I have used Golden Gesso many times in my life,
but never paid attention to how much a tub covered.
And I had to cover a carousel horse, not a canvas!
And I needed it pronto — I thought I had it, but I was looking a tubs of Black Gesso,
not usable for my white carousel horse.
So I went to the amazon of art supplies. WHY?
Because they took over the lovely smaller art store that had artists for employees,
and my closest really good art store that carries larger containers (Merriartist)
is about 1 1/2 hours away… I am on a time crunch!
The weekend was upon us so I could not wait the one day for shipping from Merriartist — it would have been three days, not one, and again, time crunch!
I asked the woman at the big box store if she knew Acrylic gesso… she said yes.
I asked her how much I should buy to cover a large wooden horse — she didn’t know.
She didn’t even think about it.
I asked if she thought the largest tub, 128oz — really, we are talking a gallon of gesso here — was enough. She had no idea. She could not even begin to think about this.
No one else at the big box store knew either.
I’d like to say this was an anomaly, but mostly when I ask questions there employees
walk over and read the information on the package. Like I can’t read.
Now I know that Sally at Merriartist would be stumped by my question to some extent
— she is also not in the habit of painting carousel horses to my knowledge…
but Sally knows gesso. She would have really considered this and given me her best shot. And I am sure I would not have bought TWO GALLONS of white gesso!
The coverage for this horse is under 32 oz… closer to 12oz but buying 32oz
would have been fine — having some left over for insurance.
Or I might have bought two 32 oz jars and taken one back, still less $$$.
I know the big box stores seem cheaper, but a lot of that is hype.
The biggest one I am thinking of is always having sales but check the fine print!
The sale coupon can’t be applied to anything already discounted and folks,
most items are already discounted…
I know for a fact Merriartist matches and sometimes beats their prices
as I’ve done pricing comparisons for studio projects.
Some of the big box stores that are craft stores sell inferior brands —
and this means you get inferior paper and paint and brushes and you didn’t even know.
Some folks have to buy cheap because they can’t afford it,
but even there, small art stores may have a better selection of student grade brands.
And frankly, I’m willing to pay a few pennies more (and it is just a few pennies more)
to have people save me money by knowing product.
Yes I can return unopened product, but most of the time I’ve opened it and it is all wrong!
The employees at the big box stores do not know anything about art supplies.
If you don’t support the small art stores,
they will disappear.
I have to buy and ship most of my supplies, as THE big box store
has a stranglehold on Portland, owning two stores here.
I use the two small online stores below for 99% of my art supplies,
and do not prefer one to the other —
They both don’t carry everything I want… so I spread the love around.
I just keep throwing things in my cart until I reach the minimum…
and occasionally I have to pay shipping.
Merriartist ships free at $90
(that number is so easy to reach
with art supplies, and I buy most
of my paint from them).
Sally is almost always there
to answer questions and if not,
employees either know product
(Yay!) or tell you if they don’t
(which I appreciate) — and they will call
you back! Merriartist usually can
get supplies to me in one day.
WetPaintArt ships free at $99,
also an easy $$ to reach!
They carry Hahnemuhle journals,
and fountain pens and ink,
so they always get one
order a year from me for sure.
Their employees also know stuff
(Yay!) and if not, will tell you!
Shipping take a few days from the midwest.
What are your favorite small art stores?
Do you still have one?
“Memory is more indelible than ink.”
Anita Loos, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
“I think not….”
Me… why I journal!
©D. Katie Powell.
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I teach architectural sketching,
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