I have a nasty thing called "A Birthday" coming up. I don't like them at ALL! I enjoy still being "here", preferably 'here now", as in "in the moment", but I don't like the yearly reminder that I'm older. It seems to sit in judgement of me, as in "So what exactly have you accomplished in the year that just flew by since your last birthday?".
So I try to look at it as a "REbirthday", but it's difficult to stay in that mindset. I know that truly the voice of judgement in the back of my head is that of my inflexible and cowardly father and my psychotic stepmother, who never had anything nice to say about my dreams or accomplishments, either one. No matter what I did or what anyone else thought of it, what I got from either of them was at best "Yeah, but you can do better", and at worst a long mean spirited lecture on why I should not be wasting my time on what I loved best. Talk about a motivation killer! And that was just concerning art. I finally gave up on those people when I learned what toxic parents were.
The upside of birthdays is that I love everyone else's! Maybe it's a vicarious thing, I enjoy celebrating and choosing neat presents for those I love. My beloved's birthday is just before mine, and I have picked out something really cool, and it's also useful. It's a milestone birthday, so it's even more special.
The one thing I will do for my own birthday, even though I lay low on the actual day (because a lot of bad things have happened to me on that day and I have become leery), is that I will indulge myself with a few things I have wanted, usually paint or green coffee beans. Last year and this year it was oil paint! (It's not here yet, I binged last night, that's last year's birthday paint in the photo). I got a coupon in my email from Studio Products, so I bought some Ugly Dog Painter's Safety Soap, which I use on both my brushes and hands. It works very well. (I use a barrier cream on my hands before I start painting, because I'm sensitive to latex so can't wear the gloves, but if I get a smear of a toxic cadmium or a cobalt I go wash and reapply the cream). I also got a tube of their Transparent French Red Ochre, because I wanted to try their paint, but I have a limited budget. It's also a very versatile pigment, good for landscapes and for portraits both. Studio Products offers a hard to find selection of Old Masters traditional resins and oils and specialty mediums as well as paint. There is often some controversy swirling around the owner on various art forums, I believe mostly because he is a person of strong opinions, but the products and service are excellent, though the prices are high. Artists who have used the paint extensively have reported excellent quality and workability, and many swear by the flake white as being the only white they will use. I bought the red ochre because while I have some lovely Vasari red earths, I wanted to try Studio Products in comparison. So far my Vasari earths are some of the nicest I have ever used. Vasari Classic Artist's Oil Colors is currently having a SALE on their earth colors through the end of March, so go take a look. You won't be disappointed in any of their paint! They have a sale every month or so on a different color set. I believe last month was greens.
I also dropped a C note on a nice lot of "Special" Cadmiums from the Williamsburg site. The "Specials" are colors that don't quite exactly match the standard line, but are still the same excellent handmade paint. When they are listed at half price or less a tube, ask me if I care! Cads are, like other paint, generally modulated and not used straight from the tube anyway. Really well made cadmiums are expensive, and I consider them a necessary luxury. Other reds and yellows, while having their place on a palette, just will not have the clarity or tinting strength of a finely made cadmium! So they were a great find (I was looking for something else and just stumbled across the specials). In truth, I have a Williamsburg Camium Yellow Light that I have to rub up with some high quality cold pressed linseed oil because it is drying in the tube. I will retube it, it was at least $30. a year ago. A year is a long time for a handmade paint to sit, so it's not the fault of the maker. But it's not much bother to salvage it. (If you need tubes, I finally found some at Sinopia). So if you are an oil painter, and love rich and vibrant color, and are looking for quality paint, grab some now before they are gone, this is another paint you will not regret having in your paint box!
Sinopia (now combined with Kremer, another big name in specialty supplies for discriminating oil painters and which, like Sinopia, is oriented toward supplies for making your OWN oil paints) is where I dropped another $50. on the fancy Swedish Cold Pressed Linseed Oil
which I got for the Cad Y L above. I also picked up some clove oil, which is used to slow drying time when you need to leave oil sitting on a palette. I often think I'll get back to a project the next day and it doesn't happen. A drop added to a paint nut or just to the palette which is then covered will help to retard drying.
So now I have to go back to work so I can pay for this late night buying spree (always when I am the most vulnerable to the lure of buying on the 'net, all alone and under the cover of darkness..)