Monday, November 23

Take a Walking Tour of Your Art Supply Store

Today’s Image
Icon for Art Supplies

Continuing my last blog, which was my walking tour of one of my favorite art supply stores in town…

I left us at the end of the aisle where all the oil paints are displayed. You can find all the major brands. At the end of this aisle you have choice to make. You can either continue to the back of the store where there is lots of room to roam around, or you can make a hard left and visit even more aisles with more art supplies. I usually choose to go to the back half of the store to see what’s happening back there.

I don’t think I mentioned in the last blog, but this retailer also has a pretty complete choice of frames and framing supplies for all kinds of artwork in addition to a full-service custom framing department. There are about four aisles filled with all standard sizes and shapes of frames for every occasion including very ornate carved wood to the latest colors in metal frames.

I may have mentioned I’m frugal, so the only frames I buy here are the metal sectional frames that come in the colors black, silver, and brass and only when they’re on sale. I will buy a matte that’s cut to the size I need, but I usually don’t get the plexiglas here if I’m framing a watercolor because I think it’s too expensive—I get that at a big-box home hardware supply store. Of course, I do it myself and assemble the frame and plexi with my artwork.

Anyway back to my walking tour. The whole middle section is now relatively bare with just a few tables and easels haphazardly placed. However, this retailer is one of the few who caters to artists and those who want to improve their skills with real, live, hands-on art classes held right here in the store. I have been in the store when a lesson is in session, and this area is full of students, easels, and paint. Professional artists are available who give lessons in oil, acrylic, and watercolor as well as general drawing classes. That’s one of the things that makes this store unique.

Moving on, the entire left rear quarter of the space is devoted to canvases. I do believe they have the largest selection of canvases of any of the art supply stores in this area. There are rows and rows and stacks and stack of stretched canvases in all sizes from tiny ones to huge, almost mural sized ones. They also have a selection of rolls of canvas and stretcher bars in case you like to make your own. And there is always a sale on some of them, and you can save a lot if you shop carefully.

As you come toward the front of the store, there are even more aisles. One is devoted entirely to easels, bags, boxes, carrying cases, and portfolios for artists to transport their art supplies and artwork. They have a very good selection (although I think a fishing tackle box from a sporting goods store works just as well for paint, pencils, and paint brushes).

The next few aisles contain an assortment of items that, while not necessarily considered specialty, are possibly purchased less often than paint, paper, and brushes. I’m talking about drawing instruments and graphite pencils, colored pencils, watercolor pencils, pencil sharpeners, and art markers with points in all widths.

Then there’s a whole side of one aisle that contains nothing but pastels, hard and soft, in all shapes and forms. And over to the right is a book and magazine section with a fairly good supply of how-to and art technique books.

By now, we’ve come full circle, and we’re back up front near the long checkout counter. Near the checkout is a bulletin board with artists' and galleries' business cards, ads for art lessons, upcoming art shows and exhibits, and other art communications.

So there. You’ve completed the walking tour with me. I hope you enjoyed it, and that the next time you’re in your favorite art supply store, you’ll take the time to really see everything that’s in store.


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