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 Quick Tips For Mixing Summer Colors For Your Next Painting

By Nicole Tinkham

When we think summer, we think COLOR with beautiful blues in the sky and water and bright greens in the foliage. It really is an incredible time of year (minus the bugs and hot sun) for a landscape painting. If you’re planning to get out there and do some plein air painting or even if you’re painting from a photo, your colors must be on point to really make the work pop and get that summer feel. To do this, you’ll have to get really good at mixing summer colors. Here are 3 quick tips for doing so.

1.    Define your blue

As you’re probably aware, not all blues are the same! There are cool blues, warm blues, blue-greens, dark blues, light blues, and many more. In a summer painting you have the blue of a clear sky on a nice day, the blue of the ocean, and the blue of pool water. You must first figure out what type blue you need.

For sky: You may want to use a mix of warm blue near the horizon and a little cool blue further away from the horizon.

For ocean: Use a cool blue and a little cool yellow for deeper water and then add in more yellow for shallow water. Make sure you have a smooth transition from deep to shallow in your painting. Using a mix of the same colors, create waves and details. You may even consider taking some of your sky color to create a slight reflection.

2.    Locate your greens

As with your blues, your greens will also vary. When it comes to summer foliage, you have to take into consideration the placement in your painting. For example, something closer to the viewer will not be the same shade as something further away. This will create depth in the painting.

Distant green: Use cool greens with elements of blue for shadows and greenery in the distance.

Close green: Mix in warm greens throughout the greenery to prevent the painting from looking flat. Mix in some yellows or oranges for variety.

For BRIGHT beautiful summer greenery, keep the colors you are mixing close to each other on the color wheel. The further apart they are, the duller and grayer the color will be.

3.    Color inspiration

Of course blues and greens aren’t the only summer colors you’ll see this time of year. Think watermelon red, sunny yellow and brightly colored umbrellas as well. For inspiration, take a ton of summer photos throughout the season. It doesn’t have to be a subject you want to paint. Just try to capture the colors of summer you love. Pinterest also has a ton of ideas for this.

Now it’s time to play! Have fun recreating those colors in your painting. It may take some experimenting to get it just right but don’t become frustrated, this is a learning experience.

Make summer a time to have fun with your art. There are so many brilliant colors that pop up this time of year, so make the most of them. Explore and try new things! You can head to the beach or the park for an artsy day. Enjoy the great outdoors and capture the beautiful scenery. If you want to experiment with colors more, take a bunch of photos and head to the studio to mix your paint. As you get used to mixing the perfect summer colors, it gets much easier to do.  Keep it up artists, and be sure to show us what you’re working on this summer! Head over to our Facebook page and share with us what you’re creating 🙂

7 Artsy Things To Do On Your Stay-cation

By Nicole Tinkham

7 Artsy Things To Do On Your Stay-cation(1)

Have you ever planned an exciting vacation to get away and relax only to find that you needed a vacation from your vacation? Traveling can get hectic and when it does, the relaxing part you were looking forward to may not happen the way you’d like. That’s where stay-cations come into play. You may be wondering what exactly a stay-cation is. It’s simply a vacation you take to stay home and get the rest and relaxation that you need. It’s about trying something different in your local area and doing the things you love but rarely have time for. If you’re planning a stay-cation this summer but have no clue what to do with your time, read on for 7 artsy things that will keep you from getting bored.

1.    Spruce up your home with DIY projects

We would say this is the perfect time to do some organizing and cleaning but what fun is that? Instead you can spruce up your home by doing DIY projects. Hang some of your artwork on the wall in fun frames, create custom shelving in your art room, re-paint an old table, or put together fun summery center pieces for your table. There are so many DIY projects out there that you can have a lot of fun with and it’s always nice to add something new and fresh to your home.

2.    Put together a creative playlist

Nothing puts us in a better mood than some uplifting music. If you’re one to listen to your favorite songs while working on your art, try out a new playlist. Mixing up your tunes is a great way to be inspired and with the extra time at home, you can really have some fun with it. You can even have a dance party in your living room (if you wanted to).

3.    Explore your local art scene

If you’re still new to your town, exploring your area is the perfect thing to do on a stay-cation. Even if you think you know your town inside and out, we bet there are places you have yet to discover. Do some research and check out the creative places and events like live music, small art stores, art fairs, and unique cafes and restaurants.  Who knows, you may find a new place to enjoy on the regular!

4.    Read a new book

When’s the last time you were able to sit down and enjoy a good book without any interruptions? Now’s your chance to take some time to yourself somewhere nice and quiet, get comfy, and dive into a new book. Picking a genre that you aren’t used to reading can even spark new creativity for future art projects.

5.    Meet up with new friends

For the social butterflies who rather meet new people than be cooped up inside all day, we suggest meeting up with new friends. Head over to and discover groups in your area that interest you. Then pick an event to attend and chat with some new people. Hopefully you click with some fun artsy people like yourself.

6.    Go for a long hike or walk

Getting out in nature is a great way to clear your mind of all the stress and worry of everyday life. Grab your sketchbook and head to a quiet and peaceful park. Take some time to soak in all the beauty around you and jot down or sketch any creative ideas that pop up. Take your phone with you for safety reasons but turn the volume down so it doesn’t disturb your quiet time!

7.    Start a garden

We aren’t experts in the gardening area but from what we hear, it’s a great way to de-stress. If you already have a garden, consider taking an afternoon to get focused on it or if you don’t already have one, start one. It’s said that gardening totally takes your mind off anything else going on in your life so if you have a lot of worries, this could be just the thing for you!

You may be doing some of the things on this list regularly so if that’s the case, think of some new ideas that you rarely do or have yet to try. When it comes to your stay-cation it’s important to do the things YOU enjoy. For example, many people love gardening but if you’re not one of those people, it could just feel like work and that goes against everything a stay-cation is supposed to be. Use this list of ideas for your inspiration but come up with your own list of activities to do this summer.

Tell us, what are your big summer plans? Will you be staying home or traveling? Drop a COMMENT below and let us know 🙂

4 Ways To Beat The Heat And Stay Creative This Summer

By Nicole Tinkham

4 Ways To Beat The Heat And Stay Creative This Summer.jpg

Being located in Florida, we know all about heat and humidity in the middle of summer and it is not fun! It’s difficult enough to make it out of the house and to the car without losing it let alone trying to work your brain and get the creative juices flowing. Sure, you can lock yourself in the house but we all have a need for some fresh air every once in awhile. I don’t know about you but I love being outside so the summers can be really difficult for me to get anything done. All I want to do is drop the AC and take a nap! And one thing I’ve realized is that everyone is experiencing this brutal summer weather, not just those in Florida. If you’re in a rut like I am, read on for 4 ways to beat the heat and stay creative this season.

1.    Create an inspiring space inside

We would normally encourage you to take your artwork outside to mix it up a little but we know there will be days in the summer that venturing out anywhere just won’t be happening. Guess what? You don’t have to let staying in stop you from doing something different! Do some work on your art studio and give it a makeover. Rearrange things, get organized, add some plants to the area, hang your artwork on the wall, or create an inspiration board. This way you don’t feel stuck in the same space throughout the summer. Small changes can go a long way!

2.    Work by a window

If you can, do your creative thinking by a window. You (kinda) get the best of both worlds by seeing the outside world and enjoying the sun rays all while being nice and cool inside. If you have a sun room that can be transformed into an art studio that is perfect! But we understand that this isn’t possible for everyone. Sitting by a window to sketch or brainstorm can help get those creative juices flowing.

3.     Head to the pool or beach

If you do manage to leave the house and want to work on your artwork outside, keep cool by the pool or the beach. If you don’t do this often, it could be a great source of inspiration. Other options to keep cool would be going to a coffee shop to sketch or attending an art workshop at your favorite art supply store 🙂 You may be inside but at least you’re getting out to do something different.

4.    Stay safe outside

Whether you’re sitting by a window, heading to the beach or just running out to the store for more supplies it’s important to stay safe. Bring a bottle of water with you everywhere you go to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen (even when you’re only sitting by a window!).

When it comes to being productive with your art this summer, you have two options. You can stay inside or brave it and venture out in the heat. Either way, it’s important to be SMART about your decision. If you’re heading out, be sure to stay cool by the pool or the beach, drink plenty of water, and wear sunscreen every time you leave the house. It takes some planning but it’s better to be prepared than to be miserable once you get out there. If you decide to stay inside, make some changes to your work space so you don’t feel trapped inside and end up falling into a creative rut. Move things around and be sure to surround yourself with plenty of inspiration. You can pick either option but whatever you do, don’t let this summer hold you back! Let it push you forward with new inspiration.

Tell us, what’s your plan for the summer? Will you be staying in or taking your artwork outside?

3 Simple ways to get back into work mode after a killer vacation

By Nicole Tinkham

3 Simple ways to get back into work mode after a killer vacation.jpg

Have you ever gone away on vacation or even took a long weekend away from the office and had trouble getting back in the swing of things? Trust us, you’re not alone. Most of our year is spent waking up earlier than we ever really should (in our opinion, anyway), taking the same busy route to the office, sitting down in the same cubicle, greeting the same co-workers, drinking out of the same coffee mug, and doing the same or similar busywork every single day. We don’t even realize we’re in this cycle until something disrupts the habit like a nice long vacation. Even just a few extra days tacked onto the weekend can leave you feeling like you forgot how to do your most basic job duties like responding to an email.

Vacation can make us feel one of two ways when returning to the office. There’s a chance you go in feeling refreshed, awake, energized and ready to jump right back in which would be ideal. But more commonly, you’re still in vacation mode and can’t get motivated whatsoever to tackle the emails and other duties that piled up while you were away. If this is you, we have the tips you need to survive your first day back at work after vacation.

1.    Include a buffer day

Ideally, it’s great to spend as much time away on vacation as you possibly can. But, heading to the office immediately after you get back (especially if it’s the night before) can leave you stressed and overwhelmed. Consider arriving home on Saturday instead or take an additional Monday off so you have an extra day to unpack and get settled back into everyday life. Be sure to take it easy and if you can, start sorting through your email to get a head start on your first day back to the office. It doesn’t hurt to wake up and hit the hay early on your extra day either to get back into your normal sleep schedule.

Remember to prepare for your departure too so you have an easier adjustment back to office life. Click here for some things you need to be doing before you leave.

2.    Get focused

There’s no doubt that you have a ton on your plate after some time off. Your inbox is full, there are projects that need to be started, and important meetings that you’ve missed. Instead of scheduling numerous meetings on your first day back to catch up, take a day or two to focus on the important things first. Manage your tasks one at a time and avoid interruptions at all cost! Making a to-do list is great for this. Circle the top 3 things on your list that you absolutely must get done right away and make them the priority until they are complete.

TIP: If you have an out of office email going out to coworkers, feel free to leave it on until you get caught up. They know you’re back in the office and where to reach you if they really need you.

3.    Have some fun

We’re going out on a limb and saying you probably had the time of your life while on vacation. Just because it’s now over doesn’t mean you have to be miserable until the next vacation comes up. There are many things you can do to keep that positivity alive. You can tell stories about your vacation, share food or something special you got while there, start planning your next vacation, go out to lunch, listen to music while you work, or plan something fun to do on the weekends. Strive to have fun all year, not just while away!

We know your vacation probably rocked and to be honest, these three tips aren’t going to make up for the fact that it’s officially over. You may still be a little bummed when returning to the office but these tips will definitely make the transition easier. After the first week, you should be back in your groove and ready to roll!

Let us know your tips! How do you cope with office life after a really amazing vacation? Leave a comment in the box below 🙂

10 Tips for Staying Cool in the Office This Summer

By Nicole Tinkham

10 Tips for Staying Cool in the Office This Summer

We’ve reached the dreaded summer months and one thing that’s sure to put you in a grumpy mood is sitting in a hot office all day. Don’t worry, there are many ways you can beat the heat even in a crowded office. Here are 10 ways to keep cool (and keep your cool) in the office this summer.

1. Water

In this sweltering summer weather, it’s important to keep hydrated and the best way to do that is with plenty of water. If your office doesn’t have a handy water-cooler, stock up on bottled water and always have one at your desk.

2. Iced Coffee

If you really want to stay cool, skip the morning hot coffee and go with an iced coffee instead. You don’t have to stop at a Starbucks though. Simply pour coffee over a full cup of ice. (Make sure to stock up on cold cups!)
3. Fans

Pictured: Honeywell Super Turbo Three- Speed High- Performance Fan and Holmes Oscillating Tower Fan, Three- Speed

The temperature battle in the office can get serious and we’re sure you know what we’re talking about. There’s always at least one person that’s freezing while others are practically melting. We don’t know why it happens but it tends to be a problem in most offices. Luckily there are handy personal fans (or heaters if you’re one to be frequently cold) to help adjust the temperature to your liking.

4. Cool clothing

Short sleeve shirts don’t have to be casual, especially with these polo shirts. Not only do they look stylish but you can also have the company logo embroidered on them for a professional look.
5. Close blinds

If your desk is situated by a window, you’ll notice it can get extremely hot especially during the summer months. Closing the blinds works surprisingly well when it comes to cooling your office.
6. Reduce lighting

If there are excessive lights on in the office, try eliminating the ones that aren’t needed. This will make the office much cooler for everyone and reduce energy costs. You may not be able to control the main light source but if you have additional lamps in your personal area, it doesn’t hurt to turn them off.
7. Turn off equipment when not in use

Most of us have the habit of leaving everything on. Think about all the electronics you have at your desk or in the office (computer, printer, fax, scanner, speakers, etc.). You probably can’t shut everything down while trying to get work done but we’re sure there are a few items that you don’t use all of the time.
8. Refrigerator/freezer

Pictured: Avanti Counter- Height 3.1 Cu. Ft Two- Door Refrigerator/ Freezer

It may be impractical to keep a fridge in your cubicle but there are other areas of the office (other than the kitchen) where a mini fridge is appropriate. Having one in a conference room or lobby area fully stocked with bottled water is a great idea.
9. Laptop cooling stand

Laptop stand
Pictured: Kensington Liftoff Portable Notebook Cooling Stand

If you tend to work on the go, you may be glued to a laptop 24/7. When used for an extended period of time, they can heat up which isn’t great for the computer or for you. Consider a laptop cooling stand to keep you both cool and healthy!
10. Work from home

Here’s the solution to all of your hot office dilemmas: just work from home! This will cut back on the time spent traveling in hot cars, buses, and trains plus you can adjust your home office temperature to however you feel most comfortable. Unfortunately, most don’t have the luxury of working from home in which case, follow the tips above and hope for a quick and cool summer!

Your comfort at work is more important than you may think. When you’re overly hot or cold, it can reduce your productivity and make you more irritable. The tips above are simple and don’t take much time or effort so do them! You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel when you close the blinds or drink ice water throughout the day.

How are you beating the heat? Comment in the box below or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to tell us what you’re doing!