Be still my- Bruce Lee loving- heart! Blackwing's new limited edition pencil is a tribute to one of my favorite guys. We have lots in stock now- perfect timing for his birthday. We have both the pencils and the notebooks for this limited edition release.
The notebooks come in 2 packs for $13.90 for the pair
The pencils are $2 each or $24 for a whole box of these beauties.
Good while supplies last- these are a limited edition specialty pencil so snag 'em while you can!
Let's not talk about how much Bruce Lee stuff I have, haha. I'll confess that I have his pic, with heart stickers on it, in a prominent place on my desk- yes, just like I'm still in Jr High. There's a handful of other Bruce themed decor at my desk too.
This life-size Bruce was a gift for my birthday last year and kept me inspired all through the pandemic chaos and long hours last year. I kind of think it's perfect for the art store, but I'm a huge fan so I might be a little biased. He likes it here and is friends with our mannequin Isabella and Izzie too so he's just stayed. Someday I will take him home, who knows when though. If you want to take your picture with my life size Bruce Lee with your new special pencils, we can make that happen! Just sayin'......
Local Artists Are Amazing
I've always loved going to craft fairs, makers markets, and bazaars. I have fond memories of both visiting and slinging my own goods at holiday craft fairs or events. This year it feels more like something to be thankful for, it’s so good to hear of various shows and events going on around town. There are also a ton of ways to shop local handmade online, from the comfort of your home.
Handmade is the best, isn't it? Shopping local artists and supporting them always makes the best gifts. We love to connect others in the community and promote local makers markets and arts festivals. I am working on compiling a list of current places you can shop local online this year. I will list some options below, but I know there are so many more than I have listed. Feel free to email me things to add or comment them below. I'd love to highlight local shopping for the next few weeks and any other fun ways to support local artists. Even if you do not live in Portland, some of these options can be applied to anywhere that you live.
Shop Small PDX is a great resource. If you have not checked this business directory out- DO IT! Looking for BIPOC, woman, minority, or otherwise awesome owned businesses? This list has it all clearly marked. It's incredible to go through this list and find new things to check out. I highly suggest looking at this list for finding small shops you don't know about. Not going to shop in-person this year? no problem! All of these have unique creative ways to shop local from the comfort of your own home. They also have a markets & events page with some upcoming things. Click the button below to check out this cool new resource:
Pop-Up shop with a curated group of minority owned local small businesses doing a 6 week shop that also includes local entertainment and food vendors. Located in the Alberta Arts area, that also has tons of galleries and local shops to support.
Crafty Wonderland is back this year! Lots of local vendors to check out at their show in the convention center, or shop their list of vendors online. Crafty Wonderland has 2 brick-and-mortar stores and does 2 local shows a year. It has become the largest handmade crafts show in the Northwest. Shop their stores online or visit the show coming up.
A highly curated community vending event focusing on cult/ offbeat/ fringe interest materials- records, clothes/ accessories, books/ printed matter, deep dive vintage ephemera, art, and dead things!
Portland Night Market, Sewing Festival, Scan fest, and so much more! Check out Travel Portland's list of holiday shows and festivals. This is a great list of many local festivals, fairs, maker's spaces, and shows. It is also updated regularly.
Etsy is a great place to find handmade goods, local shops, and discover local artists. You can use their filter button to locate your local area, like Portland, OR. Find Etsy shops here locally and shop local handmade right from your phone or computer. I have had fun using the filters and search to find local makers that make the things I am looking for.
Shop Small in FOPO at Winterfest and celebrate the season with your favorite Foster stores, restaurants, bars and services. Do your shopping and enjoy yourself while supporting your local community, all while collecting chances to win gift cards to your favorite businesses. check out this link for more info
I'm sure I am missing a ton of shop local or handmade options. Feel free to comment here with anything you know about that's going on or email me suggestions for my next shop local spotlight. Shopping local and handmade is always my favorite! I wanted to spotlight some options and resources you can utilize to find new small businesses to support this holiday season.
Thanks for shopping local! It means the world to all of us little shops that make up the landscape of our beautiful city in all of its creative innovation and small businesses. I love how diverse and amazing our city is, and all of the awesome small businesses there are out there to support.
Paint tubes are perfect for stockings! Any medium, any size are all stocking size. These Acryla Gouache tubes are a popular choice.
Sparkles, brushes, paints, and pens oh my! The art store is such a fun place to find perfect stocking stuffers at. We have everything from tiny shiny bling 4/$1 to fancier options. Here are a few fun ideas:
Brushes make a great stocking stuffer. We have cool options from $0.50 up to $40. Tons of options in the $1 & $3 range.
Our famous "Coal in your stocking" bundles are back. Bundles of charcoal sticks for $4.99 make a fun gift for stockings.
Calligraphy pens are a great option. We have simple, inexpensive for around $1.50 up to fancier options in the $10-$20 range. Perfect for the loved one that loves lettering.
Spirograph sets for $4. Hours of fun for kids (or adults like me, haha) and can be used with all kinds of pens and pencils. Pairs nicely with pencils, pens, and a sketchbook or ruler for gifts too. Brings back memories of rulers and graph lines.
These Rembrandt pastel boxes are beautiful and a fun $9.99 gift for the pastel artist. These are a great way to try this brand of pastels and the color options are a great way to get their favorites.
These flip out watercolor paint sets are so great! They come in 18 colors for $19.99 or 42 colors for $29.99. They come with a waterbrush, have vibrant colors, and abuilt in mixing area. By far the most popular watercolor set for the last few years.
Unique Tools- so many fun options for unique tools, like these fineline applicator bottles you can fill with ink, paint, water, masking fluid, or anything else you want to fill them with. We love helping people find unique tools for artist's stockings- just ask us!
Tins Of Art Supplies? Yes, Please!
Tins of art supplies, all neatly arranged in rainbow order, are always a fun gift! They're reusable and not made of plastic. There are many things I love about tin sets, there's something old fashioned and classic about metal over plastic. Mostly, its the supplies all lined up in rainbow color order that brings that burst of joy inside me soul at seeing them pop out at me when I open the lid. Pastel pencils, watercolor crayons, paints, pastel sticks, colored pencils, crayons, markers, you name it- they all make me feel like an excited 5 year old, haha. Here are some of the fun tin sets we have around the shop. If you are looking for a tin gift set of supplies then check these out:
(above picture Is Conte Pastel Pencils- classic choice of artists for years.)
Caran D'ache watercolor pencils.... watercolor, drawing, mixed media, and even face painting fun are all packed in to these vibrant crayons.
Stabilo CarbOthello pastel pencils are rich, smooth, and creamy. Great choice for someone wanting to experiment with pastels or your favorite professional too.
Prismacolor pencil sets are a solid choice of students and professionals alike. Highly pigmented colors made with beeswax for unique blending abilities and smooth lay down.
Caran D'ache Gouache sets... oooh la la! High quality opaque watercolors colors that are vibrant, opaque, and blend beautifully.
These Sparkly watercolors will always wow with pizazz. High quality colors that shimmer, sparkle, and shine anything you add them to. Wildly fun, and slightly addictive.
These Sargent Art colored pencils are a good quality pencil and a great deal! Tons of colors for the artist who loves lots of choices.
Classic graphite pencil tins are always needed. These mars lumograph are one of my favorites and come in 6 or 12 sets of varying grades of drawing pencils.
Zebra Zensations refillable colored pencils are so fun! They're like mechanical pencils with thicker diameter colored sticks. They remind me of some pencils I loved in middle school. They are refillable, easy to use, and require no sharpening!
The pencils come in 12 or 24 color sets, and we also sell them loose. We also sell the refill colors in packs of 30.
Holiday Hours at our shops
Reminder of our holiday hours coming up:
Christmas Eve: Close at 3pm
New Years Eve: Close at 3pm
New Years Day: Closed
Other than that our regular hours are the same. Thank you for understanding, we like to give our staff time to enjoy the holidays with a little extra time with their families & friends.
Happy Holidays from all of us to all of you!
POCKET WATERCOLOR PALETTES
Compact, configurable, cute. These awesome Palettes feature a high-quality mixing surface and magnetic tray to mix-and-match five sizes of stainless steel refillable watercolor pans. We stock the Pocket Palette & the Demi Palette, as well as the refill pans in both sizes. Perfect for on the go painting! If you need a fancy stocking stuffer for your favorite artist (or yourself) these are one I would recommend putting on your wishlist.
So many ways to customize and make your own palette! See the Palette combos video below to get an idea. We are excited to carry a few Art Toolkit products and will be bringing some more in. Check out their blog and worskhop/demos HERE. There are many fun things to explore there. We love this PNW company and are excited to stock a small selection of their palettes. If there is anything you'd like to see us carry in store, let me know! I always welcome another excuse to order more of their things. Even if these are not the right tool or palette for you, they are worth a look next time you are in the shop. They are so tiny and cute.
New Brushes! ooooh lalaaa
We are so excited to stock the Rosemary & Co Brushes now! We brought quite a few of these in a few months ago and I can't wait to bring more in soon. These brushes are beautiful! Handmade in England for over 35 years. High quality handmade brushes are so delicious, and these ones do not disappoint. Having the right tools, like a good brush, make the world of difference in painting.
These lettering brushes and evergreen series are so fun! Take a look at the video below to see a mini tour of the ones we have. They might be hiding in the forest of brushes when you visit so if you don't see them, just ask us and we will show you!
We also have a few of her beautiful sets! These are curated to be such a great selection. The packaging does not show off how amazing they are, but the packaging is not what matters. You can find more detailed layouts of these sets on their website or by emailing me for that info. The beginning watercolor set here has so many great brushes in it! We love all of these sets and think you will too.
This Workbench Warriors set is so cool too! Full of miniature sable spotters, rounds, and liners. It truly is full of some warrior tools.
These pocket brushes are so cool!!! We started with 4 of them, but already want to carry more shapes and styles. These are out on the floor in one spot but displayed more behind the counter so if you dont see them on the floor- just order at the bar. These would also make a great fancy stocking stuffer.
Swords, daggers, liners, pointed rounds, and lettering- oh my!
It was really hard picking a small selection of her brushes and sets so I am looking forward to bringing more in soon. Are you familiar with her brushes? If you have favorites you want us to stock, just let me know.
ArtGraf Graphite Sticks- A unique blend of graphite and binders, ArtGraf Graphite Sticks are ideal when used dry for drawing or with a range of water-soluble techniques. Formulated to offer superior results, these high-quality graphite sticks produce a large range of washes and graphite grays. Available in 3.5” stick or Graphite XL (7”x2”x1”).
ArtGraf Carbon Sticks & Pencils- Featuring a rich matte, black lead, these pencils provide an ultra-smooth and consistent stroke and make blending and shading a breeze!
We stock all of the ArtGraf products and they are a fun tool to explore. Here are a few goofy videos I did to show the difference in the pencils and sticks. You will also find a link at the end of a professional video that shows some more of the fun you can have with these products. He is primarily using one of the discs and the pencils and sticks are similar. We stock a small selection of the discs, putty, and powder. We can always order you any of the products you want. Find all our options in store or explore them online at our catalog shop HERE.
Add shimmer to your projects
Rub ‘n Buff wax finishes are so cool! Formulated from Carnauba waxes, fine metallic powders, and select pigments for a finish no paint can duplicate. Rub onto clean, dry, or previously painted surfaces or on post-fired ceramics with a finger or soft cloth, then gently buff to a beautiful luster. More buff, more shine!
Spiff up all the light switch covers in your house. Make those drawer pull hardware pieces unique. Use it on your favorite hammer to make it look like gold, haha. Detail trim, make your screws and hardware shine, pots & pottery, light fixtures, and the list is endless. Works on metal, glass, plastic, wood, and all kinds of surfaces. Workable for a bit and can smudge and smear it before you buff n shine it. It sets up as it dries so it’s an easy fix and refresh on all kinds of things. Of course we love it to fix up or refresh old picture frames but it’s cool for so many more things.
They have discontinued many colors over the years but we stock all the colors available at both our stores. We may even have some stock left on discontinued colors… you never know what you will find here. Ask to see our color chart of color options.
Tips: A little bit goes a long way! You really don’t need much and the tube goes so far. Use a bristle brush to get it into grooves or blend it for a textured look. Sand or scuff up the surface - just lightly- if you’re having adhesion problems. Use thin coats and light layers. If you need a second coat, let the first one dry completely. I’m always too impatient and want another layer before it’s time, haha. Have fun & experiment with it in different ways.
Have you ever tried Rub ‘n Buff? What do you think of it? I have a list of things I want to try it on. I always forget about it and am constantly reminding myself of it again.
The pen with a hidden surprise
These pens are wild fun! Most people don’t know the way they behave with water and a brush- secret tips + tricks! You can find some great videos online using them this way. I just made a silly mini demo video messing around doodling with them so you can see what they can do.
Elegant Writer calligraphy pens are acid free and water based. They come in many tips sizes and even colors. Crisp chisel points for lettering but also super fun to draw and even paint with. Sketch out things before you paint or make beautiful handwritten letters and cards- so many options! I sometimes use them to sketch out a painting idea and do quick water sketches with them to see if I want to put something to canvas or not.
These pens are $1.95 each or $7.45 for the 4 pack. We have all the sizes and some colors in stock. We have tons of calligraphy pens and a newly remodeled section where they all live. Nothing is quite like these pens though. They’re one of a kind, and wild. They often remind me of those old ink-in-a-bottle pencils with their soluable lines of blue tones and the delicious inky washes you can do with them.
Elegant writers are surprisingly fun and they make an easy tool to loosen up with. Sometimes I use them to warm up and get my creative juices flowing for other projects. Have you ever tried them? What do you think about them?
Here's some goofy videos I made playing around with them to show you some of the wild affects these pens have. They are so fun to work with in this way.
Scratch off coupons
Scratch off coupon cards with every art store purchase.
What discount will you win?
We started giving these out as a limited time promo when the art store opened back up for in-store shopping in July. They are so much fun! We just can't stop giving them out, haha.
Freebie coupon fun with every purchase- through the end of the year. Or maybe longer, if we just can't stop.
We appreciate you shopping local with us and this is a fun way we can give back to you!
Pumpkin Posca Paint Pens
Say that fast five times!
I can't believe it is mid November. So many wild adventures that this year has held. I've always preferred to focus on being thankful rather than complaining, because I find more strength in that approach. Gratitude has been taken to entirely new levels for me this past year. Sure, there are tons of crazy things to be stressed about or concerned on that are often so loudly in my face. The challenge of focusing on the positive and finding the hidden things to be thankful for is inspiring to me. It is akin to smearing paint pigments across blank surfaces, full of wonder & curiosity at where the bold colors will lead and what brush strokes will stand out after the paint has dried. What remains after the pain is gone defines adversity to me as much as the perseverance it takes to get through it does.
Gratitude is multi-layered with levels and depths that go far beyond the expression of words, or pigments. I keep editing this thank you card post, but it keeps getting longer with every edit because another layer catches my eye. I just want to take the time to properly thank you for being there for us. Thank you- for not only shopping local with us, but for showing me the layers of gratitude this year that I have never seen before. Your support and encouragement has taught me so much during these difficult times. It keeps all of us going here, every single day.
In the midst of challenges like unexpected major electrical upgrades needed to run a new saw and a leak in our roof that took out the shop heater, it has been challenging to keep a level head or think straight most days. There is always so much more to be thankful for than complain about though. Gratitude is so grounding. It is so humbling, and simple. One of the biggest things I am thankful for here, that keeps me going most days, is how much we can help other people. Artists have a profound impact on our communities, so the opportunity to serve artists is something that inspires me every single day.
From the minute to the major- both have the same depth. Selling a single eraser, an easel, or nothing at all, just problem solving with an artist- it all means so much to us. Every one of those is something that I'm thankful for because it continues the sustainability of our small business. It means we can continue to take care of our staff and help our community in numerous ways. Not gonna lie, all of those things have almost brought me to tears many times this past year. Small things matter as much as big ones, especially in times like these. A smile, kind word, or shout out can do as much for a small business as dollars can. A sale of $1 can have the same impact as a $100 sale. You never know when your enthusiasm or creativity can spark someone else's and give them fuel to get through their day. All the little things we do create big impacts we may not ever see. Shopping local with us supports our amazing staff & their families, teachers, parents, artists of all ages, and tons of organizations doing great things in our community. It is humbling to think of how far the ripples go out from our little business and the impact we can have on others around us. This is what keeps me going when times get rough.
I am incredibly thankful for the support of our community in the midst of challenges that try to knock me down. I choose to focus on what's beyond them- with a heart full of thanks, to each one of you. Your love and support of this small business stretches so far out into the community. The impact we can make together inspires and fuels me daily. Thank you! Thank you for keeping us here this year. Thank you for hanging in there with us through all the wild changes and challenges that this year has brought. We truly would not be here, or be the same, without you!
I hope that each of you finds gratitude in the midst of life's challenges that is as rich and as highly pigmented as the one you have brought me and my staff this year. It is impossible to tell you how much that truly means to us.
Be well, stay safe, and keep making lots of art!
The world needs it now more than ever.
Pumpkin Paint Pitcher Plants
(say that fast five times)
This plant is a favorite in the shop lately, be sure to check it out when you visit!
Bizarre Bargains Galore
New Tiny Shiny section at the shop. Stocked full of so many curious & bizarre things you’ll think you went to tiny shiny heaven. At these prices, you really might have. More tiny things are stocked out daily. Tons more to come as we put out this fun estate we got a little while ago. If you’re looking for random funky things to add to miniatures or make unique gifts from- we have got you covered! At 4 for $1 prices on all the miniature trinkets you can stock your studio full of curious oddities and be amazed at how little it costs to have so many fun tiny shiny things. Grab bags for 50 cents, shiny Dresden foil paper for only $1, and so many fun animals, creatures, clowns, cameos, and the list goes on! Come check it out!
Super cool vintage watercolors in stock. Priced like used paints but these are all new and in great shape. Student grade $2/each and higher quality than you’d think. Professional grade paints range from $3-$10 and there are two sizes available. Some hard to find colors too! Come check them out in person or send us a list of any colors you’re looking for if you want a curbside pickup or delivery. These are one-of-a-kind and will go fast. Snag them while you can!
Save those beautiful caps and turn them into magnets! Random fun idea for you
Coming soon: vintage grumbacher oil paints… stay tuned!
Plants, paint, and pens- oh my!
Just plants and art supplies, that's all.
Mention this post and get an extra 20% off your purchase of any encaustic supplies
Order at the Bar & let us serve you
In our remodel of the shop most things are available to shop independently but some things are now “order at the bar.” We are still working on creative ways to make this more fun and easy. We have visual “menus” to shop from and price lists that help you see options available behind the bar. While this may feel different or strange at first, I promise we can make it fun! We are always happy to help you find exactly what you want and give you the time and space to look through things on your own. So don’t let our new set up make you feel any different- we are here to serve you up quality art supplies, at great prices.
If you haven’t had a chance to visit us in person yet here’s some pictures so you can see what I mean. Keep reading to find out what items are available at the bar, why we did it, how it works, and our long term plans in the new set up.
Items Available “behind the bar”:
bulk sketchbooks, bulk paper deals & reams, bulk palettes, handmade papers, stretcher bars, canvas, wood panels, bulk class pack supplies, easels, bulk backing boards, tracing paper rolls, acetate & duralar, colored paper rolls, and basically all the usual things we had hiding here in our caverns of a back room.
How it works:
Top selling items we have easy to use menu samples that are visual and easy to use. Like a spinner of palettes to order from. Canvas we have a basic line up of sizes to help you see them for reference. We have tons more sizes available that we are happy to pull out for you and a price list to order from like a menu. We have clipboard menus of all handmade paper samples and bulk ream papers to flip through so you can see all the options behind the counter. (Similar to the same way you used to flip through sample books for wallpapers, haha) Other items we like to work personally with you on, like a waitress/waiter would, to determine and narrow down options closer to what you’re looking for and then we bring up all the options you may like.
We have order desks placed between our register stations so you aren’t waiting in line the same. The info/order desks are reserved for more personalized service and problem solving. Want to see all of the sizes of canvas we have available? We gotchu! Want to pick our brain on varnish issues or pigment questions? We gotchu! Have a class you need a ream of paper for and not sure what one you need? We gotchu! Mindfully placing these order desks create space for helping you in a more purposeful way than in the middle of the aisles amidst other shoppers. Having several places for this all along the bar also enables us to step back out of the way of traffic in the store to work with you one on one. Think of it like the help desk at a book store or library, same kind of concept.
So, while it may seem weird or different, it’s actually a new and improved way to help you. Don’t be shy or feel weird about ordering things from behind the bar- we love serving your art supplies needs and helping answer any questions you have!
Why we did it-
Well, first goal and priority is obviously keeping all shoppers and our staff safe during pandemic times. The wrap around bar has plexi glass between us, and we installed it in a way that is classy and doesn’t feel like some weird barrier. We have staff and customers that are higher risk so we have mindfully considered everyone’s safety in our remodel so that everyone can feel comfortable in our shop. We value all life and have worked very hard to create a safe and inspiring atmosphere in the shop for all. It may be weird times we are living in, but we can all work together and get through them. We prefer to focus on what we do best- helping you find the art supplies you need to keep you creating! So we have created our new set up to be fun and unique with everyone's safety and comfort in mind.
Another good reason for this change is respect for the supplies themselves. Have you ever noticed dinged paper or dusty fingerprints on the paper you want? Have you ever noticed how stacking canvas is an art in itself and if it’s not done properly they can puncture & damage each other? These are all issues many do not consider that are daily tasks in the life of art supply store elves. Keeping some of these things in areas we service for you keeps everything in nice shape and eliminates many damages from happening.
Creating the bar also feeds into some long term goals I have in the future. Creating this space lends to a better set up for demos, workshops, and other fun events. Believe it or not we used to have the same setup when I started working here, but I begged Bob for 3 years to rip out the counters on one side so we can let people shop down the aisles. I have to admit that considering building back counters in front of the aisles was not my first choice, haha. After much time and thought planning the safety of the shop in a pandemic I decided it was a wise move, and one with many options for the future. For now, it makes a wonderful way to keep staff and shoppers safe- but in the long term, it lends to some fun opportunities we have never had here and I’m excited about the journey ahead of fine tuning the design on this new set up. So instead of being sad you’re not able to go down the aisles anymore, be excited with us as we reinvent many aspects of the shop that I think you’ll end up loving.
Moving the entire frame shop to the other location has also presented many challenges as we are still moving some large fixtures over there when we can. Some items currently behind the bar will be more accessible to you as we move large furniture to the other location. We also have several online shops and having the aisles behind bar to organize our online orders has been important. The paper aisles simply aren’t set up the way you might remember them as we use the space differently during these strange times.
Thank you for your patience with us as we adapt and adjust to new ways of operating. We take everyone’s safety seriously and we are also looking ahead to future goals as we reinvent the space here. We are always open to comments and suggestions on how to do things better too! If you have any good feedback on how our Order at the Bar works or doesn’t work, for you please don’t hesitate to let me know.
Bulk Bargains galore!
Having adequate organization on all of our bulk deals and bargains has been helpful on restructuring the shop. Makes things easier to find & shop for staff and shoppers alike.
I know this has been a longer article but I think it’s important to explain these changes so you know what to expect in the shop and more of the reasons why we have things set up the way we do right now. Here are some fun before & after pics for you of the space.
Access Octomono Masonry Settings