I am an art supply geek. I love trying new art supplies and finding new tools. I love looking through art supply catalogues and searching around art stores. Not all artists are like that. Some like to find the right tool for them and then they stick with it for a long time. I do that with some tried and true things but I also like to find new stuff. Sometimes new stuff sits around for years and years before I figure out what to do with it. Sometimes I figure out how to use it right away.

I can remember this one time in the early 1990s, just a year or two out of college, I found some drawing pen nibs in the clearance bin at an art store. I think they were only a nickel or a dime a piece so they were dirt cheap even for a kid in his early 20s. I was never a big user of drawing pen nibs since I preferred a brush but I bought a bunch of them to try out. I probably bought ten or twenty different types of nibs in that batch. But only one of them a piece. Since I never found a lot of use for drawing nibs they sat there for years. One day I finally decided to put them through there paces and see what they could do. After all was said and done there was one nib in the batch that I really liked a lot. I ended up using it all the time but the problem was it was the only one I had of that type. Plus it was some weird off-brand that I have never seen since that clearance sale.
I protected that nib the best I could for a long time. But nibs wear out and I think I eventually dropped this one and it bent. To this day I question why I didn’t buy all of the clearance nibs and not just one of each. Probably would have only cost me ten bucks. Oh, well…

This subject comes up because I got a new art supply for Christmas. It’s a tabletop easel. It’s something I put on my wish-list a few months ago. It’s a wooden easel that’s made to sit on a table and be worked on. It’s not a display easel but a drawing easel. I remember that when I saw it I had an idea for using it for a specific task. Only right now I can’t remember that specific task. I can thing of a general task. Using the easel to help me paint my eight by ten inch acrylic on canvas painting. I normally paint those by laying them flat on my drawing table but I’d like to try standing them up on the little easel. I think that would be easier than using my big easel. Except I don’t think that was the task I had in mind when I first saw the easel. I wonder what my original thought was? I guess I’ll have to see if I can think it again.

I still have a new brush sitting on my desk too. It’s a type I haven’t used before. It’s an inexpensive number six round brush with synthetic bristles. I hardly ever uses synthetic bristle brushes but it caught my eye in the art store one day and I decided to get it. I had wanted to make a video of me trying it out. I started an art channel on YouTube where I show some how-to videos and explain some of my art making process. I thought it would be fun to make a video about a brush I had never tried before. I will probably still make that video but so far the brush has just sat there. Sometimes the time is not right.

One thing that helps me get things done when it comes to any specific art supply is to have that supply around and in sight. I bought a bunch of 18×24 inch canvases early in 2015 and worked on some of them in the early part of the year. Then August rolled around and I put them away because I was having my annual backyard BBQ. And they stayed put away. I don’t know why. A few of them usually hang around the studio but I had none of them out until late November. Plus when they were tucked away I had no new ideas for them. They weren’t in my mind except even now and then I wondered why they weren’t out. Since I pulled them out again I still haven’t worked on one but I have ideas brewing. I can see them forming in the back of my mind. That’s why I can’t tuck everything away.

One thing I’ve missed out on this year is a big art supply order. I’ve been getting the necessities in dribs and drops this year but sometimes when I have some extra money to spend I like to get a bunch of stuff all at once. Usually I order from a website when that happens and for a couple of weeks before I put in the order I look around all the nooks and crannies of the catalogue looking for new and interesting things. It’s fun. I have to give myself some time with it though. Hence the two weeks. At first I add anything that catches my eye to my cart but then I come back and see if it’s something that really interests me. Sometimes things survive that second look and sometimes they don’t. Plus there are choices to be made based on value. Cheap and interesting usually wins over expensive and interesting.

There is only one art supply in recent years I can think of that I still haven’t done anything with. That is the set of powder pastels that I bought a few years ago. I haven’t worked with regular pastels a whole lot but they offered this new type that was these little plastic containers of powder that you rub on the paper to draw with. I thought that was an interesting idea and dropped about twenty bucks on a small set. I messed with them for a little while but never quite figured out what to make with them. But there they sit. Waiting for their day to shine. Maybe someday they will.