Gifts For Painters

I'm often asked what one should or could buy for a friend that loves painting - the truth is, we're all pretty particular about the kinds of paints we use, the kinds of paper we use and the kinds of brushes we use - those things make it a minefield to buy decent gifts! A lot of painters will have set up an Amazon Wish List that is public and searchable - you may find you can find your friends' list of items they say they would like to have and you can work from there, but oftentimes, it's not so easy. 

Thankfully, there are a lot of beautiful accessory items that a painter will enjoy and that don't matter so much if they have two - I have dozens of palettes for example for en plein air work. There are also a lot of wonderful books - some of which are old, out of print and thus hard to get hold of - that painters of all abilities will enjoy. Now sure, they may already have a copy but so what? Keep the receipt - you can always exchange it for them.

Empty Watercolour Palettes
These are wonderfully flexible things and every watercolourist loves to have a few in different sizes that they can pop their favourite half-pans or full-pans into and can hit the road. 

I really like this Jackson's Academy palette - it can hold 24 half-pans or 12 whole-pans and is excellent value. It has large mixing areas and is robust and hard-wearing. 24 colours gives one enough for all kinds of different locations so it's a good all-rounder. You can get it from both UK and USA Amazon websites via the links below, and I have to say, these prices are great!
My favourite smaller palette is also from Jackson's and holds 12 half-pans or 6 full-pans. I know this is a popular size with urban sketchers so would really suite someone who's into that, or who just wants to go off and do small sketches with a limited palette.

Ultra high-end watercolours
There are some watercolours that are so luxurious they're almost a novelty item but they're a must for any serious painter or someone who loves historical painting methods or the history of art. Pip Seymour's historical half-pans are exactly that - if you wanted to get someone a very luxurious limited palette, I would recommend that you perhaps start with Genuine Lapis Lazuli (warm blue), Vermillion (warm red) and Naples Yellow Genuine (warm yellow), and maybe put them into one of the above palettes? There are also sets available from Pip Seymour that are based on 18th century watercolours such as those used by Turner and by artists on their grand tours. These really are very beautiful but are not going to work just like a 21st century watercolour does - so I would not recommend them to inexperienced painters.

Watercolour Paper Books
I know we're all fussy about our papers but Saunders Waterford is a really beautiful 100% cotton paper with a strong size. As well as imperial sheets and watercolour blocks (cf. my "Watercolour Supplies" page), they also make these beautiful books from their paper. They are made of 28 sheets of 140lb (300gsm) paper and are 11" by 10" and available in cold press, hot press and rough finishes (left to right, below). Unfortunately they are not available in the USA - they would be beautiful for painting a series of images into and then gifting to someone once complete.


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