Archive for May, 2012

NAMTA Orlando May 2012 Round-Up

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

The Golden online color mixing was very cool…Visit the beta version of the online color mixer here: Color Mixer

Princeton Catalyst is a “Big Wow”! Catalyst was one of the big hits of the show and most stated they see lots of applications for the colorful paddle tools and innovative brushes; especially for painting large or thick. The tools are made of a special dishwasher safe rubberized material and the brushes are the first of synthetic hair with flag ends for holding and controlling paints.  Princeton’s Catalyst display looks amazing and NAMTA customers ordered like crazy. Some retailers with growing cake supply business, will likely bring in the Catalyst as it is perfectly suited to moving frosting around artistically.   Assortments will begin shipping in early June and open stock will follow in late June.

A glitch was discovered recently in the new Princeton Sensu “iPad” brush which has indefinitely pushed back this tool’s ETA.

Lots of reps were seen at the show talking to vendors about selling to them directly.

Did you know that there are 16 new colors for Gamblin’s Alkyd Fast Matte line? They are on there way into the MacPherson’s DCs!

We booked tons of  Art Alternatives orders, especially for the following:

•  New Premium Cotton canvas & cradled Wood Panels.
•  New choices in the value priced AA Acrylic colors in pints and 1/2 gallons.
•  New Premium Drafting compasses (many customers were surprised to find out that the compasses were made in Germany!)

Several retailers from across the USA and Canada were impressed with the Urban Art seminar that Scott Present and Lisa Slauson presented during the show’s educational day.

Artist SEVER’s marker on the Munny Doll helped convince many buyers to take full displays of both  Montana Acrylic Markers and the Montana “Black” Markers (finally arriving in June!).  Congratulations to Kerry Kemp of Art Outfitters who won the 18″ tall work of art below at our Beer Bash drawing.

Letraset Flex Markers were shown to a great buyer reaction, and we learned that dealers want a floor display like ProMarker. The Flex will eventually be available in 200 colors, and once that “critical mass” is attained, a floorstand like ProMarker will be made available. There’s more info on Flex at the Letraset  Micro Web Site.

STABILO POP’s continue to fuel “cash wrap” fun and impulse sales.  Filled to the brim with STABILO’s best sellers and well-loved favorites, this pre-packed assortment + display is a no-brainer when it comes to easy add-on sales for BTS and Holiday!

Other Big hits:

MABEF’s new mini field easels, MBM-27M ($134.95)  and MBM-29M ($114.95) were welcomed by those seeking a more compact and convenient portable field easel.  The new double-sided display easel MBM-46 ($699.95) and the new accessory stands MBM-45 ($189.95) and MBM-47 ($269.95) also delighted attendees with their clever design.

MBM-47 with accessories

Lefranc & Bourgeois showed the amazing Gilding collection and display. Is the art of creative gilding going to be a new Art & Craft store hot spot? Here are the details on the intro offer: 


We heard that Artograph’s  new Light Pad Revolution is a winner with several retailers who want us to stock it in all the sizes.

Just when you thought the choice in spray paint brands was enough, along comes Liquitex with a revolutionary formula that is certain to create its own new market with a slew of new creative possibilities for acrylic artist. We were astonished at the positive reaction for the 100 color line that is compatible with Liquitex Acrylic paints and has an almost undetectable smell.

ColArt was handing out the flash drive with their NAMTA promos – instead of the usual (and costly) NAMTA show book, the custom logo’d flashdrives cost far less and can be reused. Great idea! Dealers who still need the hard-copies and order forms can print them quite easily when they get home.

Speaking of ColArt, their Derwent “Back to back” tower POP displays were great.

Copic spinner towers were on display which gave retailers a real sense for how these impressive merchandisers can “wow” consumers in the store.

Equally impactful were the Moleskine full spinner displays.

Pebeo Gedeo Resins and fantasy were among the biggest hits of the show, as were the Pebeo paints.

R&F Encaustic center continues to gain ground. The impressive packaging and display, which includes Ampersand’s Encaustic boards, is a real eye-catcher.

Sanford’s new Sharpie Brush Marker was also a huge hit.

Now that Star products is back up and running, retailers are rejoining the ranks.

It seemed like this NAMTA was all about journals and sketchbooks. Let’s call it “Sketch Book Wars” with Canson, Strathmore, Stillman & Birn all asking dealers to focus on this hot category. Our guess is there will be room for all brands, because of the variety of papers and styles. The Canson Spinner rack and Stillman & Birn’s spinners and counter top displays made the assortments easier to for retailers to buy. You can just see how consumers will be educated in these new paper choices. Strathmore is a late arrival and, in our opinion, has captured a critical market with its Mixed Media Art Journals that have heavier papers than the competitors’. Plus, Strathmore has touched a unique market with their Toned Sketch papers – not available elsewhere! We heard loads of positive reaction and saw quite a few orders (the biggest test of all).

Last but not least in the sketch book wars, check out Rendr from Crescent which offers sketchbooks, paper and rolls with paper that does not bleed through. Here’s what product manager Mays Mayhew has to say:

Terraskin Stone paper was a winner, and we heard good comments about it. We would love retailer feedback to help us decide if this is a product MacPherson’s should carry.

Savoir-Faire’s new Eco display was very nice, and it offers a great price point on the books.

The Rhodia spinner towers are a great way to round out your store’s authority in journals and sketchbooks.

Faber-Castell’s Jumbo graphite and Aquarelle display were officially launched in Frankfurt so NAMTA was the USA’s retailers first chance to see and take advantage of these two innovative, affordable ranges in their own unique POP displays. Success!

We heard from several savvy retailers that Jacquard’s Lumiere 3D line was a “no brainer”.

Another cool product that made its debut at NAMTA is Chartpak’s Tritone pencil. Like Magic FX, these “fat” pencils have three complementary shades of the same color. Displays can be ordered for drop ship, item # KOFA33ASST.

Mary Wruck was thrilled to find out that C&T Publishing had won the Suppliers Innovation Award from NAMTA with her “The Artful Fiber Pack”, a perfect sampler for an introduction to Fiber Arts.

New Wave Art ergonomic and balanced Artist Palettes was noted at the What’s New in the hall as particularly cool and innovative. We would love retailer feedback to help us decide if this is a product MacPherson’s should carry.

Koala Tools Circle Ruler won one of the best new product awards. We would love retailer feedback to help us decide if this is a product MacPherson’s should carry.

Jackknife Easels made a big impression. Several of you said you are interested in MacPherson’s stocking this line. They’re available from iPad size up to larger display easels. Not exactly a new item, and we heard that deliveries were painful in the past when production was in USA. The Jackknife Easels are now made in Tijuana and inspected by owner. We would love retailer feedback to help us decide if this is a product MacPherson’s should carry.

A new company popped up called Earth Safe Finishes. They offer 22 pigment colors for artists to make their own paints and finishes. We would love retailer feedback to help us decide if this is a product MacPherson’s should carry.

Kidzaw, a new supplier of creative materials for kids showed a line of attention getting art kits that produce amazing results. We would love retailer feedback to help us decide if this is a product MacPherson’s should carry. Check out the youtube video:

We saw some great new Walter Foster and Quarry books. The best of the best were Urban Sketching, Artist’s Block Cured, Mixed Media Workshop and 100 Things every Artist Should Know. All are in stock or on their way!

This year’s NAMTA Show Awards:

Medium Booth: Princeton Art & Brush
Large Booth:
Golden Artist Colors
New Exhibitor:
 Koala Tools
Best Packaging: Princeton Art & Brush
for the Catalyst Brush Line
Best New Product: Crescent Cardboard
for Rendr Paper
Best New Kids’ Product:
 Faber-Castell USA for Do Art Kits


New Strathmore Hardbound Art Journals – Fine Art Papers in Finely Crafted Books

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Strathmore Artist Papers™ introduces Hardbound Art Journals, offering artists the quality fine art papers they want in hardbound books.

“We listened to artist comments in forums, discussion groups, blogs and other social media and discovered unmet needs”, states Sue List, Marketing Manager.  “Our new Hardbound Art Journals give artists the choice of high quality drawing, watercolor, mixed media and toned sketch papers they’ve been searching for in hardbound formats.”

Artist-friendly features include a range of popular sizes, a durable Smyth-sewn binding that allows pages to lay flatter, a sophisticated lightly-textured matte cover in dark chocolate, and a color coded, removable packaging band that communicates paper information and leaves behind no residue.

The offering is made with 400 Series/Best and 500 Series/Premium quality papers to provide the ultimate performance.

The program is another example of Strathmore’s commitment to develop innovative new products that help grow the market and create in-store news and excitement for retailers.

Learn how the new Strathmore Hardbound Art Journal program can increase the productivity of your retail space by contacting your MacPherson’s sales representative today.

Industry News

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Lew Klessel

Michaels Stores, Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has established an interim Office of the Chief Executive Officer to provide ongoing leadership and continuity for the business in the absence of CEO John Menzer who suffered a stroke in April. The Office of the CEO will be filled by Lew Klessel, Managing Director with Bain Capital Partners, LLC, and Charles “Chuck” Sonsteby, Michaels’ Chief Financial Officer. Klessel and Sonsteby will temporarily assume the responsibilities of the CEO and will report directly to the Board of Directors.

Michael Miller of the Eastman’s rep group in Southern California is happy to announce that his wife Julianne gave birth to a baby boy on May 7th.  His name is Noah (after Michael’s grandfather) James (Grandpa Ken Eastman’s middle name) Miller.

Spotted at the NAMTA show in Orlando was Jerry Applegate who is back as Masterpiece Canvas’ sales manager after a 6-year hiatus in San Francisco’s construction industry.

Rondi Potter and Coni Stroud, owners of Art Connection in Coos Bay, OR have relocated to a fantastic new spot in town. Here is a shot of their eye-catching new street sign.



Announcing Catalyst Tools by Princeton

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

At NAMTA this year, the Princeton booth was buzzing with the news of the new Catalyst line of Blades, Wedges, and Polytip™ Bristle. The full range is incorporated in a stunning 48″ retail cabinet that was awarded best POP display at the show.

Designed to move more heavy-bodied paint, Catalyst Blades, Wedges, and Brushes offer fresh new way for artists to interact with many creative mediums. The tools, made of heat resistant silicone, can be used with encaustics, oils, acrylics, and even in food crafting. Catalyst Blades are mounted on artist brush handles, offering a blend of tradition and innovation. Catalyst Wedges are ergonomically designed to fit in your hand allowing a direct interaction with your work.

Polytip Bristle is a true first in artist brushes. The tip of each individual hair has been split to replicate the natural flags on the finest natural bristle. Unlike natural hog bristle, Catalyst™ synthetic has real integrity in water. Designed for use with heavy-bodied paint, they are the brush equivalent of the Blades and Wedges.

The “The second I saw Catalyst, I knew Princeton had developed something truly groundbreaking.” says Virginia Cofer, Princeton’s new Catalyst Product Manager. “Every artist who has seen or touched Catalyst experiences their imagination taking over and they can’t wait to use them.”

The silicone tools feature easy clean-up. Dried paint can be peeled off. They are solvent-safe. Catalyst Blades can be separated from their wood handles for even easier cleaning.

The Princeton Catalyst line was previewed at the Creativeworld Show in Frankfurt this year where it won a product innovation award.

Catalyst Blades come in 6 shapes, each in three sizes. Wedges are available in 6 shapes as well. Catalyst Polytip Bristle comes in a wide range of sizes and shapes including short filberts and extra long egberts.

See the full Catalyst line at

New General Sketch & Go Drawing Kits, just in time for Summer!

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

General Pencil is excited to announce 5 new Sketch & Go™ Drawing Kits, just in time for Summer trips and art classes. They are ideal for travel, nature drawing & hikes, drawing on-the-go, observational drawing and more!

GENERAL’S® new Sketch & Go™ Kits are created for artists of all levels; from aspiring, beginning, intermediate and advanced artists or those who are just practicing their skills. They contain everything needed to draw anywhere, right now! Artist Pencils, Pencil Travel Bag, Drawing Journal, Artist Eraser, Sharpener, Pencil Point Protectors, and a HOW-TO-DRAW Project & Technique Booklet.  Featuring Step By Step Art Lessons with Artist Sean Dye, such as Draw A Seascape, Lighthouse, Vineyard, Cityscape, Grand Canyon,  and other scenes inspired by USA Landmarks, each booklet also teachers simple drawing & sketching & shading techniques with each type of pencil media.

Create a complete end cap to inspire locals, tourists, gift givers and hobbyists to pick one of these kits to SKETCH & GO™! Retail: $17.99 each.

(Click here for Complete program: contains 3 each of the 5 assorted kits)

SG-1 Mixed Media Drawing

SG-2 Kimberly® Graphite

SG-4 MultiPastel Chalk Pencil

SG-5 Charcoal & Carbon

SG-7 Kimberly® Watercolor Pencil

New Strathmore Toned Sketch for Light or Dark Media

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Strathmore Artist Papers™ announces new Toned Sketch recycled papers, designed to meet consumer demand for toned paper in pad and sketchbook formats that are suitable for sketching with light and dark media.

The new line was developed in response to research Strathmore conducted that indicates that while existing toned papers are suitable for pastel paintings and finished art, they are not suitable or practical for sketching, conducting quick studies, experimenting or journaling. Strathmore 400 Series Toned Sketch provides artists with unique sketching and drawing possibilities. Toned paper eliminates a “value” that would otherwise need to be rendered. Artists create shadows and highlights using a range of light and dark drawing. Warm tan and cool gray papers are custom engineered and toned specifically for sketching with light and dark media. Kraft and bark fibers add natural, visual interest.  Papers are 100% recycled, containing 30% post-consumer fiber. The medium drawing finish is excellent for graphite, chalk, charcoal, sketching stick, markers, china markers, colored pencils, pens and white gel pens. Available in fine art pads, rolls and hardbound art journals. “The program is another example of Strathmore’s commitment to develop innovative new products that help grow the market and create in-store news and excitement for retailers”,  states Sue List, Marketing Manager.

Learn how the new Strathmore Toned Sketch program can increase the productivity of your retail space by contacting your MacPherson’s sales representative today.

Gamblin Helps Build your Community (& Your Sales)

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

At NAMTA in Orlando this year Gamblin offered a mini-seminar for retailers visiting their booth. Here is the outline of the compelling program they presented:

Gamblin has led the industry in developing simple, compelling programs and content retailers can use to build their community of artists and build their sales. Below are some easy things you can do, right now, to build your community and your sales.

Building your community | Share content. Save time.

You want to talk to artists about more than just special deals, but don’t always have the time to create fresh content every day. No problem. We can help.

With just a couple of clicks, you can engage and inspire your painters…and drive foot-traffic to your store.

Our Gamblin Studio Notes and Gamblin Paint Rag Newsletters have buttons that let you easily share them with your artists. Retailers that do are getting great results. If you are not receiving these newsletters, let’s fix that today.

You can also simply “Share” our Facebook posts and add your own personal or promotional message.

Get in the flow of content by clicking to “Like” Gamblin at:  Gamblin at Facebook

Finally, Gamblin web content such as our Navigating Color Space video, Interactive Mediums Guide and past Studio Notes Newsletter can easily be republished to your own email list or shared thru social media.

 Building Sales | Get with the program. Get results.

Each Spring and Fall, Gamblin offers buy-get programs to retail partners.  These programs are proven foot-traffic and sales generators that cost nothing to take advantage of.

Spring means Torrit Grey and painters looking for it. Use the Promotional Images and Copy located on our retail portal to let them know you’ve got it and that you’ve got great deals on Gamblin products to go with it.

This Fall we will offer a buy-get promotion around our award-winning FastMatte Alkyd Oils. With any $25 purchase of Gamblin materials, artists will receive a FREE 37ml tube of FastMatte Titanium White.

During Winter Back-to-School, and during other times of the year by request, we send-out free samples of Gamsol and other products you can use to get folks into the store to try and buy new materials.

Photos, logos and copy to support your communications regarding Torrit Grey, as well as our other promotions and products, are posted on our Retail Portal at: No username or password is needed.

One more thing | A Few Tips for Social Media

  • Focus and do it right. Start with one thing, Facebook perhaps, commit to it and learn as you go. There’s nothing worse than spreading oneself too thin and not being able to stay fresh online. Stale = dead.
  • Two to Three posts a week. As a minimum, post to Facebook two to three times per week. It may be helpful to mix it up with one information post, one more inspirational, and one that’s more transactional…a special deal or upcoming sale, perhaps.
  • Your Facebook friends are your best friends.  Take care of them. Consider giving special previews or special coupon/deals to your Facebook friends, just as you might for people on your email list. Be responsive when questions or suggestions are posted on your page.
  • Don’t set yourself up on Facebook as a person. This has all sorts of limitations – and risks. Sign-up as a company.
  • Try migrating your email list to Facebook. Folks that want more frequent dialogue can opt-in to Facebook. Those that don’t like it, don’t have to. No harm. No foul.  Offer your email list something for opting in…it’s worth it to have a more engaged dialogue with them.
  • A picture is worth a thousand words. Use images in your posts. Words alone are boring and often get little traction. Images increase engagement, “Likes” and Shares.

Industry News

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is pleased to announce that Rene Haag, owner of Blaine’s Art Supply in Anchorage, AK will be honored as one of the nation’s top state small business winners in Washington D.C. May 20-25, 2012 for the National Small Business Week Awards. Congratulations Rene! Read the entire press release here: Blaines Small Biz award 2012

Congratulations to Nick Gallo (Blue Rooster Art Supplies in Los Angeles), his wife Sheryl and their son Seiji on the birth of twin girls April 11th. Naomi Marie and Keiko Rose are both healthy; Seiji loves his 2 new sisters and has been a very good boy!  Nick reported “The days are bleeding one into another as we have been absorbed into a world where eating is every three hours or so and there is no concern for either night or day……….  It’s all the same……….. Blissful.”

Andrew Lenz of Lenz Art has announced that Jim Hair, formerly with Sakura and MacPherson’s will be joining their Santa Cruz, CA retail store as their floor manager.  Jim recently moved to Santa Cruz to be closer to his daughter and son-in-law who are expecting his first grandchild very soon.

Victor Torres has joined Jerry’s Artist Outlet, West Orange, New Jersey as their General Manager of Retail.

According to a company spokesperson, John Menzer, Michaels’ Chief Executive Officer, was recently hospitalized due to a medical condition. No further information was disclosed. John Menzer has recently been mentioned in a New York Times series investigating business practices at Wal-Mart’s Mexico subsidiary in 2005. Before joining Michaels he was vice chairman and chief administrative officer of Wal-Mart.

Colorbok, LLC announced the acquisition of the paper crafting business of ANW/Creativity Works (formerly Andrews, Nelson & Whitehead) and Making Memories. Last month, key management and Lazear Capital Partners, a merchant banking firm, purchased the assets of Colorbök, which was founded in 1984.

Breaking News!! Don’t Miss the Hit of the NAMTA Show: Liquitex Sprays!

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

You heard it here first, ColArt will be pre-launching (pre-book) the LIQUITEX SPRAYS at NAMTA!

Stop by ColArt  booth #631 to see this amazing innovation in artist color and pre-book your order for this unique new (water-based) spray color!

Liquitex Professional Level Spray Paint

  • Spectrum: 100 Colors
  • Properties: Highly Pigmented, Water-based Technology
  • Finish: Matte
  • Caps: Standard cap ideal for detail work or filling in; skinny caps and fat caps also available
  • Size: 400ml

Low Odor

Uniquely low odor, Liquitex Professional Spray Paint is formulated using revolutionary water-based technology.

Durable and Permanent

Durable, permanent and lightfast, Liquitex Professional Spray Paint is ideal for interior and exterior use.


100 vibrant colors matched to the Liquitex color spectrum.

Intermixes with Liquitex Acrylics

Use Liquitex Professional Spray Paint with Liquitex acrylics, mediums and varnishes for maximum versatility!

Check out the video:

Gamblin FastMatte Alkyd Oil Colors: Expanded 24-color range available now!

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Gamblin is pleased to announce the expansion of its award-winning FastMatte Alkyd Oil Colors from 8 to 24 colors. With this expansion, all FastMatte colors will be available in both 37ml and 150ml sizes and a new display will house the full range in a compact, 16″-wide footprint. Developed in collaboration with oil painters and introduced in 2010, FastMatte has become America’s leading fast-drying oil.

Take your painting further.
Inspiration shouldn’t have to wait. With FastMatte, artists can stay in the flow and take their paintings further, faster than ever before. The fast drying rate means artists can use color and texture freely, and add layers without stopping, waiting or compromising. The matte surface beautifully grabs paint from the brush or knife and gives colors a deep, soft luster that let’s the work speak directly to the viewer with complete fidelity to the artist’s intention, use of color and mark-making. FastMatte colors are compatible with Gamblin painting mediums and our traditional oil colors. The 24-hour dry-time, matte surface and compatibility make FastMatte colors ideal for underpainting.

New assortment available to ship now, at Special Discounts!
The full assortment of FastMatte colors (Item #GBFMFULL) is available to ship now. Now thru the summer, Gamblin is offering a placement discount of 15% off net – their best new placement discount ever! The display measures 16″ wide and comes with quantities of three for each color in 37ml and quantities of two for each color in 150ml. Net price from MacPherson’s is about $1,095 net for the full display. Assortments drop-ship from Gamblin with free freight and a generous supply of FastMatte color charts and paint samples. FastMatte is a truly innovative product that solves real problems artists have struggled with for decades.

Gamblin will be giving a 10 minute sales training and hands-on demo at their NAMTA booth…every hour, on the hour. Stop by and see them at the show or contact your friendly MacPherson’s rep for more information.

Prismacolor Brush Marker…THE WAIT IS OVER!

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Fashion illustrator and artist Steven Broadway showcases how to get the most out Prismacolor’s brand new product, the Brush|Fine Art Markers in his fashion illustrations. Steven takes you through his illustration focusing on the flow and technique of the new tool!

Find out more information on Brush|Fine at and be sure to check out all of Prismacolor’s videos by subscribing to our channel!