Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Last Man Standing

So here we are just two and a half weeks from Christmas and you've gotten all of your presents purchased, wrapped and stowed away where the cats can't get at them because if the little terrors see all of that glittery wrapping paper and shiny bows there can be only one answer...disaster!

But you being and experienced shopper and knowledgeable pet owner have secreted away all of your gifts and are ready for a relaxing two weeks while everyone else goes into full Chicken Little mode.

You haven't? You mean there are still people you haven't gotten presents for? You are in big trouble. All of your procrastinating has brought you to this moment and now it's get in there and shop like mad or give canned crab again this Christmas.

Now there is nothing at all wrong with canned crab and in fact in the crab deprived parts of the country a gift of crab can be welcome, but it won't do you a bit of good on Christmas morning when everyone is opening their presents and your sister from Boise got everyone Ipod 8gb Nanos and you have nothing to offer, but canned crab.

So what to do?

Let's put our heads together and see if we can't come up with gifts that actually might please someone and not get tossed in the bottom of the closet again this year. True, if your loved ones are stationed in Kandahar that can of crab might just bring a tear of joy, but that's only because it reminds them of home and they've been eating military food for the last eight months and even a stale box of chocolate covered cherries salvaged from last Christmas or a fruit cake, yes, soldiers serving in war zones will eat fruit cake and even though you will get nasty notices from the Geneva Convention and the War Crimes people from The Hague will start proceedings, you will at least get those cherries out of the house. On second thought a fruit cake might just be considered a Weapon of Mass Destruction and then the troops will be sent to invade your house looking for those WMDs and in the process you get rendition and an all expense paid holiday to beautiful Guantanamo Bay. No better save the fruit cake for the office party and leave the war zone to cool down on its own.

So what to get at the last moment if fruit cake and chocolate covered cherries are out?

Have you ever met an artist who had enough paper? I know, there are folks who paint and don't actually use paper, except when they are sketching out the design for their next triptych or making a cartoon which is not Daffy and Bugs, but a way to transfer a mural-sized image without being the Amazing Colossal Man.

We're lucky here in Coos Bay, we have The Art Connection, just about the best place on Earth if you are an artist in need of materials. And because they are the best place on earth they have a selection of papers which will make any artist proud. You can get newsprint, charcoal, pastel, watercolor, scratch board and watercolor stock all at the same place.

Now I won't try to tell you about stuff that you know a lot more about than I do, but I can tell you that any artist would be happy to get Strathmore Charcoal Paper 12 x 12, 24 sheets for just $8.59 Or how about some Canson Watercolor Montval 10 X 15, 12 sheets for just $9.99?

Most of the time artists just buy what they need, they need so much cause art is a materials hungry thing to do and if you don't have materials you can't do the thing that your heart and mind is screaming for you to do so you buy what you need and hope that you win the big cash prize at the next show or that guy from California comes back and buys your collection of horseshoe crab paintings so that you can buy more materials for even more horseshoe crab paintings. But when do you get to buy something to experiment on? Never. That's right, you never divert the money from what you need to what might be fun because you never know when the next dollar is going to show up.

So there just isn't any money for stuff like pencils. Those Cretacolor Woodless Graphite pencils 2B-8B for $1.95 cheap at half the price and they looked so good at the Florence show when you were up there for Celebrate the arts! Or what about something less exotic like good ole Prismacolor? They make Turquoise you know and the Art Connection has them for only $1.17 or their Woodless Graphite for a measly $2.02 or the Charcoal for a buck forty or even the Water Soluble Graphite for just a dollar and forty-three cents. Now that's a stocking stuffer even I can live with. (Did I mention that my old pals insist I should be named MacMirandastein?)

And like Scrooge on Christmas Day why not wake up the good folks at Art Connection, okay, maybe you should go out and buy before Christmas Day so you won't have to wake up anyone on Christmas Day and get the dogs upset, so grab a handful of Tombow Mono $1.15 and they come in all flavors from HB-6H or HB-6B That's better than Heinz and their fifty-seven alleged spices and secret ingredients.

And while you are grabbing get a handful of Tortillions, get Rhondi to explain it to you if you don't know or how bout a Kneaded Rubber or two? The small ones are eight-nine cents and the big guys are a dollar forty-one. Who could ask for anything more?

Just in case you are the grasping type and think that this is a blatant plug for the local art supply, Art Connection...Art Connection...Art Connection, don't let the subliminals fool you it is not a product placement, but a legitimate suggestion, take a look at good ole Freddies.

That's right Fred Meyer has art supplies. I found Strathmore Watercolor Cold Press 11 X 15, 12 sheets for only $8.19. Cut it to fit your printer and see what those old Kodakchromes look like on great paper. You might also grab a COMO Sketch pad 9 X 12, 30 sheets for $5.49 and see how many you can get in a stocking.

Or stop by Staples and pick up a ream of their 65lb card stock. Any artist can always use heavy weight paper. I use it for printing cards, CD and DVD covers and labels for the prints I enter in shows and probably a bunch of other things which I can't think of now. I won't quote a price cause being Staples they might change it overnight, but it usually runs about 12 bucks for a ream and that kiddies is cheap for something you can use for so many things.

Now if you've come this far and still haven't found something for your artist's stocking stuffer, you are not out of luck, just go to Zazzel and take a look at all of the mugs you can get with art already printed on them. If I didn't have a cuppa in my hand there'd be no point in getting up in the morning.

The long suffering knows that until that first gulp of caffeine hits there just isn't any reason to talk to me, which is a sneaky way to introduce one more idea, coffee and tea, Okay that's two, but there are reasons not to drink coffee. Not any good ones of course and not drinking tea is just silly, the revolution has been over for a long time and those British guys know how to make a cuppa so with time running out maybe a pound of good tea or coffee is just what Santa needs to face that long, dark, terrible night assembling the grandkid's bikes?.

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