Top Tips For Traveling With Art Supplies

By Nicole Tinkham


It’s that time of year again, time to vacation and travel!! So many artists we talk to love exploring new areas and taking in all the beautiful scenery as inspiration for art. Many will even bring their art supplies with them and get creative while vacationing. Sounds like the dream, doesn’t it? But the one thing holding artists back from doing this is the hassle of lugging all the supplies with them. You can ease your mind though because there are super easy ways to travel with your art supplies. Read on for our killer tips and start preparing for your next trip!

First, let’s talk about why you should create while on vacation. Not only will you be excited and relaxed while away, but the different scenery will spark new creative ideas. We bet the pieces you create while traveling will be like nothing you’ve ever done before. You’re in a different state of mind and a new state (or country). Things will be a bit different. Now that you’re sold on the idea of bringing your art with you, let’s make it happen.

The simplest way to create art while away is to take an art workshop, preferably one with all supplies included. You could even visit an open studio with an artist in the area. Sometimes it’s nice to observe and learn from a different artist.

But say you want to actually get outside and create on your own with your own supplies. You’ll need to know what to bring and how to get it there. We can help…

•    If you’re flying on a plane, you’ll have to be careful with your oil paints as some can be hazardous. Artist grade oil paints are made from vegetable oil and are totally fine to bring on the plane. Make sure you let the security guards know this.

•    You cannot have any sharp tools or knives in your carry on luggage. Pack them in a checked bag instead.

•    Be sure you have all the original labels on your supplies.

•    You will not be able to bring anything flammable onto the plane, checked or carry on. This includes solvents, fixatives, mediums, etc. Instead, purchase these in small quantities when you get there. Look up an art supply store ahead of time and make that your first stop if you need these items. Another idea is to ship these type items where you’re going ahead of time if there aren’t any art supply stores in the area.

•    All manufacturers have a Material Safety Data Sheet that would be a great thing to have on hand while traveling.

When traveling in a car, you have more freedom to bring what you want but that doesn’t mean you can just throw everything in and go. You still need to do a lot of planning and organizing.

•    Anything you can prep ahead of time will save you space and time once you get there. For example, if you have paper that needs to be cut down in size, you can do it before leaving.

•    Plan your projects and only take the supplies you absolutely need. We believe it’s better to be short a tube of paint and have to purchase it when you get there than to have 11 extras that you don’t need at all, just taking up space. Think about the paint colors you have and what you can mix on your own. You probably don’t need every single tube. Also take a look at your brushes. Do you have one in particular that can be used for various techniques?

•    If you don’t need full tubes of paint, buy a really good palette with lid and fill the pan with watercolors before you leave.

•    Having the perfect storage containers goes a long way. You don’t need to throw all your supplies in a bulky cardboard box. Instead, take a look at the various options ArtBin provides. They have very specific containers made just for art supplies. A really good brush bin is essential! We also love the crates on wheels or art backpacks when walking/exploring the area.

•    Think of supplies that you can use for more than one project. For example, Matte Gel medium could be used as glue and for collaging. Ink could be used as watercolors or with a pen. There are so many things like this that can cut down on the number of supplies you bring with you.

•    If you’re used to working in the studio, you’ll have to consider what you’ll be working on when you get there. There are some really nice travel easels available or large boards to lean against depending on the project.

•    Have some projects in mind before you get there. Will you be doing a few drawings and a watercolor painting? Map it out in your head and then group supplies together based on type.

Whether you’re driving or flying, you’ll also have to consider how you’ll transport your finished artwork back home. You may want to consider working on a smaller scale to make transportation easier.

One last important thing you must remember is to expect the unexpected. When traveling, you really never know what will happen. You can have everything planned out (which we encourage) but remember to be flexible if something doesn’t go your way. Do not let some rain or anything else totally ruin your trip.

A huge mistake we all make when going away on vacation is stressing out over packing the right things and becoming upset when things don’t go according to plan. Remember that this is your time to relax, soak in some new scenery and get creative. You can most likely find whatever it is you forgot when you get there or make do with what you have so don’t even worry about leaving your favorite color paint at home. Even if you only bring a sketchbook and pencil, you’ll be well on your way to creating incredible pieces while on vacation.

3 Popular Art Subjects That Sell

By Nicole Tinkham


Are you struggling to sell even your absolute best pieces of artwork?? We’ve written so many blogs on the subject (Like How To Price Your Artwork To Sell) because it’s one of the most common struggles we hear among artists. One thing that you may be curious about is “what does sell?” That’s our topic in this blog but honestly, we’ve had mixed feelings about writing it. Sure, we could tell you the subjects in art that tend to sell but how will this impact who you are as an artist? Will it change your own personal style? Or will it help form new creative ideas? Since these things could help your business, we decided to share. Of course you don’t have to incorporate these ideas into your work. You should always strive to be yourself! But take them into consideration and let us know your thoughts on whether or not an artist should implement them. Read on for 3 popular art subjects that sell.

1.    Landscapes

We see a ton of absolutely brilliant landscape/seascape paintings here in Bradenton, Florida. We also get to see beautiful northern landscapes as well from the snow birds that flock down to visit us so we really have the best of both worlds! Local scenery of a street, shops, or towns tend to be popular too as the buyer is most likely to purchase the painting after recognizing the location. It brings back memories and that’s something really special to capture in your painting.

2.    Pets (in particular, dogs)

We think pets are a common theme in artwork because people can connect with their furry friends on a deep and personal level. Detail and personality of the pet can shine through in a painting and make the work really fun. If you love painting furry creatures, consider getting into custom pet portraits!

3.    Abstracts

Here’s one that’s really not for everyone (artist and viewer alike) but a talented artist can have much success with abstract art when marketing to the right audience. Keep this in mind – not everyone appreciates abstract art. Many people see the talent and emotion behind it but not everyone does. This is why you must get in with the right people for it. Once you hit the right crowd of abstract lovers, you’ll be golden.

Should you paint based on which subjects sell?

After talking about the different art subjects that typically sell, the big question now is “will you follow the trends?” To be honest, there never really is a correct answer when it comes to art and we’ll tell you why. Everyone has a different motive. Some people will purchase a painting from you to match their couch and others will find a deep connection with your artwork. You just never know.

You also have to be true to yourself. Just because landscapes, dogs and abstracts may not be your cup of tea you can always give it a try anyway and see what happens. You may end up falling in love with the subject and selling it right away! But in the end, it’s important to go with what you enjoy doing.

In our opinion, what will sell is something you’re passionate about. The more passion you have for that subject, the better the piece will turn out and the more likely it is to sell.

With that being said, we’d love to know your opinions! Please leave a comment below and let us know whether or not you think an artist should follow what typically sells or just do their own thing.

Not Everyone Will Understand Your Artwork And Here’s Why

By Nicole Tinkham


Art is subjective. As an artist, you may have the ability to appreciate all types of artwork regardless of whether or not it’s your style. You understand the skills necessary to create and you’ve been through the various struggles of an artist. You just get it. But not everyone does and it’s important to understand why. If you’ve ever gotten your feelings hurt because someone decided not to buy your artwork or have said negative things about your artwork or about you as an artist, this is a must read. The more we understand the negative Nancy’s in life, the better we can accept them for who they are and move on. Here’s why not everyone will understand your artwork and why.

People are all different for a reason

Life would be so boring if we all liked the same things and acted the same way. We are all so different and that’s a good thing! Since we are different, of course we’ll all have different tastes when it comes to artwork. You yourself choose to like certain things over others and that’s totally natural.

There will be some things you just don’t understand in life. Like how someone could jump out of a perfectly good airplane and go skydiving. To other people who love the adventure, it’s their dream to do these things. Same thing goes with art. Some people may be blind to the beauty of abstract art. We’re all into different things and you have got to understand and accept that.

It may seem like the ideal situation would be for us all to agree on everything. That way there would be less judgment, arguments, and hurt feelings. But think about this, what would life be like with absolutely no conflict? Sometimes it’s that little bit of drama that keeps us going. It’s the “prove them wrong” mentality that keeps us pushing to reach our goals. It’s the negative critiques that make us improve our skills and grow as artists.

Before you get all down on yourself remember that we all have different tastes and just because one person doesn’t like your work, the negativity is not being said against you as a person. So what if they’re not a fan? Not everyone is a fan of bubble gum pink walls in their home either but are you going to hate someone else for having it? No way! Do your best to not take negative comments personally, even though this is probably one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do.

So how do you brush off the “my 5 year old could throw some paint on a canvas like that” comments? You focus on all the people who do appreciate your work. Now that you realize some people just simply won’t like it, you also know that there are people out there who do love it! Pay more attention to those people and less on the negative ones. Do not let them stop you from being amazing. Just move onto the next person.

One last important thing we need to mention. No matter what anyone else has to say about your artwork, never ever say anything negative back to them. Let them have their opinion, respect their point of view and show them love anyway. You know that you’re an incredible artist and people love your work. So why let one person who doesn’t like your art ruin all of that effort? Keep being the amazing person you are and never let anyone get you down.

Not everyone will understand and appreciate your artwork and that’s ok. We are all different people and have our different opinions. Would you agree with this? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below and let us know how you handle negativity towards your art.

17 Ways Real Artists Choose Paint Color That May Surprise You

By Nicole Tinkham


You’re inspired and ready to create! You have all your supplies in front of you and a blank canvas on your easel. But something is stopping you. You look down at your paint and have no clue where to start when it comes to color choices. This one decision could make or break your artwork! What if you choose the wrong color?? Calm down, we’ve all been there. In fact, we’ve asked our artist friends over on Facebook how they choose paint colors to give you some ideas. You may be surprised but not one answer involves a color wheel! Here’s what they had to say.
How do you choose paint colors for your project?

1. “From my photo reference and then ramp it up a notch or two!” -Diane

2. “The colors are in the vision before I begin to paint- it’s a matter of transferring the vision onto the canvas how it appeared in my mind.” -Kriss

3. “I have a set of colors I use mainly. I have tried to use different colors, but always wind up going back to the ones I like.” -Kelly

4. “I usually see the general color in my head and make a scheme for it. I love mixing and making new colors.” – Caitie

5. “I look at the canvas and see the colors. Often if I start out with an idea of what I want I find it it needs to change to what I see it just flows out onto the canvas.” – Lorna

6. “I have a set palette for portraits and then whatever is needed for flowers and landscapes.” -Rita

7. “I let it speak to me and then the team usually comes after that.” -Heidi

8. “I don’t choose them. They choose me.” -Cindy

9. “By what my feeling is for the day.” -Doreen

10. “I use my feelings to pick my colors.” – Estela

11. “Depend how my mood is the time to make my creation!” – Beatriz

12. “With emotion.” – Sharon

13. “Intuitively” – Saddhasura

14. “Ohhhh this one is pretty.” -Heather

15. “That’s what gets me working on a piece.” -Kathy

16. “Nature.” -Patricia

17. “The project itself.” – Cayce

As you can see, every artist works so differently. There’s never a right or wrong way of working so be open to the possibilities and just be yourself. You’ll eventually get into your groove and choosing paint colors for your project will start coming naturally to you.

We want to know! Is hearing from real artists like this helpful for you? Leave us a comment below and let us know what you think.

How To Get Motivated – 37 Answers From REAL Artists

By Nicole Tinkham


We have written many blogs on motivation in your artwork and life in general because it’s one of the main things that are holding people back from achieving their goals. These blogs are filled with incredible tips but we’ve found that the best advice comes straight from an artist’s mouth. So we posed the question “What gets you motivated to start a new art project?” on our Facebook page and the various tips we received is just out of this world. Save this post because you really can learn so much from these artists of all different skill levels. Read on for what these 37 real artists (just like you!) have to say about what motivates them.

1.    “I meditate or go for a run early in the morning. Kick starts my imagination!” – Dominique

2.    “Looking at all unfinished works, stacked against the wall doesn’t help. Seeing one on my easel with paints ready, brushes clean and favorite music helps! Oh and a thermos full of sweetened, cream coffee…” -Barbara

3.    “Gonna sit in front of the linen and take a brush and see what happens….just easy…” -Anja

4.    “I pray, and just dive right into a project. :)” -Tia

5.    “ I have to create it completely, step by step, in my head so I need the quiet time to do that, then when I face the white canvass I’m ready.” -Wendy

6.    “I close my eyes and access the many worlds in my artist head and pick one to do.” -Cindy

7.    “Whenever I need to express myself or when I’m working on an assignment” -Linda

8.    “Music and looking at other art work or landscape photos.” -Kelly

9.    “Touch. Music- it’s hard to pin down.” -Jamie

10.    “Hope that it will sell.” -Rita

11.    “I have to have a clean house. (ok….somewhat clean!!) this way my mind isn’t thinking about what needs to be done. Then I just start fiddling around until I start something!!” -CJ

12.     “Research, research and more research. I get intimidated when I don’t know what I’m doing, research helps me deal with that initial fear. Then sketching, lots of sketching, this gets me used to the idea that I can do it. And gives me a chance to experiment with my ideas, what works, what doesn’t. It’s good to make the mistakes before moving onto the final media that I’m going to work with.” -Krysia

13.    “I crochet blankets for me to start my project I think about who I am making a blanket for and why. Then I spend at least an hour or more looking at designs I try to find it even make my own design if I can’t find what I want. Once I actually start the work I have things settled. I made one for one of my son’s he was living quite a distance away I made him a new one and he said that when he got it that he could feel my love all over him” -Barbara

14.    “Oh, they are swarming in my head 🙂 just have to find time for the next one. It has to be time when I can relax and don’t think about anything else. Sometimes I can’t wait to come home from work to finish a painting, sometimes I start sewing something right after I get up, to get in a better mood and start a day with something pleasant.” -Vera

15.    “New art supplies laid out nicely… and then the storm hits and we have a hot mess! But a beautiful project arises from it all. It’s quite a process! LOL!” -Estela

16.    “Clear my mind, set aside everything else, put on music and then let the art flow out onto the canvas, paper etc. Hours fly by before I know it.” -Lorna

17.    “Well of late I have been concentrating on mythical creatures that I have loved sense childhood. Mainly dragons and fairies. I have no idea whatsoever why I have not been drawing these for all of these years……If I owned the house that I live in I would love to do a mural of them…..” – Andrea

18.    “Anything inspires me. Mostly I respond to color or interesting color combinations. I also draw heavily on my Hispanic heritage- I love bright colors and Mexican and Catholic Imagery. They work so well together!” -Lisa

19.    “I get some crazy idea…lol…then l search thru hundreds of images online…then l do some sketching… I’ve got an idea I’m still rolling around in my brain.. mixed media.. Some drawing… Last night l watched a program on PBS that had a lot of castles, so l focused on the designs, layouts and perspectives…;-)” -Jan

20.    “I just start something. I get a bunch of ideas while I’m in the process of drawing, painting or carving. So I just start..” -Deborah

21.    “As a child, I played the piano when in a bad mood….now I paint when in a bad mood….both very calming and productive!” -Linda

22.    “Caffeine and a rough bit of a sketch on the back of a cigarette packet/ beer mat.. then more caffeine and dive in..” -Chris

23.    “I see something & then my imagination takes off. I love it when I wing it, lol.” -Kathy

24.    “I put a blank canvas on the easel for a day or so , I can’t stand seeing a blank canvas” -Diane

25.    “It magically happens when I get unmotivated to do a less fun project.” -Sam

26.    “visual stimulant – usually a photograph, an emotion, a natural setting rather than a structured work” -Diane

27.    “Music♡♡♡♡” -Karren

28.    “Turn on the music” -Anamarie

29.    “A new idea always helps to start off” -Sayanti

30.    “Look at my empty bank account” – Saddhasura

31.    “Looking for inspiration” –Gina

32.    “You don’t “get” motivated, either you are, or, you aren’t….if you have to psych yourself up… should probably wait… I feel anyway…” –Kurt

33.    “The need to be creative until I get it done. Oh the joy of an accomplishment feels so good. Wish I could get this excited about chores.” –Jnett

34.    “When there is nothing on my easel to work on.” –Larry

35.    “It just happens, for some reason. I try to pretend like I have a process, but I’ll wake up one day and it’s like a switch flipped and I have to make a thing happen. I’ll start assembling what I need, as if someone told me that the project has a deadline. My wife and I have been together over 35 years and she’s still trying to figure that part of me out. She’ll walk in and go, “What’s going on?” in that, “Are we about to lose a room of the house for several months?” kind of way. I’m pretty sure it’s like when Roy Neary started building the Devil’s Tower topographic in his house.” –Robert

36.    “Seeing the first half of the payment is good enough motivation for me to start something. Personal projects just need an “ah-ha” moment and some paper.” –Sarah

37.    “See a great art show like the traveling’ American Watercolor show.” -Bernadette

Whew, we are pumped up just by reading these! Keep in mind that every artist is different so going for a morning run may not do it for you. Maybe you’re more of a music person. Or maybe a little caffeine will do the trick. Try a few things out and see what gets you in the creative mood. Once you find out what that thing is, let us know in the comments below so we can add it to the list!

A Step-By-Step Guide to Moving Your Crafts

guest blog
Photo via Pixabay

You enjoy crafting. You often draw sketches, make paintings, engage in pottery, and knit scarves. You can’t imagine moving your entire craft room. The time, however, has come to move. You aren’t sure where to start.

Follow these six steps to packing, moving, and unpacking your craft room. Whether you’re moving to another home, or simply moving upstairs, you’ll be happy with the results.

1.    Organize Your Belongings

The first step is, of course, to organize your belongings. Crafts, artwork, and supplies are often strewn about in a haphazard manner. With garage sales and nearby craft stores, it can be easy to bring home far more than you actually use. Take this time to go through your supplies and determine what you actually need to keep. Bekins has a great article that can help you downsize and organize your craft room before the big move. You can also learn about de-cluttering your art room through Shiny Happy World.

2.    Contact a Professional

It’s never a good idea to go through this process alone. Contact a professional to learn more about moving your artwork and supplies. At the very least, you should ask your family and friends for assistance. The more stressed and overwhelmed you are, the more mistakes you could make. Mistakes when moving a craft room could end with something important breaking. Since you obviously don’t want this to happen, don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed or stressed. Ask for help. According to The Card Castle, communication is key throughout this process. Keep that in mind as you move forward.

3.    Obtain Necessary Equipment

You’ll need a number of items before you can begin packing. Carrying cases, organizers, packing tape, shipping supplies, bubble wrap, packing paper, cardboard, and packing peanuts are just a few of the many pieces of equipment you’ll need to get started. Learn about the function of each piece of equipment and make sure you are using everything properly. You don’t want anything to break before you’ve even started moving.

4.    Move Piece By Piece

If you have multiple pieces of artwork to pack in boxes, take it piece by piece. Don’t try to multitask, or something could get unnecessarily damaged. Instead, set up a table or floor space for wrapping. You can also use a countertop. Whatever you choose, make sure the space is large enough for your heftiest piece of artwork. You’ll want help during this part of the process. It can be difficult to wrap artwork alone.

5.    Hire Experienced Movers

You are trusting these professionals with your entire craft room – including all of your supplies and artwork (unless you choose to move certain pieces in your personal vehicle). Make sure you hire a company that truly cares about your belongings. Some companies only care about getting the job done and going home. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and speak with managers at moving companies until you feel you’ve gotten it right. Some moving sites will allow you to compare labor prices, so keep that in mind as well.

6.    Unpack ASAP

As soon as the moving process is over, begin unpacking your artwork and supplies. High or low temperatures can affect your belongings. You also don’t want to find out several days too late that a packet of paints has exploded on your favorite sketchbook. As you unpack, consider this a new opportunity to organize your craft room. Brit + Co recently published an article that can help you come up with useful, fun ideas for your new space.

Moving the artwork and supplies within your craft room can be nerve wracking. However, if you make the process organized, fun, and flawless, you’ll be grateful for the experience.

Author: Aimee Lyons

Aimee Lyons loves crafting, refurbishing furniture, remodeling rooms, and landscaping. She is passionate about DIY projects and sharing tips about them. Aimee runs DIYDarlin, which provides DIY project resources and tutorials.

This Art Supply Is YUMMY – Find Out Why!

By Nicole Tinkham


We don’t often describe our art supplies as “yummy”. We might use the words funky, creative, or exciting but never “yummy”. Not unless of course, we’re talking about Gelatos by Faber Castell or the supplies that go with them. If you’re not familiar, Gelatos are acid-free pigment sticks that glide and blend easily on paper or canvas. We’re really in love with the vibrant colors; they’re simply delicious. While they sound good enough to eat, we’ll actually be talking about the icing on the cake today in what is known as “Whipped Spackle”. Read on to find out why this art supply is so yummy and how you can use it in your next project!

What is it?? –> Designed for mixed media projects, whipped spackle is a textured gesso without the weight of heavy gesso. It’s ideal for creating dimension in mixed media artwork on any surface.

Just a few ways you can use it…

•    Swipe Whipped Spackle over a stencil for a raised texture design

•    Press textured items into it (bubble wrap comes out really cool), and it will hold that texture

•    Add COLOR to your Whipped Spackle creation by using powders, inks, Gelatos, and more

•    Use for art journaling, cards, mixed-media canvas, and just about anything else you can think of!

Best way to apply it: Palette knife! This is ideal for mixing in color and spreading it over a stencil.

Can you eat it??

NO! Unfortunately, Whipped Spackle is not edible. It does look delicious though with it being light and airy with an icing or whipped cream-like texture. We know the temptation to take a taste but we urge you to save it for your project 🙂

Don’t believe us that you may be tempted to eat Whipped Spackle?? Just check this out. YUM!

Want to try out Faber Castell Whipped Spackle for yourself?? Just stop into Keeton’s in downtown Bradenton or give us a call at 941-747-2995 to place an order. By the way, you might want to try out Gelatos too while you’re at it!

Have you used any of these YUMMY Faber Castell products before? Please let us know in the comments what your experience has been with them.