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Favorite Art Gifts

For this Christmas post, some Anderson Artists Guild members share memories of favorite art-related gifts:

Debbie Bzdyl: The gift that comes to mind for me is the oil paint set my grandmother gave me for my birthday. I think I was about 14 or 15. Before that time I mostly did pencil sketches. Oil painting opened up a whole new way to express myself! I remember setting up my table easel and paints on her front porch and working through one of the step-by-step paintings in the work book that came with the set. In December of 1966 I painted a still life for her as a Christmas gift. I now have that painting. It brings back fond memories of those early days of my grandmother and discovering painting.

Diana Winuk: My gift was from a boyfriend when I was in my teens. I fell in love with a painting of a farm scene with faded Coca Cola painted on an old barn. I fell in love with it and he bought it; after we left the show, he surprised me with it. That started my lifelong love of art.

Mary McAlister: At last year's Christmas gathering, I was signing folks in as they arrived. When Ruth Hopkins arrived with her watercolor painting, I suggested she place it with my stuff because I wanted to take care of it at my house. She laughed but did not follow my suggestion. As Evelyn and I reached the end of the drawing of names and numbers, I noticed the two treasures left included Ruth's painting. Evelyn pulled a number from the bag; I drew her name out of my bag, holding my breath. The number awarded another piece of art to Evelyn. Yea! Ruth's painting and my name remained. Ruth's treasure now adorns a favored spot in the den, where I can enjoy her creativity every day!

Evelyn Beck: Some years ago, at a Studio Stroll in Asheville, I fell in love with a painting but felt that I couldn’t afford its $850 price. My husband and son later drove back to Asheville to buy it and surprised me with it for my birthday. It was part of my journey from art lover to art owner to art creator.

Barbara Yon: Last year for Christmas from three of my young adult grandchildren I received art supplies. I was very surprised they had really thought about the gift for me. The supplies may not have been what I would have bought, but the thought which went into the gift was the real meaning.

Laurie King: Not sure if this is considered a "gift," but it was very meaningful. It was the first time I sold a piece of my photography. I've won a couple of merit awards, which was a nice surprise. But when I sold a piece of my work, I thought, "Hey, this person likes it enough to want it hanging in their home/office." I always send a thank you note to the person who purchased

my work.

Jamie Hansen: My mom has inspired me and influenced my artistic direction with a variety of gifts throughout my life. She often tells me that when she saw how much I loved to draw as a child, she started putting all sorts of materials in my hands, from pencils to markers and paints.

My mom has given me two Wacom tablets over the course of my art career and they have been indispensable tools in my studio. In 2004, she gave me my first graphics tablet as a birthday gift after I graduated from college. It was an Intuos II in purple. I carried it to my first job as a graphic artist when the small company that I worked for could not afford to buy one for me. She also gave me my second tablet a few years ago as a Christmas gift, just a year before I started my own business to sell my art and graphics.

My Wacom Intuos Pro is a graphics tablet that lets me draw on the computer in the same way that I would draw on a paper. As a leftie, I can use my dominant hand to interact with my graphics software—which I think makes me faster and more creative. I draw and paint on the computer. I use it to create layouts in design software and to browse the internet as if I am drawing a sketch. I am fast, intuitive, and efficient on my graphics tablet.

My computer is one of my favorite tools to use when I want to send my art out into the world. But I also think that my computer helps me channel my creativity and sends my artistic direction in a more purposeful direction. It helps me sort out my thoughts, mock up compositions for clients, and it runs the graphics software that I use to create the images in my fingers.

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