Every artist has a list, either in their heads or, as in my case, written on a scrap of paper, taped to my desk. It's the "dream" list..."whenever I have enough money/talent/space, I would like..." On my list are things like 300 lb watercolour paper, Carbazole Violet Watercolour paint by Daniel Smith. Wait...scratch that...ANY Daniel Smith watercolour paint! (A quiet sigh of admiration...)
Artists are dreamers. That's how we make our magic, but it's also what gets in the way of us remembering important things that we NEED. If you have a Beloved Artist in your life, or if you are an Artist, here are some items that should be on a MUST HAVE list.
I. Protective Equipment
Yes, I said it. We need protection. Even though we are gently swirling colours on a palette, some of those colours have CADMIUM or other toxins. It's dangerous to have this on our largest organ, our skin. My solution is to wear gloves--clear, so my vision doesn't have to compensate for blue or purple, and vinyl, to avoid an allergic reaction to latex. A cheap and cheerful way to keep me safe. If your Beloved Artist can't bear to wear gloves while painting, another alternative is a product such as Skin Safer, which is a barrier cream. It doesn't replace a glove, but it's still a form of protection.
While we're on the subject, artists get so wrapped up in painting that they forget many of the things that they need. If you want to make up a kit for a Beloved Artist, include Lip Balm (with SPF protection for when they paint outside), a pair of Dollar Store gloves (to keep vinyl gloved hands from getting cold and to prevent "good" gloves from being splotched with paint!), sunscreen, bug spray and a hat. Also add an extra bottle of water, in case their drinking water ends up being used to wash brushes!
Life gets crazy sometimes. An artist tends to put everyone else first, so the magic suffers. There are always chores to do, responsibilities that take priority. A gift of free time is worth gold. If you say, "Let's make it a pizza night!", or, "Just go and paint--I'll do the dishes", you are celebrating the skills that your Beloved Artist has worked so hard to cultivate. you are giving them the time to do what they love; what feeds their soul.
Artists are in a constant state of wonder. They are also in a state of insecurity, questioning whether or not they "measure up" to the impossible lists of skills or artists that they are comparing themselves to. A kind word, a pat on the back, a reference to a "brilliant" piece they did previously, will help them to straighten their spine and fight on, creating what they are compelled to, despite any challenge.
Artists, with their work, celebrate the world. We sketch to make the desperate moments more endurable, move paint to turn sorrow into joy. That is our legacy and we are grateful to those who stand with us.
Thank you for spending this time with me,