Artist - Craftsperson by Valerie (Valry) Drake

What’s the difference between an artist and a craftsperson?

According to it is fairly straightforward: an artist is “a person who produces works in any of the arts that are primarily subject to aesthetic criteria” or “one who professes and practices an imaginative art” or “a person skilled in one of the fine arts”. A craftsperson is “a person who practices or is highly skilled in a craft.”

But common usage seems to have modified the nuances of meanings in these words. We think of an artist as someone who works in the fine arts. Here I go back to which defines fine art as “a visual art considered to have been created primarily for aesthetic purposes and judged for its beauty and meaningfulness, specifically, painting, sculpture, drawing, watercolor, graphics, and architecture.” (Architecture? I thought architecture was more of an applied art?) Speaking of which, defines applied art as “any art that applies aesthetic principles to the design or decoration of useful objects…”

The dictionary seems to make the distinction based on the use of the finished product. If it is purely aesthetic it is art, if it is functional then it is craft.

I think that maybe we tend to think of the difference as more related to the techniques rather than the functionality.  According to this theory: Painting with oil paint on canvas is art. Painting with craft paint on a saw blade is craft. Sculpting with clay is art. Sculpting with paper mache is craft. Drawing with charcoal is art. Drawing with crayons is craft.

It all still seems fairly easy to differentiate. However, I’m not good at easy answers. I have seen a lot of really good art in surprising places and made from surprising materials.

Personally, I think the line between art and craft is blurring – a blurring which I find quite exciting. I have done some experiments with combining art and craft techniques and materials and will experiment a lot more as I have time. I did a collage on canvas and then combined melted paraffin, paint, embossing powder, and melted crayons making a thick top layer. The effect was actually quite pleasing and I will be returning to that technique. (My apologies, I do not have a picture of that piece to show you.) Another experiment is painting on found objects such as an aluminum drink can or a computer circuit board. (Examples above.) Another experiment that I enjoyed was an illuminated, framed paper sculpture made from a painting on watercolor paper.

Yes, I get a LOT of my art supplies from Jerry’s. I also get supplies from craft stores, lumber yards, thrift stores, parking lots, and a variety of other places. Remember what said, that an artist is “one who professes and practices an imaginative art”.  I really like that phrase “imaginative art”. Let’s practice imaginative art.



May Art Tips Contest Winner

Art Tips

We often get questions and comments related to "How To's" from our customers. We decided to present them in this new area called "Art Tips".

We have received so many fantastic Art Tips from many of our loyal custmers and we put them online for others to try and enjoy.


Sent in by Renee - North Canton OH
While painting a area of the painting that is to be heavily textured, use salt. After the first application of paint, add a thick amount of salt to the area. Let it partially dry, then use your brush to add different colors to the area. Dab with your brush the areas you want to add colored texture. The dried salt absorbs the color and doesn't spread it out. This is especially nice when painting bricks, trees, and other heavily textured areas. When I paint bricks, I leave the salt on the paper. It add a little sparkle and makes it come alive. - Renee, North Canton, OH

To make it fun and to say thank you for submitting your Art Tips we decided to run a contest and award the winner with a $250 Gift Card to shop at Jerry's Artarama online. The "Art Tip" with the most votes will be awarded the $250 gift card to spend on their favorite Art Supplies on Jerry's Artarama website. We randomly chose 8 art tips and put them up for community vote for all to try and vote on. Well.... we had over 720 votes and close race to finish:

The 8 Finalists in our first Art Tips Contest were:  Jillian From NC, Lorrie from Kalamazoo MI, Hilda from Provincetown MA, Kali From Reynoldsburg OH, Linda from Houston TX, Renee from Canton OH,  Robin from Pal Harbor FL, Jan from Indianapolis IN,

Jillian - Cary NC (34): 5%
Lorrie - Kalamazoo MI (104): 14%
Hilda - Provincetown Ma (21): 3%
Kali - Reynoldsburg Ohio (6): 1%
Linda - Houston TX (60): 8%
Renee - N. Canton, OH (208): 29%
Robin - Palm Harbor FL (220): 31%
Jan - Indianapolis IN (67): 9%

The winner of the $250 Gift Card was Robin - Palm Harbor FL and here is here is where the story gets interesting, please read on...


The Winning Art Tip:

Sent in by Robin of Palm Harbor FL
If you are having a hard time with your foreshortening or perspective, Turn your canvas and the photo you are working from upside down! You will see the correction right away! (this works for drawing as well) -
Robin, Palm Harbor FL

Robin is a professional artist but she volunteers at a neighborhood Adult Day Care Center whose needs range from dimentia to physical issues making it difficult for their families to take care of them during the day. She was excited to win the $250 Gift Card to help buy art supplies and art materials , particularly easels to help make painitng easier for them. We are delighted to provide a way for our customers and friends to help make a difference through art in the lives of the many that they encounter every day. Our many thanks to Robin for being apart of Jerry's Artarama and affording us the opportunity to participate and be apart of her life in some way. We are anxiously waiting those pictures she promised :-)

We recieve many submissions and will posting them online shortly so keep sending them in. Click here to read all the Art Tips and stay tuned for our next contest.

Thank You

Michael Marchetta
VP of Internet Marketing




A Message from Tom Jones

After several weeks on the road teaching workshops I am back in the studio at home.
I apologize for the delay in the newsletter and updates to my web site, but I have rebuilt 
my web site for the second time in two years.  My goal is to make it as easy as possible 
for artist around the world to maneuver through the web site with the greatest of ease 
and with the new system artist will be able to make purchases easier and we will 
also be able to make changes and updates faster.  

In this newsletter I want to pass on a couple tips.  One is you can now purchase Arches watercolor paper on board. This is the same surfaces you like in the sheets. 
Check with you art stores for this new product. 

In working with tonal values light, mid and dark you may notice that mid tones 
happen automatically even without a conscience effort.  It is the light and darks 
that you must pay close attention too.  First it is important to note that each 
separate area of the painting would have a value change, trees, grass, building, 
mountains and streams etc.  The center of interest would get the strongest lights 
and darkest darks. 

I have found that when something is missing in a painting, that special wow factor 
it is because the painting is mostly mid tones.  It is those intense darks that make 
the difference.  It is important to note as a watercolorist that in a technical sense 
you are not a painter of light because you did not create the white.  It was already 
there in the paper so you must be a painter of darks.  Remember a traffic light is 
as bright at noon as it is a midnight.  The difference in appearance is the dark 
around the traffic light a midnight.  To mix strong darks I start with Rembrandt Extra-Fine Artists' WatercolorsPrussian Blue 
or Indigo using it straight and then to get a variety of color add a touch of Hooker 
Green Deep for a dark rich blue green and/or add a deep rose color such as 
Permanent Magenta for warm reddish blue or add a touch of Brunt Sienna for 
a deep brownish blue.  Practice mixing these colors then apply them to your 
painting process and see how you can take that painting to a new level.

Tom Jones

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