclable. Choose from blank or dotted paper. Click here to see our selection of Ecoqua!