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12 thoughtful last-minute gifts for the art lover in your life – Business Insider – Business Insider




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As the novel coronavirus pandemic surges across the country, many businesses remain temporarily closed, including some of our favorite museums. Those who enjoy fine art might not have been able to see some of their favorite pieces in person or discover new art in their usual setting. 

But luckily, art can be found in many other places besides local museums or galleries, and you can make any art fan’s day a little bit brighter with one of these art-inspired gifts. Whether it be a multi-color paint set to get their creativity flowing or a print of their favorite painting, these gifts will be a treat for someone who loves art. 

Modern Picasso-inspired pillow covers

Pillowsforworld Pillow Covers


Pillowsforworld Pillow Covers, available at Etsy, from $19.99

A pillow cover might be an unexpected gift for the holidays, but these would excite anyone who loves art. Made with 100% viscose silk and cotton, these handmade pillow covers are a creative way to incorporate art into your home decor. The Pillowsforworld Etsy shop has more than 200 pillow covers to choose from, all with designs inspired by Picasso and other surrealist artists. This gift would be a perfect fit for a friend who might not have any more space for a print on their walls or wants to add something original to their furniture. 

Note: Gift may arrive after Christmas.

A pair of avant-garde earrings

JessALittleShop Earrings


JessALittleShop Polymer Clay Earrings, available at Etsy, from $28

For those who like to wear art as an accessory, JessALittleShop’s statement earrings are a stylish way to show their artistic side. The earrings are handmade with custom-blended polymer clay that is then baked and hand-sanded. With a variety of vibrant colors and designs to choose from, you can find one that’ll best complement their personal style.

*This gift may arrive after Christmas.

A visual art dictionary

The Art Book


The Art Book, available at Amazon, $31.96

Including works from popular artists such as Takashi Murakami, Joan Mitchell, and more, “The Art Book” is a great introduction to multiple art periods and styles. This A-Z guide showcases pieces from more than 600 artists, showing their bios and major works. The eye-catching cover makes “The Art Book” a great coffee table piece, and it’s also an easy and enjoyable way for someone to learn more about the most notable artists of all time. 

*This gift may arrive after Christmas.

A unique piece from an independent artist

Curacao Limited Edition Art


Curaçao Limited Edition Art, available at Minted, from $24

Minted is an online marketplace for independent artists, carrying more than 3,000 limited edition prints of photography, paintings, and more. It only carries 350 prints of each piece per size to guarantee that the art you’re receiving is unique. This abstract painting called Curaçao was inspired by the artist’s snorkeling experience off the coast of the small Caribbean island, which can be seen in the multi-colored waves. You can also choose from 10 different frame types and colors to complete the look, but it’s also available as just a print or canvas. 

*This gift may arrive after Christmas.

A cute and portable paint set

HIMI Gouache Paint Set


HIMI Gouache Paint Set, available at Amazon, $20.24

Artists will love this watercolor paint set, which is a steal for only $20. Consisting of 24 shades of gouache paint (a more opaque watercolor that has a matte finish), this set has a special jelly cup design so that the paints stay creamy and pigmented, and a translucent portable case that comes in green, blue, pink, or yellow. The paints are also non-toxic and odorless, so they can make a masterpiece even on the go.

A poster of a classic

Blue Nude Matisse AllPosters


Blue Nude Print, available at AllPosters, $43.99 

For fans of classic art, a poster of this piece by Matisse will be a gift that can add some personality to their living or dining room. The iconic “Blue Nude” series was made in the artist’s abstractionism period, and it remains as some of his most recognizable work. This print is reproduced using a lithography press to ensure accuracy and high color quality, and you can also add a frame or wood mount for an extra cost. If Matisse isn’t quite their style, you can choose from hundreds of prints between Starry Night and The Scream. 

*This gift may arrive after Christmas.

A guide to the history of the abstract art movement

Abstract Art : A Global History


“Abstract Art: A Global History,” available at Amazon, $59.74

An art history buff will appreciate this book by historian Pepe Karmel, which details the history of abstract art in a global context. Using five themes — body, landscape, cosmology, architecture, man-made signs, and patterns — Karmel examines abstract works from each continent to show how narratives change around the world. With 250 color illustrations and descriptions of each piece, it’ll be a beautiful coffee table addition.

A handcrafted planter

Rio Terracotta Indoor/Outdoor Cache Pots

West Elm

Rio Terracotta Indoor/Outdoor Cache Pots, available at West Elm, from $17

Art in the Forest Handpainted Cachepots, available at West Elm, $25

These decorative pots will look beautiful on a counter while housing succulents or outdoor plants. Both of these planters are a part of West Elm’s Handcrafted collection, which features items made by artisans around the world to preserve their culture’s craft traditions. The Rio Terracotta pots were hand-molded and hand-glazed, having a unique pattern for each size (small, medium, and large), and the Art in the Forest pots are inspired by South African designs. 

*This gift may arrive after Christmas.

A street art stencil handbook

The Street Art Stencil Book


“The Street Art Stencil Book,” available at Abe Books, $124.24

Street art isn’t often considered its own unique form of art, but it can just be as exquisite and influential as some of the classics. If you know someone who’s inspired by graffiti or the drawings they see on the pavement, “The Street Art Stencil Book” could be the present that they’ve been waiting for. This interactive book comes with 20 laser-cut stencils designed by some of the world’s greatest street artists along with photographs of the street drawing so you see the artist’s original version and artist bios.

*This gift may arrive after Christmas.

A monthly subscription to independent art

Art Crate Subscription

Art Crate

Art Crate Subscription, available at Art Crate, from $20

If you know someone who’s looking to add various art pieces to their space or just loves to try out new artwork often, they will love a subscription to Art Crate. The service works with independent, contemporary artists around the world to curate monthly collections for their aesthetic. The first step is to take a style quiz, which asks questions about their living space, personal style, and their existing home decor. Then, the personal art curator will work to hand-select pieces from their catalog monthly, which will be shipped within 72 hours of selection.

An e-learning art course

Urban Sketching Essentials

Ivan Silantyev/Skillshare

The Ultimate Drawing Masterclass, available at Udemy, $109.99

Urban Sketching Essentials, available at Skillshare, free with the Premium subscription

Whether they’re a beginner or trying to master a certain style, they’ll love taking a useful online art class. The Ultimate Drawing Masterclass, available on Udemy, includes more than  20 hours of video lectures to take you from novice to advanced and teaches everything from geometric forms to drawing on cloth and fabrics. The class also comes with downloadable guides and a certificate of completion.

For someone who’s more interested in drawing people and landscapes, “Urban Sketching Essentials: Drawing People and Crowds Made Simple” is a 12-lesson course that makes drawing crowds and scenes easy, for all skill levels. 

A festive and colorful stationery set

UnWrp Stationery


UnWrp Stationery, available at UnWrp, from $6.50

Have you ever considered giving wrapper paper as the gift itself? Probably not, but the stationery from UnWrp is beautiful enough to gift as a small present or even a stocking stuffer.

This Black-owned art company has high-quality gift wraps, greeting cards, and notebooks with vibrant designs, such as the Fro Friends gift wrap or the Ankara notebook. These can also be a great gift for an environmentally conscious friend, as the gift wraps are all compostable and made from 30% consumer materials. You can also turn the wrapping paper into wall art with colorful washi tape or by framing it. The shop also carries fabric wraps that can be washed and reused after gifting. 

Editor’s note: This gift may arrive after Christmas.

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Fine art in your mailbox: local artist creates unique postcards –



WATERLOO — A new postcard art project will use snail mail to rekindle memories of travel while sharing evocative original artwork.

Art galleries are closed due to the pandemic, and opportunities for local artists like Paul Roorda to display and sell their artwork are sparse.

“I just wanted to find a way to get my art out there so people can see it,” Roorda said.

His project “Somewhere Anywhere Postcards” is a series of hand-printed postcards that feature abstract landscapes, vintage stamps and messages of hope.

Roorda photographed different parts of an old, weathered wall. The lines and markings reminded him of beautiful landscapes, the ones you typically see on postcards from tourist destinations.

The postcards are small works of fine art, Roorda said, from the imagined landscape of the weathered wall he photographed, down to the vintage stamps he found and attached to each individual postcard.

The photographs were processed using an age-old technique known as cyanotype. Roorda mixes chemicals and brushes them onto paper. He then exposes the photographs in the sun and develops each photograph in water. The result of this process creates cyan-blue prints.

“I wanted to stay true to the vintage nature of the art,” Roorda said.

He has also written hopeful messages on the back of each postcard to uplift people during the pandemic as it keeps everyone indoors this winter.

“Right now with COVID we are surrounded by our walls, and we can see walls around us as barriers. I wanted to write something about seeing past those barriers at a time when people are feeling discouraged.”

Roorda is fascinated with vintage and antique items as well as found objects. Three years ago he created mini art galleries out of metal cash boxes and attached them to utility poles throughout Waterloo.

Roorda was ordered to remove them by bylaw officers, but was later granted permission by the city to temporarily display his art. The project was called “Time Stops” and each piece featured a musical element, found objects and messages.



Roorda’s postcard project is supported by a grant from the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund. He launched “Somewhere Anywhere Postcards” last week and has already mailed postcards to addresses across Ontario and to Europe.

Roorda’s postcards can be found in his online shop at

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Watch: Marty One-Boot's art of the Yellowknife Snowcastle pour – Cabin Radio





Published: January 25, 2021 at 6:23amJanuary 25, 2021

Snow is like concrete, they say.

To build Yellowknife’s Snowcastle – even this year’s amended design, which is more like a castle grounds than a castle itself – you need to know your construction methods.

Putting together the walls that hold snow structures together requires plenty of carpentry to build wooden frames, then a snowblower and some nerve while you stand under a blizzard of snow and compress it with your feet.


Martin Rehak – Marty One-Boot, to give him the nickname he acquired after this exercise once went wrong – described the process to Cabin Radio. Here’s a little look at how preparations are going ahead of this March.

Camera, editing: Ollie Williams



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Works of prominent artist of the 1960s-70s on display at Charlottetown art gallery –




The Confederation Centre Art Gallery is featuring a new exhibit by one of the most prominent Canadian artists of the 1960s and ’70s.

P.E.I.-based artist Gerard Clarkes, 87, has been given a large section of the gallery to showcase his dramatic landscapes, dream worlds and shadowy figures.

The exhibition, which runs until May 9, is called Gerard Clarkes: A Haunted Land.

Many of the paintings had been in storage in Clarkes’ home in Belfast.

The selection of art is work that Clarkes produced in Toronto nearly a half century ago with a few recent portraits and works from the past decade mixed in. Most of the selected works have not been previously exhibited in Atlantic Canada.

The Guardian sat down with Clarkes recently to talk about his works. However, talking about himself is not something he likes to do. And, don’t tell him it’s because he is humble.

“No, no, no. Humility has nothing to do with it,” Clarkes said when asked how it feels to have his works up on the walls at the art gallery. “It’s OK; it’s fine. I couldn’t imagine anybody would want to show these works, not because they’re good or bad but because they’re paintings on a canvas using mainly little brushes.”

Gerard Clarkes and his daughter, Millefiore, glance at a painting Gerard did in 1969 of his wife, and Millefiore’s mother, Rebecca, called Portrait of Rebecca Clarkes. It is part of an exhibit of Gerard’s works on display at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Charlottetown. – Dave Stewart


Born in 1934, Clarkes studied art in his native Winnipeg as well as in Montreal and Toronto. By the early 1960s, he was represented by major galleries in Toronto and Montreal and had solo exhibitions in Toronto and Vancouver. By the mid-60s, he was appointed director of art at York University in Toronto and later director of the Burnaby Art Gallery in British Columbia.


Following is more information on artist Gerard Clarkes:

  • His works can be found in public and private collections, including at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., the Woodstock Art Gallery and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
  • Since 1985, he composed music almost exclusively until returning actively to painting in the past decade.
  • He maintains a rural home and studio in P.E.I. where he settled in 1990.

Pan Wendt, curator of the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, said the exhibit defies easy categorization, noting that Clarkes’ paintings often depict enigmatic casts of characters positioned in elusive landscapes, like actors in a tableau.

“His paintings are in some of the finest museums across Canada,” Wendt said. “The aim of this exhibition is to introduce the paintings of Gerard Clarkes to a new audience. He was one of the most prominent Canadians painters of the 1960s and ’70s who exhibited with major art galleries. 

“He’s just not known in the art world now. I think it’s a treat for people to see things the public has not seen in years.”

Clarkes said he’s been painting since he was a child but having his works shown in galleries wasn’t foremost in his mind as a young man. He spent the first nine years of his career as a journalist, working for British United Press and Press International. His passion at the time was economic journalism.

“I had to eat so I became a journalist. Journalism was a tough business. You weren’t very well paid and you worked long hours.”

P.E.I.-based painter Gerard Clarkes did this self-portrait in 1962 that he calls Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. It is on display at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery. - Contributed
P.E.I.-based painter Gerard Clarkes did this self-portrait in 1962 that he calls Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. It is on display at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery. – Contributed


Clarkes said he went on to study art and art history. Somewhere in there, he said galleries started opening and showing works.

However, Clarkes dismisses any notion that he is gifted.

“It’s ingrained in everyone,” he said, adding that some of the least talented people he knew as a young man went on to become some of the best painters.

Clarkes said he wonders what he could have accomplished as a painter had he had more discipline and energy.

Still, Clarkes admits it’s nice to feel recognized as an artist again.

“They’ve pulled me out of the dust bin and dusted me off. I’m grateful. My grandchildren will see these. It’s nice to be viable. It means what you were back then isn’t totally irrelevant.”


The following works are being shown at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery:

  • Gerard Clarkes: A Haunted Land, until May 9. 
    Curated by Pan Wendt, it features a large selection of the enigmatic, theatrical landscapes Clarkes produced in Toronto in the 1960s and 1970s, along with recent work.
  • The Drive, Jan. 23-May 2. 
    Curated by Shauna McCabe and Brian Meehan; and organized by the Art Gallery of Guelph, it features the work of Tom Thompson, the Group of Seven and their peers in relation to diverse Indigenous and Canadian artists in order to highlight the complexity of the representation of landscape, particularly as it relates to the land and the history of resource development.
  • Eye Candy: Recent Gifts to the Collection, until April 4. 
    A selection of works by Canadian painters, recently donated to the collection of Confederation Centre Art Gallery.
  • Give Me Shelter, until April 4. 
    Curated by Pan Wendt, Emerging Art Series.
    Thirteen emerging artists based in St. John’s, N.L., reflect on the richness of a cultural community that is steeped in both tradition and looking towards a rapidly changing future. 

Dave Stewart is The Guardian’s culture reporter.


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