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Creativity Art Blog

  • Focus on Artists Blog - Lisa Congdon.

    Artists Blog of the Month

    Every month we are going to share with you an artists' blog of our choice. This is for us to help you get inspired and have you being creative for yourselves.

    We are all creative in some way and sometimes it can just take that little encouragement to help get you going, whether it is an art blog, a particular painting you have seen, paint supplies that you see as you browse an art shop, or even just in everyday living of your surroundings.

    The internet is always at hand nowadays and we can easily look up anything at a few clicks of a button and soon be inspired. We all find inspiration from different sources and one of them being Artist's Blogs. I have just discovered the talented and amazing fine artist, illustrator and author Lisa Congdon.

    The Artist 

    Lisa Congdon

    Living and working in Portland, Oregon, Lisa specializes in abstract paintings, pattern design, intricate line drawings and hand lettering. Amongst many of her clients are Martha Stewart Living, Cloud9 fabrics, Chronicle Books and Harvard University. She is a daily blogger and has written 5 books so far; How to Draw a Tulip in Twenty Ways and The Essential Guide to building your own career as an artist are just a couple of them. You can read about the artist and more in the below link.

    Lisa's Work

    Lisas' pattern designs are featured with Chasing Paper for wallpaper, with her very own collection, which looks awesome I must say. This wallpaper with Chasing Paper is not just any wallpaper, it is a special wallpaper which is designed and manufactured to be re-movable which will stick to nearly any surface, how cool to be able to have removable wallpaper in your home, office, hairdressers, etc. Just incredible! I mean you could not find or get anything better than this really. Look at her awesome artwork on this link here.

  • Painting Competition

    Are you Britain's Best Hobby Artist?


    Like to paint, but only as a hobby? Well here is your chance to become Britain's Best Amateur Artist by entering in on this Painting Competition which will be open  from September 28th to October 31st. Find out more information on this link .

    Fill you boots with Art Supplies

    Step out of your comfort zone and see what happens. You will never know what could come of it if you do not give it a go. If you do decide to enter, and need some art supplies then pop in to our art shop in Dundee, Perth Road, or you can order online via our website or on Amazon.


    paintings by Maren Hoefler

    Have a go at winning yourself a painting holiday from this competition. Not to be missed!

  • Cobra Waterbased Oils

    Facts, Hints & Tips on Cobra Oils

    I just recently found this article on everything you really need to know about Cobra Water-soluble oils. The artist Lori McNee tells us all about why she uses them and gives us the lowdown on the facts of these oils plus her very own hints and tips. It is a bit of a read but, highly recommend you read it as it is most helpful and does summarize the use of these oils and explains really how remarkable they are. Having used the Cobra oil paints myself I truly found this article to be valuable to me and know it will benefit me in the future whenever I pick up my palette knives again.


    Read the article HERE just to find out for yourself how awesome the Cobra oils are and be inspired once you have picked up Loris hints and tips.  Below is just one of Loris beautiful oil paintings "en plein air" Rain Roses.

    Lori mcnee

  • DJCAD Master’s Show

    Masters Degree Show

    The DJCAD (Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee) Masters show is a necessarily more sedate affair than the undergraduate show which precedes it by a few months.  The emptying of the city during the summer months means that the numbers of visitors to the show both on the opening night and during its week long run is significantly less than its sister event.  However, this should in no way be interpreted as attendant on the quality of the work on display which this year particularly was of exceptional quality.

    The master’s programmes offered by DJCAD ensure that the Master’s show provides a wide variety of art and its applications that goes way beyond traditional fine art.  With Medical and Forensic Art, Art, Society and Publics, Fine Art and Humanities and Animation and Visualisation programmes there was something for everyone to engage with.

    Forensic and Medical Art

    IMG_1379In the Forensic Art programme, visitors could look at the application of medical art to develop learning tools, to show the difficulty in creating police composite sketches and to create facial reconstructions from human remains.  The work by Amy Thornton on the facial reconstruction of the nineteenth century poisoner and pirate Alexander Tardy from a cast of his skull in the University of Edinburgh Anatomy Museum and Hannah Isaacs reconstruction of a male skull from the Edinburgh Trams project illustrate perfectly the points at which art, history and science intersect.  Anatomy was an important part of the training of Renaissance artists, with Leonardo Da Vinci in particular conducting his own dissections in order to achieve greater understanding of the human form which he reproduced.  The Forensic Art programme combines this great tradition with the latest in digital and manual reconstruction techniques.  Leading on from this is also the Msc in Medical Art, The highlight of this programme was Claire Taylor’s book project “Understanding Terminal Cancer”, aiming to provide a resource for people with a terminal cancer diagnosis with the scientific aspect of their diagnosis and prognosis.  This laudable ambition, to increase patients’ agency by increasing their access to information which helps them to fully understand their predicament shows that art can be used not just for scientific and educational purposes but also to benefit people in a very difficult life situation.PROMO IMAGE

    Art, Society and Publics

    P1020917 (1)In the Art, Society and Publics show the highlight for me was undoubtedly Penelope Matheson’s project “Nest of Gentlefolk” a series of surreal arrangements of animal ceramics, reminiscent of the creations of Hieronymus Bosch and early Dali sculptures.  These intricate and interesting pieces which also showed a high level of technical skill seemed to transform as one changed ones view points, and for me were one of the highlights not just of that particular course, but of the entire show.

    Fine Art and Humanities

    MashaviThe Fine Art and Humanities programme was the biggest section of the show and displayed a variety of work with disparate concepts, techniques and impacts.

    Sekai Machache’s show “Mashavi” explored the issues of African women’s identity in relation to the manipulation of hair, specifically around the tradition of braiding.  Her work combined painting, photography, sculpture and sound work to create a space which explores the braid as a cultural artefact as well as a hairstyle.

    Jae Ferguson’s delicate and intricate drawings of organic structures provided a great satisfaction to visitors who wanted to see more technique than just good conceptual work.  The perfection and simplicity of these pieces were refreshing and different in a world which is so often more concerned with the idea behind the work than the technical quality or what is produced.


    Animation and Visualisation

    10997499_934548359891211_139226110559213042_nThe animation course produced a series of entertaining and beautiful shorts, supported by extremely advanced supporting artist work.  Particularly outstanding in this respect Bimpe Alliu and Christina Maul with the animated music video “Hell Well” being the most coherent and entertaining stand alone piece on the show reel.


    The opening night of the show was a thoroughly enjoyable evening with far more space to move around and look at the work than at the over attended undergraduate degree show earlier this summer.  The artists showing were friendly and on hand to speak about their work during the rest of the week as well as at the opening.

    Currently you can still access the web page of the show at:


    At this link you can find full listings of all of the artists exhibiting as well as information on how to contact them and follow their progress.  iartsupplies would like to wish all this years graduates the best of luck in what promise to be bright artistic futures.


    Fiona MacHugh

  • J.M.W Turner Sandycombe Lodge

    Turners Home

    Famous talented artist J.M.W Turner built his own lodge in Sandycombe, Twickenham, which he designed for himself in 1813. The beautiful building which has been looked after and raised funding for restoring it, has been open to the public since April this year til October once a month allowing visitors to come along and see the famous artists' stunning lodge. Interested to see it and learn more then click here and get the details of when you can visit, only small problem is there is no parking so you are required to hop onto a train to visit. This is a "must go and see" for me after studying so much about the artist myself whilst at art college.

    Watch this video to see inside  J.M.W Turner House Here


  • Calligraphy Hack

    f3579673250d9183994b8f5ab1e022d7Want to make use of some calligraphy script but don't have the time or materials right now to learn how to use a purpose pen?  Don't worry, we've found this great hack for you which shows you how to use fineliners to create calligraphy like writing. 

  • Wrinkling in your Oil Painting?

    What causes winkling in Oil Paints?

    wrinking of oil paint Oh Dear!

    It’s not a pretty sight. Usually we associate wrinkling with age, but if you have found your oil paintings wrinkling, age is not the cause! It is the drying process that is top of the list, with possible combinations of paint quality, colour, and your technique also contributing to the issue. If you want to know how to avoid it, then read on!

    Wrinkling is caused during the drying process when the surface of the paint layer dries faster than the body of the layer itself. As oils (linseed, poppy, safflower etc.) have a chemical drying process by oxidation and obviously the oxygen from the air reaches the surface of the paint quicker and more easily than the paint underneath. If the surface then dries to a closed film, this effectively blocks the oxygen to the paint underneath. As the oil is expanding by the addition of oxygen molecules, the surface of the paint layer tends to expand faster than the paint on the inside, especially when the surface does dry to a closed film. Then the difference in expansion causes wrinkling.

    slight oil wrinking Not a nice sight!
    oil wrinkling in thick paint Give some thought to the colours you use









    The surface of a paint layer can dry to a closed film for several reasons:

    1. First of all when the paint contains a relatively high percentage of oil, which is the case with very fine (transparent) pigments. Pigments in oil colours are surrounded by oil, and if the pigment particles are (relatively) very small, the collective surface of the pigments is huge and a significant quantity of oil is needed. The more oil (or put another way, the less volume of dry “breathing” ingredients), the more closed the superficial film and the higher the risk of wrinkling.
    2. The second reason can be the chemical composition of the pigment. Some pigments, such as cobalt and earth colours, contain elements that catalyse the accessibility of oxygen and therefore act as siccatives (speeding up the drying), with the same result as mentioned above. Also traditional lake pigments (e.g. traditional madder lakes, not used in the Rembrandt Oil Paints, here the “Permanent” madder lake is based on a modern replacement) tend to cause wrinkling.
    wrinking of oil paint Thick or thin, certain colours and additives like linseed oil or poppy oil can increase the wrinkling risk.

    This also explains why the risk of wrinkling with Van Gogh Student Oil paint is less than with the artist quality Rembrandt range of oil colour. In Van Gogh Oil the quality of pigment is partly replaced by extenders. The particle size of these chalk kinds of products is relatively big when compared with the pigment itself (so relatively less oil is needed), the particles themselves “open” and therefore give access to oxygen, also to the oil within.

    How can I reduce the risk of my oil painting wrinkling?

    By adding oil to the paint, the risk of wrinkling is increased, especially with metal and pearlescent colours. It is advisable to thin the paint with a painting medium, not with pure oil. Although mediums do contain oil the wrinkling is different and therefore reduced.

    Although Royal Talens (makers of Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Cobra and Amsterdam paints) do try to avoid wrinkling as much as possible by adjusting their recipes, for some colours wrinkling cannot be eliminated without decreasing other quality aspects of the paint. If these kinds of colours are applied thickly, it is advisable to mix them with Painting Paste. This “painting butter” gives oxygen access to the oil within the paint as well, without changing the hue of the colour.

    So in summary you can avoid wrinkling in the following ways

    1. Give careful thought to the colours you use, as well as the paint quality.
    2. If you have the time, try out some tests first to be sure
    3. Don't add oil to your oil paint. You do not need to do this. You should only add a "medium"
    4. If you are using a “risky colour” in a high quality paint then think about
      1. How thickly you are going to be painting
      2. Can you thin it out a little with white spirit and make the paint leaner?
      3. Can you make the paint fatter and add some painting medium?
    5. If you want to paint thickly, with a high quality (high pigment content) and/or “risky colour” then think about adding some filler like painting paste.
    painting with wrinkling I am slightly wrinkled here and there, but I am not old yet!
  • Art Journals and Mixed Media

    blogAre you interested in starting your own art journal, improving your art journal techniques, looking for new ideas for backgrounds, pages etc.?  This great blog provides ideas, tutorials and guidelines, check it out for some inspiration and education.


  • Sakura Gelly Roll Pens

    Whats so great about Gelly Roll Pens?

    Gelly Roll Pens are gel ink pens which come in a variety designed for writing and doodling with. They were the first pens that created the gel ink category within the writing instrument industry. These creamy pens are ideal for creating art, writing in scrapbooks & journals, signing documents, daydream & doodle. These pens are chemically stable, waterproof, fade resistant, no smearing, no feathering and the ink does not bleed through on most papers.  These pens make writing and self expression effortless. You will find that there is an incredible array of colours to choose from providing favourite  "flavours" for allowing your thoughts flow directly onto your chosen paper surface.

    gelly-rolls 6

    What colours go Gelly Roll Come in?

    You can use the gelly roll pens for writing cheques also - making writing these out a lot more fun and prettier - but ideal colours for this is either black, blue, royal blue & burgandy due to the gel ink's resistance to fraudulent washings.

    Gelly roll pens come in a variety. You get them in ranges of Glaze, Metallic, Stardust, Moonlight, Classic, Gold & Silver Shadow. We sell the Glaze, Metallic and Stardust ranges in our shop which, you can also purchase online on our website.

    Look at just a few of the things you can do using these beautiful Gelly Roll pens.

    gelly roll 3

    gelly roll 2

    gelly roll 1

    gelly roll 7

    gelly roll 6

    Watch the following video to see how you doodle with gelly roll pens using a variety of the pens.

    Watch the following video to see how you write with the gelly roll pens and see the effects they give on light & dark papers.

    Happy writing & doodling x x

  • Art Profiles: Jonathan Hood


    August's Artist Profile

    We were lucky enough to be able to go and speak to one of WASP Dundee’s resident artists, Jonathan Hood for the second of our Dundee art profiles.

    As always we were interested to know about the artist’s background and artistic education. Hood told us;

    “I went to college straight from school but I was very lucky because my school art teacher just encouraged me the whole way.  I remember a careers officer when I was about 17, and he said, “What is it you want to do?” and I said “I’m very much sold on the idea of going to Art College”.  And he said, “To do what?” And I said, “Drawing and painting”. And his response was, “That’s a woman’s hobby, you can’t do that. How about architecture?”  And eventually he said “We’ll compromise, I’ll put you down for art history”.  And I thought you’re not listening to me…And he wouldn’t hear me.”

    Paris and L'Ecole des Beaux Arts

    Despite this Hood did go on to Art College and studied at Duncan of Jordanstone from 1976 to 1979.  He then left his studies there to follow the route many of the worlds and history’s most famous artists have; to study in Paris.

    “That sounds all very grand and everything,” he says, “but it was basically, well, I got into L’Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris. It was effectively a drawing class but I learned more there than I learned the whole time in Dundee. I was living along the road from the Jeu de Paume and the Pompidou centre, and all these wonderful little private art galleries dotted about the place. If you go over to the left bank in Paris, round Boulevard du Saint-Michel, Rue Saint- Antoine you’ve got all these different tiny galleries.  There were these immediate connections to things and it really blew me open.  I spent a year there and there’s some wonderful stuff.  The way that France and the French deal with painting is different. Painting is very, very much alive.”

    After this seminal experience in one of the world’s artistic capitals, Hood returned to Scotland.

    Getting Started

    “I came back 1980/81 and had a few years knocking around…trying to be a rock star at one point…that was quite good fun.  But I always painted.  At that point I was self employed and I was beginning to get noticed.  I spent a little bit of time on the dole, which is always, and was especially so in the 1980s, a very character building situation.  But there was this thing called the Enterprise Allowance Scheme so I decided to go on that and got picked up by a couple of galleries in that time and I was doing quite a lot of portraits of people’s dogs and things like that. I paint the whole animal rather than these terrible head and shoulders things.  I’d rather do the whole creature.”

    Whilst Hood attempted to establish himself, he was fortunate to be noticed by Christine Heinzel, an event which may have substantially altered his fortunes.

    “About 20 years ago, 25 years ago, Chris Heinzel walked through that door, and says “I really like your work,” and she had just opened a gallery in Aberdeen; Gallery Heinzel which is still running though it’s not run by her anymore.  One of the best galleries on the East Coast, and I took my work up and she phoned me a week later saying have you got any more?  And I said yeah, well why?  And she said we’ve sold it all….which was a bit of a shock.”

    Inspiration and Method

    It isn’t hard to see why Hood’s eye catching work has proved so popular over the course of his career.  We wanted to know a little more about how he chooses his subject matter, materials and his method.

    “I started off doing these landscapes.  I was going out just taking photographs, going out walking, and then people started appearing in them and then the people sort of took over.”

    Jonathan Hood Artist 3 take 5 - 31x31 inches

    “I use various techniques to achieve various results. Sometimes I use collage, sometimes if I can’t be bothered painting an aeroplane I’ll cut one out and stick it on.  Or taking sports photographs, ripping them up and then sticking them back together, you get all sorts of interesting different forms and shapes.  Predominantly I work in oil,”

    “Before I very rarely used acrylics, but I got started using them through a project.  I was asked if I would paint some murals in a little private zoo near Edinburgh.  Basically painting backdrops, jungle scenes, things like that and I thought why not, it seems like a good way of sort of cleansing the mind.    And I won’t really have to think too much about what’s going where or anything like that.  And that was painted in acrylic.  That got me back into that and I thought ok, I’m going to try something out on hardboard, because I prefer hardboard.  You can get great vibrant colours with acrylic.”

    Jonathan Hood Artist New Work 2015

    Spontaneous inspiration is important to subject selection in Hood’s work also.

    “One of the things that I do sometimes is I see something and I just get that click. It’s about observing and it’s about taking your time. One of the first things I was taught about when I first went to Art College was looking and observing.  And just taking in what you see in front of you, because most people will look at that and say what colour is that wall, well white, but there’s actually all sorts of different things you can be trained to see that aren’t immediately obvious.”

    The Future of Art

    We asked Hood about what he thinks prevents people from getting into or involved with art?

    “There’s a lot of fear surrounds art now.  A lot of people seem to feel it’s far too far above them, or they don’t understand it.”

    We asked about what advise Hood would give to those about to embark on an artistic career, the response was practical but ominous.

    “Students are not taught anything practical at college these days.  We used to have a class, materials and methods.  And we were taught how to make rabbit glue, we were taught how to make varnishes, you were taught how to make your own primer, prepare your own ground, chalk and gesso and so on. These skills are disappearing fast.  I come from a time when we’d spend hours in the dark room processing large black and white prints.  People don’t sit in a dark room breathing fumes anymore, it’s all digital.  These skills are disappearing, and at our peril.”

    Fiona MacHugh


    Jonathan Hood regularly exhibits work in various galleries including the Sun Gallery, Newburgh, Scotland, the Eduardo Allessandro Gallery, Broughty Ferry Scotland,  Abiergo Casanova Gallery,Lucca Italy, Jeanne o Contemporain 2012 Orleans, France and the Laurel Gallery, Stockbridge, Edinburgh, Scotland.

     He welcomes visitors to his WASPS studio during working hours or by appointment, contact: Studio 201, Meadowmill, W. Henderson Wynd, Dundee, DD1 5BY

    Tel:  0772 933 1250

    You can also follow his work on his Facebook page:


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