2018 Botanical Art Gift Guide

2018 Botanical Art Gift Guide

It's that time of year again! In today's consumerist world, many of us are fortunate enough to already own all of the things we truly need.  However, we're all looking out for those special gifts that will be treasured by our loved ones.

This year, I've put together a list of special gifts, specifically with botanical artists in mind.  These thoughtful, personal gifts are sure to be remembered.

For the new watercolourist:  The Ultimate Mixing Palette from Daniel Smith

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="325"]Daniel Smith : Watercolour Paint : Half Pan : Ultimate Mixing Set of 15 Daniel Smith Watercolour Ultimate Mixing Set of 15 Paints[/caption]

After decades of making beautiful tubes of watercolour paint,  Daniel Smith finally released pan sets this year.  Their 15-pan, compact plastic palettes are a great design.  Most exciting of all, they're offering this version of their palette filled with Jane Blundell's Ultimate Mixing Set .

I think this palette is a perfect choice for a painter who is trying professional watercolour for the first time. Jane Blundell's choices are quite different from mine, and these are not the colours I would choose in my own palette.  However, I think this set is a wonderful selection for any new painter, primarily because Jane Blundell has put so much care and effort into sharing information about her choices with the world.

Jane Blundell explores all of the mixing possibilities and applications of this set of paints in incredible detail on her blog.  She has made detailed mixing charts of every combination of colors in the set.  She even published a book about this palette, which would make a great companion gift!

For the floral painter:  Floral Ceramic Watercolour Palette

Ceramic/porcelain palettes are such a treat to mix watercolours on.  They don't bead up or repel paint like enamel or plastic, and they show the true colour close to how it will appear on paper.

I use a ceramic dinner plate from the thrift store for most of my mixing, which is a great budget option but not very gift worthy.  However, a proper watercolour colour palette with dividers is essential as a "tinting palette".  Tinting palettes are used for mixing applying even light washes, such as when painting subtle, light coloured florals.

This little 6" floral ceramic palette ticks all the boxes - it's ceramic, the perfect size for tucking into a small work area, has a number of divided wells for separating different tints,  and it's super cute.  Plus, at only $21.99 CAD on Amazon.ca ($14.99 at Amazon.com), it's a real steal.

Stocking stuffers for watercolour artists:  High-quality travel brushes

Nothing improves your art skills as much as regular practice.  There's no better way to practice than to carry a portable sketch kit and sketch on location.  Unfortunately, many of us neglect our travel tools, even if we invest in beautiful supplies for the studio.

Surprise and delight your favourite watercolour artist with one or two nice travel brushes.  I find a size 4 most useful for quick but detailed sketching. A tiny size 2 or juicier size 8 also come in handy.

Kolinsky sable brushes from Rosemary & Co are my favourite type of brushes. If you or your loved ones would prefer a cruelty-free alternative, Escoda Ultimo brushes are a very high performing synthetic alternative.

For the new coloured pencil artist: Lightfast Pencil Set

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="558"]Derwent : Lightfast : Colour Pencil : Tin Set of 24 Derwent : Lightfast : Colour Pencil : Tin Set of 24[/caption]

Coloured pencils are a great, beginner-friendly medium.  Vibrant coloured pencil sets with a wide range of colours are available relatively affordably from a number of manufacturers.  Unfortunately, most coloured pencil sets contain a number of pencils with very poor lightfastness.  How dissapointing for an artist who proudly hangs their first masterpieces only to see them fade away!

With this Derwent set, your giftee can create beautiful botanical drawings that will be sure to stand the test of time.

Coloured pencil splurge:  Caran D'ache Luminance Pencil Box

Caran d'Ache : Luminance 6901 : Colour Pencil : Wooden Box Set of 76

If you'd like to splurge on an over-the-top, memorable gift for any coloured pencil artist,  the entire line of Caran D'ache Luminance pencils is lightfast, and they're the most buttery, pigmented pencils I've ever tried.  They're available in this beautiful wooden gift box.

If your budget doesn't cover a fancy box set, Luminance pencils are also available in tins or as individual pencils.

The creamy, opaque quality of the white luminance pencil make it a great standalone addition to any artist's kit!

For the book lover:  The New Sylva by Gabriel Hemery and Sarah Simblet

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="260"] The New Sylva: A Discourse of Forest and Orchard Trees for the Twenty-First Century[/caption]

This absolutely beautiful book is both educational and stunning.  It is filled with detailed and lively illustrations of orchard trees by Sarah Simblet.  It is useful as a reference text for anyone wishing to illustrate or learn about trees.  The illustrations are so beautiful that it is perfect as a coffee table book for everyone to enjoy.

For the professional artist:  A membership to a Botanical Art society

Botanical Artists of Canada

Being an artist can be a lonely and difficult business.  Arts organizations give us a chance to interact with and learn from other artists. They are also a great way to advance our career through exhibitions and help promoting our work.  They also offer perks such as discounts from art supply stores, workshops and more.

A gift membership to a local art society is sure to be appreciated by even the pickiest artists.

My local botanical art society is the Botanical Artists of Canada.  We have great perks including a members' gallery, quarterly newsletters, member exhibits and discounts at several art supply stores.  I can also tell you first hand that the board of directors is working hard to bring even more benefits to our members in 2019.  I also recently joined the American Society of Botanical Artists, which has members all over the world.

Find out what societies are active near your, and get a gift membership for a loved one for a unique gift!

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