Tomorrow is Easter

and my last day of not ordering art materials.  Let me tell you, this was a challenge.  I did have to purchase a couple things.  I ran out of canvases and I needed a couple miniature brushes to finish a project.  Other than those I don’t think I bought anything art-materials related.  No, I bought a gallon of flat black paint so I could make my own black gesso, which I had none of and needed for the same project I needed the miniature brushes for.

There!  That’s it.  The only art related purchases during Lent.  I really don’t consider them part of this.  I was thinking when I made the decision not to order art supplies on line during Lent, it would be the sort of art supplies I usually order.  Paints, mediums, watercolor media, books, pastels, etc.  What I consider the “fun” stuff.  The few canvases I bought, the miniature brushes and the black flat paint were not “fun” stuff, rather necessities to make what I make every day.  Like buying groceries.

I have been throwing stuff into my shopping cart at Blicks and Jerry’s.  These two are my go-to art materials stores.  Both have outstanding prices and terrific customer service.  I tend to receive the Blick’s orders a bit faster than the Jerry’s orders.  Blicks ships from the next state over, and Jerry’s ships from half the country away from me.  Both ship their items very well packaged.

I’ve only two tubes of VanGogh watercolor paints damaged in transit from all the orders I have made over the years. I think that was the fault of the person loading the truck.  I spoke with the Blick representative on the phone.  I just wanted to give them a heads-up about the damage thinking they might want to put those tubes in cardboard boxes or wrap them with something.    It was not a big deal, the tubes were on sale-hugely reduced in price, and I was just trying to help prevent splitting tubes of paint for other customers.  The customer service representative could not have been sweeter.  She insisted on sending me replacement tubes, although I told her most of the paint was still usable.  She said, “No, ma’am, your shipment was damaged and we will replace the damaged items at no cost to you.  Was anything else damaged in your shipment because the paint leaked through your box?  I see you also ordered watercolor paper, was there damage to that as well?”  No, the paper was wrapped in plastic and the paint just wiped off.  Everything else was in separate packaging which comes off and gets recycled anyway.  (The inside of the shipping box looked like a modern art piece and was really kind of cool.)  I told her I’d ship the damaged paints back to her and she said that wasn’t necessary.  If I can use them, terrific, but I would be getting replacements at no cost to me as well.

While this may sound like not such a big deal to you, I was completely surprised by this response.  In the past when anything has been damaged -from other companies, not BlickI have had to return the damaged goods to the place I ordered from.  It is a bigger pain in the butt to ship the damaged stuff back than it is to just live with it.  In the case of these paints it was maybe five bucks worth of paint-actually I think it was less than that for the two tubes-and would not be worth it to me to ship them back.  And most of the paint was still in the tubes and usable.  (I put the paint from tubes into my watercolor palettes and let them dry into cakes of color.  If they were to dry in the tubes themselves-which I had from old Venus paints I bought at Goodwill-I split the tubes, remove the dried color and use it as it is.  This is one reason I love watercolors-there is never any waste of material.)  So the response from Blick, to ship replacements to me without requiring me to ship back the two damaged tubes really surprised me.

Surprised and delighted me, actually.

All I can say is Blick has a customer for life in me.  Their choice of products is excellent, all items are exactly as described, I have never had any problem with anything I have purchased from Blick.  (Or Jerry’s either.)

The only complaint I have is that neither of these companies has a brick and mortar store anywhere near me.  That is unfortunate, as I could spend an entire day wandering through an art supply store and be perfectly content…

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