Drawing by numbers
Sagging economy leads artist to resourcefulness
By Willie Kiernan
When times get tough, artists like Jeanette Robertson turn to resourcefulness.
"People are thinking about their monthly gas and food bill not art," Robertson said. "However, people still need art."
As the cost of supplies increases, artists must sometimes reinvent themselves. Robertson, an art book author and watercolorist living in Cazenovia, is feeling the pinch of the economy but insists there are ways to adjust.
"I am still getting requests for art, but it has just changed," she said.
Instead of watercolor portraits of houses and pets, she creates graphite pencil drawings at half the cost of a watercolor painting.
"Last year I was approached by a client who wanted an affordable dog portrait for a Christmas gift," Robertson said. "People still need gifts. The person told me the price point and it was decided a drawing would be perfect."
Fortunately, the cost of graphite pencils and drawing paper is still affordable.
"We do not make professional artists' supplies in the U.S.," Robertson said. "You can buy inferior or children's supplies in the U.S. but not the quality that stands up to time and light. One good sheet of watercolor paper costs about $8 today. When the ships from Europe start raising the price, due to the cost of fuel, that paper cost will go up. One tiny tube of paint, the size of your small finger, is about $10. Most people do not know this."
Still, Robertson claims Central New York is a good place to purchase art.
"There is still affordable art out there, if you know how to shop" she said. "If you cannot afford an original painting you can buy a reproduction at a fraction of the cost. Most art in our area is reasonable. Travel outside our area and expect to pay double or more for art."