Wet Paint

Artists' Materials & Framing in St. Paul, MN


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Is That a Pencil in Your Pocket?

There’s been a lot of attention paid in the media to the pushback against digital tablets in favor of, well, tablets.  It seems that more and more folks are discovering (or rediscovering) the appeal of making marks on paper.  And while you hear a lot about all the different kinds of notebooks out there, the tools that are doing the actual writing and drawing are sometimes less recognized.  What better way to “fix” that (pun intended and explained below) than to cast a discerning and appreciative eye on our old friend, the humble pencil?

IMG_6447For many people, a pencil has a wooden, yellow barrel with a pink eraser on top.  That describes Dixon’s Ticonderoga, amongst others, and we’ve got ‘em at Wet Paint.  We’ve also got lots of pencils specifically made for drawing.  Artist-grade pencils are like the fancy cousins of the “yellow pencil”…they’re related, in that they have lead encased in a wooden barrel.  The big difference is the very high quality lead they contain and the fact that this lead comes in a bunch of different hardnesses (see the guide below), allowing the artist to make a range of marks from smudgy dark to scratchy light.  Caran d’Ache produces a remarkable artists’ graphite pencil called Grafwood – 15 hardnesses of the nicest graphite you’ve ever used.  Czech company Koh-I-Noor is credited with the creation of the graphite pencil we know today…Wet Paint stocks their Toison D’or line of artists’ pencils.  We also carry high quality pencils from German Faber Castell, Austrian Cretacolor and English Derwent.

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Sometimes a pencil is that thing that clicks when you push down on the eraser and lead comes out.  Those are known as mechanical pencils and we’ve got tons of those, too.  Modern mechanical pencils are available in four standard lead sizes – .3mm, .5mm, .7mm and .9mm – and a variety of lead hardnesses (though not as many as artists’ pencils).  Pentel’s new Orenz actually comes in a teeny tiny .2mm, but it’s the exception!  One of our favorite new mechanical pencils is the OHTO SHARP .5mm wooden mechanical pencil.  It looks like a small, regular pencil, but it clicks!  Available in three appealing colors…I think everybody on staff owns at least one of them!

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The architects and engineers reading this may have their hands in the air at this point, because there are also mechanical style pencils that hold larger lead sizes than the four I mentioned above.  Lead holders, as these are called, accept lead sizes from 2mm to 5.6mm.  This heartier lead is perfect for the demands placed on it by makers…of buildings and art.  One of our most popular lead holders is the Fixpencil (remember my pun?) from Caran d’Ache.  Available in several lead sizes, color accents, and surfaces, the Fixpencil combines workman-like durability with sleek Swiss design…they are very handsome tools.

Back to the basic yellow pencil.  Some of our favorite writing tools are essentially “regular” pencils, just more stylish.  The Blackwing pencil, for instance, only comes in a few different hardnesses, but in a multitude of limited edition finishes and colored barrels.  The unique square ferrules and replaceable erasers make them stand out from the crowd.  Speaking of standing out, my favorite #2 pencils of all time have to be the Viarco Vintage series pencils.  Both pencils and packaging are faithful reproductions of Viarco products from the 1940s to the 1970s. These boxes are so authentic, a slip of paper had to be added to accommodate a bar code! These six unique 12-pencil boxes are designed in Portugal using long-established production methods, and the quality you’ve come to expect from Viarco.  They are almost too fantastic to use.

Oh, and we’ve got notebooks, too….


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Verra’s Paper Pick of the Week: Thai Heavy Embossed

Have you ever bought something that you then forgot about? Well, I have.  I was recently stocking a new paper purchase in my flat files and came across some papers I had brought home for a project a long time ago! These forgotten sheets were Thai Heavy Embossed with “Ficus Leaves.”  This entire Heavy Embossed group has a very soft feel and off-white color.  I bought these sheets a while back with the intention of using them as a window treatment.  I knew I didn’t want curtains, so I thought these sheets would be lovely attached to the window with a little adhesive putty.

I cut the sheets down to the appropriate sizes and discovered that, when cut, the paper has a very soft edge- which I love. I might experiment with adding a little color to them… but they also look just fine as they are (why mess with a good thing?).  I can’t wait to see what they look like once they’re up.  I’ve left them out – so I don’t forget them again! –  and plan to put them up at home soon.  I’ll try to get a good picture of the finished product if I can (feel free to ask me about my new window shades the next time you’re in the store!).

The “Thai Heavy Embossed” group of papers are 22×30″ and handmade in Thailand.

Also, this is a fantastic show and will be up for another 2 weeks- until May 13 at the Textile Center. Mary Hark’s indigo dyed handmade paper and fabric is gorgeous! Check it out!

verrapaperblogMy name is Verra Blough, and I have been the Paper Department Manager at Wet Paint for 25 amazing years.  Wet Paint stocks over 20,000 individual sheets and 2,000 unique styles of paper, including papers from all over the world: China, Canada, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Philippines, Portugal, Thailand, and the USA.  We have some locally made ones, too!

Whether you’re looking for a surface for drawing, painting or printmaking, or a decorative sheet for bookbinding, invitations, or collage, I have the good fortune of seeing all of them and working with many of them…it would be my pleasure to help you find the perfect paper for your project.   With that in mind, I will be  blogging about paper each week, highlighting some of my favorites, as well as some helpful hints.  Let’s get started in exploring paper!


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Thinking About Hard Edge Abstraction This Week

Great friend and customer, Dr. Michael Path, dropped by Wet Paint yesterday with a beautiful monograph he’d told me about on a previous visit.  Somehow I had never heard of the California abstractionist John McLaughlin (1898-1976), but seeing the reproductions in Dr. Path’s book made me excited to see the paintings in person.  As it turns out, I could have seen a bunch of them at the recent LACMA exhibition…if I had known about it before it closed on the 16th of April (and I was in Los Angeles).  Rats!

A show I also would have liked to have seen in person was the Carmen Herrera show at The Whitney last winter.  Herrera is another artist that I – and apparently many others – hadn’t heard of prior to her highly acclaimed career retrospective, even though she’s been working consistently for over 60 years, and continues producing new paintings at age 101.

Besides being largely ignored, then rediscovered, by the mainstream art establishment, McLaughlin and Herrera share another thing in common: their work falls into the category of “Hard Edge” painting.  This term was first used by curator Jules Langsner in his catalog introduction to the show Four Abstract Classicists at The San Francisco Museum of Art in 1959 (McLaughlin was one of the four painters exhibited).  Although the phrase was coined in the mid-century, this style of non-figurative, geometric abstraction dates back to the early twentieth century in the paintings of Hilma af Klint, Kazimir Malevich, Piet Mondrian and Josef Albers.  The heyday of Hard Edge painting & sculpture, though, was definitely the late 1950’s thru the mid 1970’s as romantic Abstract Expressionism fractured into “cooler” movements, notably Pop, Mimimalism, Light & Space, and Hard Edge.  Artists like Frank Stella. Kenneth Noland, Anne Truitt, Ellsworth Kelly and Jo Baer created their signature abstract works at this time.

As the recent McLaughlin and Herrera shows demonstrate, there continues to be great interest in geometric abstraction, and a new generation anxious to relearn and reinterpret the modes associated with it.  German born Tomma Abts, the first woman to win the Tate’s prestigious Turner Prize, is perhaps the best known of a new wave of artists interpreting Hard Edge with a contemporary eye (check out her sculpture at the Walker the next time it’s on exhibit).  Closer to home, Lisa Nankivil, Ann Pibal, Ruben Nusz, and Melanie Pankau (all with connections to Minneapolis) are creating art that has traditional Hard Edge painting at its root, but all four are taking their work in unique and exciting directions.

NIJT-Nichiban-251-TapeEvidenced by the breadth of approaches from just the handful of artists above, there is no one Hard Edge style or technique.  There’s also no one particular material required for creating hard edge art.  That said, there are a few supplies that we’ve seen artists return to over & over.  The “edge” in Hard Edge usually arrives from masking one area from another, and our favorite thing to do that with is Nichiban Masking Tape from Japan.  As our friend Roz Stendahl once said: “This tape is so good, it should have its own name (besides masking tape).”  Super thin (no “ridge” to your “edge”), fantastically adhesive, and easy & clean to remove, if you use tape anywhere in your painting practice, you should use Nichiban.  Eliminating the “hand” of the artist – the gestural brushstrokes associated with a more expressionistic approach – is a hallmark of many Hard Edge paintings.  Golden Artist Color’s Self Leveling Clear Gel produces an even, transparent film when added to acrylic paint, so your color fields are smooth and distraction-free.  Finally, unlike our sister stores on the coasts, we don’t have as many canonical artists dropping by for paint.  30-ArtistTubesGRPHowever, we have supplied two famous Hard Edge painters and both chose the same paint: Lascaux Artist Acrylic.  Seemingly every acrylic says it has a creamy, oil-like consistency, but Lascaux really delivers…gorgeous color that handles like a dream.

 

I hope that, like Dr. Path and me, you find inspiration in the work of these artists.  I look forward to seeing you at Wet Paint soon!


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Verra’s Paper Picks of the Week: Thai Banana & Thai Mango (yum!)

I really enjoy working with papers, especially ones with natural inclusions- like flower petals, grasses, bark, and leaves.  They’ve got to be some of my all-time faves!  If you like gardening like I do, you have to explore the “Thai Banana” and “Thai Mango” sheets- they are so cool to work with!

The sheets are mulberry and kozo fibers with added inclusions.  The “Banana” group is filled with banana leaves and pieces, while the mango group is filled with – what else – lots of mango leaves.

I have used these sheets for many projects, but one of my favorite was to create table decorations for a garden party- it was a blast! I covered little glass votive containers with a little help from some double-sided tape, added a flickering LED light, and voila! Cute lights!  I also covered glass vases with the paper (again using double-sided tape) and then filled the vases with fresh flowers. Easy peasy, floral centerpieces! I felt it created a magical look without a lot of supplies…I have always been of the mind that “less is more.” With spring upon us, I can’t wait to find more ways to incorporate Thai natural papers to other garden projects.

Sheets are 25×37″ and machine made in Thailand.  Thai Banana is available in 20 color options and Thai Mango has 17 color choices.

verrapaperblogMy name is Verra Blough, and I have been the Paper Department Manager at Wet Paint for 25 amazing years.  Wet Paint stocks over 20,000 individual sheets and 2,000 unique styles of paper, including papers from all over the world: China, Canada, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Philippines, Portugal, Thailand, and the USA.  We have some locally made ones, too!

Whether you’re looking for a surface for drawing, painting or printmaking, or a decorative sheet for bookbinding, invitations, or collage, I have the good fortune of seeing all of them and working with many of them…it would be my pleasure to help you find the perfect paper for your project.   With that in mind, I will be  blogging about paper each week, highlighting some of my favorites, as well as some helpful hints.  Let’s get started in exploring paper!


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Green is our favorite color

loveearthWithout a lot of fanfare, many of the small companies that manufacture and distribute art supplies have been going green. I was just reading that very few industries overall are welcoming recent rollbacks of our US environmental protections.  Major companies see no need to turn this train because it serves their customers and shareholders to keep their promise to be more efficient and reduce their long term impact.  It seems that most companies do care about the long term effects of their methods and, more importantly, find that green tech is good for the bottom line. Maybe a few are cynically labelling themselves “eco-friendly” to get into the pocket of the SRCs (Socially Responsible Consumers) but those customers are not just the stereotypical college professors and yuppies.

Most importantly, in my opinion, we learn that plenty of companies that are new or expanding make a business decision for their facility that has more to do with their operations than their marketing department.  We figured that this week we’d call out a few cool things that we’ve noticed happening in our niche of the economy beyond strategically investing in LED replacement bulbs.

  • MABEF has been producing fine painting supports in Italy since 1948.  Their “French Easels” are iconic gear for the outdoor and portable painter . It turns out that MABEF uses only Forest Stewardship Council certified beechwood in their products, meaning the wood has come from a forest and supply chain that is managed responsibly.  Even the scraps and saw dust from the manufacturing process are converted to wood pellets that heat the MABEF factory and offices.
  • Artograph makes light tables and projectors and has been bringing their production of some of these products back onshore to the US (in nearby Delano, MN) which reduces the fuel used in shipping and transport.
  • Stabilo (Markers, Pencils, and Pens) added an environmental officer in the early 90s and pays very close attention to where their products come from and where they end up after the artist is done with them. I like their FAQ.
  • Gamblin Artist Oils has a page that wisely talks about the safety of the artist in the same breath with the safety of the environment. Their Gamsol product is designed with both in mind and every oil painter should be familiar with these safe studio practices.  They are like a lot of other manufacturers that also power with wind and are sharply on top of their waste management.
  • DaVinci Brushes relocated their new factory in 2006 to cut the commute of their staff and keep them close to public transport. The facility is green and happy employees are good for business!

Making paper consumes a lot of water in the growing of the pulp plants and in the papermaking process.  The manufacturing process can contaminate waste water with bleaches and other chemicals. Also, the product is just plain heavy to ship, which drinks a lot of fuel.  All of our manufacturers are addressing these issues. Here are some good examples of where their care with our resources makes good business sense:

  • Clairefontaine (Rhodia) makes some of our most popular softcover note/sketchbooks. Like more than a few other companies they use only pulp from managed forests.
  • We have several companies that use renewable plants for their stock, like the Lokta papers we were featuring this week and papers made with hemp or kenaf fiber.
  • Strathmore, Bee and others mills routinely now use 20-30% PCW (Post Consumer Waste) in their sketch paper. That’s a big deal as 20 years ago “recycled” was usually pre-consumer, meaning that a company was just re-pulping waste material and overstock found in their facility. Now they buy from companies like our local Rock-Ten and keep my shredded credit card offers out of the landfill.

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Some of this corporate responsibility is visible on the packages, but not all of it is shouty big green “ECO-Friendly Organic Paintbrush” stickers with treefrogs and leaves on the labels. I went looking and found these everywhere, not just in the brands mentioned here.  I encourage you to grab the pads on our shelves and read the inner or back covers to learn more about each pad’s sources. It’s there and I’m impressed.  If you don’t see it on the packages, hit the manufacturers’ websites or ask us and we’ll have a chat with our vendors.  It’s not all of them, but I have been really lifted up to discover that this has been threaded so thoroughly throughout our business over that last couple of decades that it is now just a fact of how we do business and I cannot expect any of this is going to be dropped in the next few years.

Absent the protection of law, the good news from 2017 is that few companies would turn their back on the consumers who want them to be responsible and only a poor quality business would think they could survive in the long term by being purposefully neglectful of their natural resources.

Heavy. Maybe next week we’ll investigate the practices of craft breweries and distilleries that compost and send their spent mash to farms for cattle feed.


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Wax on, wax off

Encaustic, a mixture of wax, pigment, and resin, is unlike any other paint…it’s not wet or dry, it’s hot or cold.  This makes it easy to start, stop, modify, and layer.  Encaustic does require a little more preparation than other paints – you need a heat source to warm it and decent ventilation for dispersing the fumes & gasses (generated when you heat something).  However, once you’re set up, the painting possibilities are nearly limitless.  It can be polished to a high gloss, carved, scraped, layered, collaged, dipped, cast, modeled, sculpted, textured, and combined with oil paint. It cools immediately, so that there is no drying time, yet it can always be reworked. Besides its versatility, encaustic is also very durable.  Wax is a natural preservative, so it protects its substrate.  It’s also very flexible, so it won’t crack or chip.  Just don’t leave your wax-based painting in the back seat of your car in August after you’ve been rejected from the State Fair…I’m not saying that happened to me or anything.

Painting with pigment & wax is a practice that dates back to antiquity.  The Greeks were painting their ships with wax as early as the Fifth Century BC…first to waterproof them, then – adding pigment – to decorate them.  The process of painting with encaustic reached its apex in the paintings that are known as the Fayum Mummy Portraits.  Beginning in the 1st Century AD, panels bearing the likeness of the deceased – painted in encaustic –  were mounted to the bands of mummified bodies prior to burial in Roman occupied Egypt.  This practice continued for nearly 300 years, until cultural and economic changes brought on by the fall of the Roman Empire – as well as cheaper, more immediate paint options – led to its disuse.  Encaustic mostly languished in obscurity until curious 18th Century antiquarians rediscovered the paint of the ancients.

Encaustic painting has had a real renaissance in the greater Saint Paul/Minneapolis area over the last dozen years.  A huge part of that can be traced back to our old friend – and accomplished encaustic painter – Jeff Hirst.  Many artists have had their introduction to painting with wax in workshops in Jeff’s Northeast Minneapolis studio.  These folks have gone on to become notable encaustic painters and instructors themselves, including former Wet Painter Jean Wright (who just taught a sold out class of her own at Wet Paint a few weeks ago).  If you want to turn out good like Jean, get yourself enrolled in one of Jeff’s workshops here…they’re all over the country!  Back to classes at Wet Paint: Saint Louis based artist Julie Snidle will be back this summer to teach her hugely popular encaustic, cold wax, and Pigment Stick classes.  If you haven’t signed up yet, you should…Julie’s classes have never not sold out!  Finally, if you don’t live nearby, but are interested in hot wax, Saint Paulite Clare O’Neill teaches online encaustic workshops at photoencaustic.com…check ‘em out!

RFhandmadePaints__beauty_cakesAnother fun thing about encaustic right now?  We just unpacked a box with twelve brand new encaustic colors from R&F in “easy-to-try” 40ml size blocks.  Check ‘em out here!  These join their “big brothers,” R&F’s 104ml encaustic blocks, and Enkaustikos Hot Cakes, in the encaustic department.

RFhandmadePaints__pigmentsticks_beauty_1Earlier, I mentioned Pigment Sticks and cold wax.  Let’s say you like the look & feel of encaustic, but the heat & ventilation are a problem.  Great news: there’s cold wax and Pigment Sticks!  Cold wax is a medium and finish used with oil paint to achieve encaustic-like effects without the heat.  Simply mix a little color in to your cold wax medium and apply to your substrate with a knife of brush and…mmmm, satiny lustre!  Wet Paint stocks cold wax medium from Gamblin, Williamsburg, Dorland’s and Michael Harding…we should have the right one for you!  R&F’s Pigment Sticks are an oil paint & wax combo in easy-to-use, easy-to-hold sticks.  Paint with ‘em directly on your substrate just like drawing with crayons, or use traditional painting tools to apply the color.  We have 102 colors of gestural lusciousness in two sizes.  Wanna get hooked?  Go see Joyce Lyon’s beautiful paintings at Groveland Gallery or watch this enticing video of Charles Forsberg. Both cold wax and Pigment Sticks can be integrated into either your encaustic or oil painting process.  Once you’ve introduced wax into your painting, though, it’s best to continue using it.

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Wet Paint is your “go-to” source for wax-based painting supplies and instruction!  Besides everything mentioned above, we also stock Enkaustikos Wax Snaps & HotSticks, mediums & waxes from Enkaustikos, R&F and Jacquard, and Encausticbords from Ampersand.  If you haven’t tried using wax/encaustic, I can’t recommend it enough.  There’s a real romance to the process and the results…the tactile qualities of the paint alone are worth the price of admission.


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I can’t read my own handwriting!

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Fifteen years ago I was in a corporate tech job and one day I didn’t have a pen. I hadn’t misplaced my pen. I simply had no pen at my desk and likely hadn’t written anything down for days. I didn’t need to. It was a tech job and everything went directly into the system. It was the early 2000s and, thanks to debit cards, I wasn’t even writing checks all that often.

Soon after that I got a promotion, certainly due to my amazing efficiency and technical prowess, and I needed to write again in two common and important situations. I had to write on whiteboards for presentations and I had to act like I was taking notes in stupid, boring meetings while someone else got to huff the marker aroma. I enjoyed the challenge of writing legibly with a dry-erase marker backwards over my shoulder while talking. However, rolling a fat, heavy, corporate logo-ed pen with a crappy OEM rollerball cartridge across a legal pad to stay awake while someone reads each word from their own PowerPoint slides happened far more often and it took a terrible toll on my penmanship.

Now I am back to a world where I write more than “trouble tickets” and email. My degraded handwriting needs to be addressed. Slowing down helps and I’ll be practicing more thoughtful lettering. But I work at the pen store and I know that picking the right device is half the battle. No more “award-quality” swag pens.

milanRight now my go-to is the Milan P-1 Gel Touch pen. I keep one at the ready on my keyboard and it is the one I use for signing checks. The “dry” roller has the right amount of drag and the line is bold but not too thick. It reduces lift-offs and accidental ligatures when I print and keeps my cursive from looking like I’m jotting down my EKG. In the grip department I like the rubberized coating and uniform hex body. Style-wise it strikes me like the Ford Taurus in RoboCop: High utility, clean lines, and durable.

As an autonomic pen-clicker I give the button action a 9. The P-1 provides satisfying resistance and return that won’t sprain your thumb with a quiet, but audible, “POP!”

Milan also makes a 4″ Mini version and we can barely keep those in stock. It’s the ultimate tactical pen.  It’s also less than a dollar. We are stocked up right now though, and during our “Make Your Mark” sale all pens (and pencils) are 15% off!

 

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It’s really quite Swiss.

Over in the pen case we have three more click pens that range from a step up in quality to a fun fine writing instrument.

The Horizon Otho is stellar. The ultra fine rollerball is fantastically tight.

The Infinite BP is a heavier basic ballpoint pen with smooth, soft action that might not soothe the nervous clicker but would certainly help everyone around him.

The Caran d’Ache 849, which packs a smooth Tungsten Carbide ball point, is a modern design classic that is just heavy enough in the hand without being large or ponderous. At about 40 bucks it might find a permanent home as your purse or pocket jotter but with the look and the colors available you could get several and call them fashion accessories.

If you aren’t a clicker you might like the Pigma Micron PN. It’s the same permanent, lightfast, and waterproof ink as the precise point fiber tip pens in the same barrel and cap but the tip is a durable plastic nib (PN=Plastic Nib!). It’s designed for the jobs that would wreck a nice fiber tip, like signing checks at Zantigo to pay for a sack of delicious Chilitos but still wanting something decent for drawing after lunch. We have found that the one-size nib allows for some variation in the line. You’ll get fine with light pressure and bold with a little more.

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I won’t sign my name in red.

 

The right writing materials make a difference whether they are your go-to disposable or your soul mate of a fountain pen.  Come in and check out the pen rack or step over to our fine writing counter to try them and find the pen that helps you communicate more clearly. 15% off helps and the Make Your Mark Sale runs through the end of the month.


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So Many Things!

We’re getting new creative supplies almost daily after our trip to the art materials trade show in Salt Lake City…here are a few of the exciting things that have already arrived:

rublevRublev Colours Artist Oils from Natural Pigments are unlike any other brand of oil paints today. Why? One reason is that they use genuine natural and historical pigments like those used by the old masters. Most of these pigments are not found in other brands. Another reason is that Rublev Colours Artist Oils are made as all oil colors were before modern tube colors—without additives.  Rublev Oils contain only pigment and oil. They are formulated to maintain the specific characteristics of each pigment, so the character found in each 50ml tube is unique due to the pigment inside. We’re thrilled to have Rublev in stock in time for the three day Oil Painting Best Practices workshop in June, taught by George O’Hanlon and Tatiana Zaytseva of Natural Pigments.  It’s the only time the workshop will be offered in the Saint Paul/Minneapolis area, so don’t miss this opportunity!

fabrianoStudio Watercolor Pads from Fabriano While supplies last, you can get an 11×14” 50 sheet pad of either hot press or cold press Fabriano Studio 140# watercolor paper for only $19.99 (list price $54.95). Not a dream, not a misprint…this amazing deal will not last long.  Studio paper is acid free, with a high cotton content and both internal & external sizing.  You will love it and your art supply budget will, too!

Viarco Vintage Collection Pencils These beauties were one of our absolute favorites from the show, and they are just arriving as of this writing. Both pencils and packaging are faithful reproductions of Viarco products from the 1940s to the 1970s.  Designed in Portugal using long-established production methods, and the quality you’ve come to expect from Viarco.  They are almost too fantastic to use.  Choose from six unique 12 pencil boxes, but don’t wait…there’s a very limited number available.

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guerrillaGuerrilla Painter Campaign Box The Campaign Box™ is an alternative to the traditional pochade box or French easel. Think of it as a portable taboret that mounts on almost any standard camera tripod. It provides more work space, a large center area for a palette, two storage compartments under the slide out palettes, and brush rests. The Campaign Box™ easily attaches to the legs of any standard tripod with adjustable clamps. Shown pictured with Guerrilla’s tripod mounted #17 Flex Easel™…it goes great with a Guerrilla Watercolorbord, too. We have this set up at the front of the store…stop by for a test drive!

Richeson Transparent Marble White Oil Paint This safflower oil and marble dust combination produces a slow drying, transparent white that can be used to extend your oil colors while subtly tinting them. We’ve just received a stack of 5oz tubes of this versatile & useful white…we’re sure it will become a staple on your palette.richesonoilpromo

padsjournalsTons of New Pads & Journals Fun ‘n’ fancy new cover styles in Michael Roger Press Decomposition Books; brand new Nepalese soft cover books with dots & chevrons, mermaids and cats; cool new Moleskine “Two Go” books with alternating lined & blank pages, plus blank and lined books featuring handsome chevron pattern fabric covers; attractive lined and blank books from France with classic “Parisian-style” art covers; plus new colorful cover ranges from Rhodia and Legion (including new Stonehenge Aqua blocks).

djecoActivity Kits from Djeco Back by popular demand, these themed creative kits from France are designed by artists from around the world. Choose from a bunch of new, uniquely intriguing projects, including collage, paper crafts, drawing, silk painting and more.

JAC9515-Jagua-BoxJacquard Jagua Temporary Tattoo Kits Bluish-black temporary tattoo ink made from fruit juice, jagua has been used by indigenous peoples of the Amazon for thousands of years to create body art. Safe, non-toxic and 100% natural, Jacquard’s Jagua tattoos last 1-2 weeks and LOOK LIKE A REAL TATTOO! Apply to any part of the body to express yourself, fool your friends or test drive tattoo ideas!

cutethingsSuper Cute Stuff: New styles of Nepalese garlands (decorate your home!); tons of new Japanese stickers (Whales & cats! Ninjas! Sumo wrestlers & cats! Sushi…& cats!); Fancy Fox Light from Creativity For Kids (decoupage a real lamp!)

That’s a lot of stuff, and there’s still a bunch more on the way. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and this blog for all of our updates.  Teaser: there are two really big events in May that you won’t want to miss hearing about!


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Step up your oil paint palette and your charitable giving…in one fell swoop!

We’re very excited to announce that Wet Paint is partnering with Pygmalion’s Art Supplies in Bloomington, Indiana and Gamblin Artist Colors in Portland, Oregon to bring you a wonderful opportunity.  For the past seven years, John Wilson, the owner of Pygmalions, has worked with local artists and the paintmakers at Gamblin to create limited edition oil colors that are only available thru Pygmalion’s…until now.

While supplies last, you can get caught up on the last few years of these limited edition colors. We have 37ml tubes of “Cat’s Tail” (2015), “Saffron” (2016), and “Red Rhino Red” (2017) at Wet Paint for only $8.95/tube (read more about each color below)!

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And – as if custom Gamblin colors isn’t enough – Wet Paint will follow Pygmalion’s lead and 100% of the proceeds from the sale of these colors will be donated to a local non-profit.  The Art Department of LEAP High School in Saint Paul  is dedicated to serving students who are new to the United States and are learning English while earning a high school diploma. As an alternative high school, LEAP High School enrolls students up to age 20 and provides an educational opportunity beyond the offerings provided in traditional high schools.

leaphsAt LEAP a special emphasis is given to acquiring language skills through the study of art. Students in visual art classes at LEAP learn the language of art through drawings, paintings, prints, and sculpture. They study works of art, nature, architecture and the environment.  They also use creative and thematic ideas related to their individual experience and interpretation in creating their own work. Students are encouraged to reflect on their native country’s traditions, landscape and architecture and communicate them visually and verbally. Many of the images posted on their website reflect their students’ personal experiences as well as their knowledge and experience in demonstrating their traditional art forms.

TAILCat’s Tail is a transparent red created by Autumn Bussen, an MFA Painting candidate at Indiana University.  For this custom color, John Wilson asked his customers to vote from a list of color names and Cat’s Tail won by a landslide.  After choosing the name, a contest was held to create the color that went with it.  Bussen’s winner combines a dark maroon mass tone with a warm, earthy undertone…great on its own or as a versatile mixer.

SAFFRONSaffron is a unique, opaque Naples Yellow-like color created by Mitch Raney, an MFA Painting candidate at Indiana University in Bloomington.  Saffron is a spice made from the stamens of crocus flowers.  In its natural form, it is a reddish brown color, but when cooked it becomes a beautiful golden yellow that can color other ingredients in a recipe, as well as adding flavor.  Each tube is decorated with a picture of a crocus flower drawn by IU Printmaking student Bethany Lumsdaine.

RHINORed Rhino Red is a semi-transparent mixture of three different red pigments.  It is a chromatic red color that biases pink, like a crimson lake.  Phil Cardenas created the color, and Raphael Cornford drew the rhino used for the logo.  Both Cardenas and Cornford are accomplished Bloomington artists, as well as Pygmalion’s employees.


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Verra’ Paper Picks of the Week: Rives de Lin & Cavallini

Rives de Lin

Ever get bored using the same paper over and over? Well, now during the “Make Your Mark Sale,” we have a super paper deal on Rives de Lin: only $4.99 a sheet ($11.99 MSRP)! This beautiful off- white paper is not your run-of-the-mill Rives…you would swear it’s a handmade sheet.  Rives de Lin is 23.5×31.5,” 300gr. and features a lovely, distinctive texture that results from its production, as well as its  85% cotton and 15% linen content. Rives de Lin is great for all kinds of drawing and dry media, and – like its cousin Rives BFK –  good for printmaking, too.

The Make Your Mark Sale is from March 1st thru April 30th, 2017

rivesdelin

Cavallini

I have always thought any of our papers could be used as artwork for your walls, but did you ever think that someone would create a line of paper for just that purpose? Italian Cavallini paper is just that, and the entire collection (of over 50 patterns!) is really fun! The images look like old timey illustrations from back in the day…reproductions of anatomy lessons, alphabets, bird illustrations, and maps- just to name a few. The sheets are 20×28″ in size and have a lovely laid finish. I recently had a customer cut one of the alphabet sheets for a quick and fun batch of flash cards to teach her grandson the ABC’s.

verrapaperblogMy name is Verra Blough, and I have been the Paper Department Manager at Wet Paint for 25 amazing years.  Wet Paint stocks over 20,000 individual sheets and 2,000 unique styles of paper, including papers from all over the world: China, Canada, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Philippines, Portugal, Thailand, and the USA.  We have some locally made ones, too!

Whether you’re looking for a surface for drawing, painting or printmaking, or a decorative sheet for bookbinding, invitations, or collage, I have the good fortune of seeing all of them and working with many of them…it would be my pleasure to help you find the perfect paper for your project.   With that in mind, I will be  blogging about paper each week, highlighting some of my favorites, as well as some helpful hints.  Let’s get started in exploring paper!