12 Inspired Gifts for the Artist in your Life

Artists can be notoriously hard to buy for.  We tend to march to our own internal drummers and may not be overly vocal about where we’re headed.  What is a loved one or partner to do during the holidays?

So I present to you my curated list of “things artists will love”, broken down by behaviours that you may have witnessed in your particular artist creature:

If your artist’s natural habitat is outdoors

1) A subscription to “Plein Air” magazine ($40 USD).  This publication is full of art eye candy, tips and tricks for outdoor painters of all levels up to pro.

2) Merino clothing (various $$) is wonderful for long stints standing still outside in the winter, where we’re not generating our own heat.  I find it great for regulating temperature and have worn it in everything from -20C to the Malaysian jungle at +40C and intense humidity.

3) I hadn’t heard of these until I googled boot warmers ($17-$29) – but look!  Now we have heated insoles ($50 – $150 range) available to us!  Or you can try these ($15) for a great stocking stuffer idea.

4) These touchscreen-compatible cycling gloves will help your artist to hold their brushes, keep their fingers warm while they take compositional cell phone shots or set warm-up timers.

For the dining room or studio species

5) These daylight easel lamps ($130) can help your artist to paint long after the sun goes down, by ensuring that the colours seen at night are the same as those seen during the day.

6) These cute  personalized art aprons ($40) will let your painter dash in and out of the studio without having to change clothes.

7) Take care of your painter’s feet with cushy and supportive slippers that will let them spend all day at the easel, or take it a step further with an anti-fatigue mat ($50).  I love how Gelpro’s offer all the ergonomic benefits of a factory floor mat, but are pretty enough to go in the home.

For the intellectual painter

8) Richard Schmid’s “Alla Prima II” ($95 USD) came out this year, and is generally regarded as the best instructional book available for serious students of representational painting.  My own copy of “Alla Prima I” was a constant companion for about five years before I found “Alla Prima II” in the mail – and it has enough content to keep me reading for years!  (A side note: this book is pricey, but my version of Alla Prima I is currently selling on eBay for over $700.  Once painters get their hands on this book, they don’t let it go!).


9) “The Art Spirit” by Robert Henri (starting at $15) has been a night-stand staple for artists for almost a century.  It’s packed with tips for landscapes and portraits, and also philosophical insights that will lift your artist’s spirit for many years to come.

10) Walter Isaacson’s novel “Leonardo da Vinci” ($18 and up) came out in October and is already a #1 bestseller!

11) I’ve enjoyed several of Craftsy’s painting courses ($20 and up).  They come in a range of skill levels and painting mediums, and if you gift a class and your artist decides that they would really like to learn something else (I’ve learned about gardening, cake decorating and pizza-making, to name a few!) they can use the credit for whatever peaks their interest.


And finally, for every artist

12) Keep them inspired with flowers!  I love the idea of providing fresh inspiration through the winter with a monthly subscription service (starting at $40/month).


That’s the list for this year’s Santa!

Artists, what will you be asking Santa for this year?  Leave a comment below!


Happy painting,


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