Retail is dead

Art is personal, and so is the process of choosing the tools to create it. The best choices are made with the heart and the hands, not just the eyes.

So come visit us at the store! 😀 I always laugh when I read marketing things saying some version of “Retail is Dead”. (Apparently they’ve been saying that since the early 90s.) It’s certainly different than a decade ago. However, we’re certainly still here, after 23 years… and aren’t planning on going anywhere!

You’re probably like me – I can re-order something online pretty confidently. I know what to expect and have already vetted it. However, something new, that I haven’t actually seen or tried before? I’ve got to hold it in my hands, look at it with my own eyes (not through the screen.) What does that paper feel like? Is it my preferred shade of white? Is the pen weighted just right for my hand? Is the brush handle too short or long for my style of working? There are so many variables that I just can’t determine from my screen.

  • This week’s artist is – Victoria Rose Park – whose work came through the shop to be framed and caught my eye. Since I wanted to see more, I thought you might, too. For even more, check out her website and instagram!
  • J. C. Leyendecker would have been 150 on Saturday!
  • Last month, La Plata Youth Services celebrated their 10th Annual Unchain My HeART youth art show with over 150 community members at the Hive in Durango. The event was a huge success! If you missed the event and are still interested in donating or purchasing youth artwork, head to their website to see what’s available.
  • As of 2024, Durango Creative District offers Durango Creates! grants for projects $5,000, with application deadlines of April 1, 2024 and July 15, 2024. Learn more and apply here.
  • The city also has an artist call out, for art installed along segments of the river trail.
  • A video episode of “Behind the Canvas” – looking at how Gamblin makes their paint.
  • Can you see blue better than most people? (However, your phone or desktop’s screen affect the test as much as your eyes. Viewing these blues on older displays and mobile phones may affect the colors as much as wearing sunglasses. Phones should be set to high brightness and displays should be correctly calibrated.)
  • Here’s some advice about painting the figure from photos.
  • Nikon 2023 small work photomicrography competition winners.
  • The underground floppy disc music scene.
  • Here’s a retro film camera gallery.
  • Legal matters around colors.
  • The unexpected red theory.
  • I looked up the plural word of canvas. (I still think it should be canva or canvii.)
  • The cutest traffic light.
  • 😎 Fun Fact: The Sistine Chapel ceiling, painted by Michelangelo, was completed in just 4 years, from 1508 to 1512, and it was done mostly standing up, not lying down.
  • Word Honey Open Mic Poetry Night is tonight at the Durango Library from 6-7:30. Be brave and read and original work or come out to support and enjoy local artists.
  • If you want to get out but want an adult beverage, there’s a growing selection of mocktail happy hours. For example, Durango Sustainable Goods is partnering with TESStastic for “warming spirit” mocktail evenings every Friday from 3:30-6 pm! Come down to the shop to sample or purchase New/Old Fashions & Hot TessToddy’s with tea or Wild Margaritas, and/or Cosmos (available in cranberry, orange, raspberry, and hibiscus flavors). There will be free tastings, single drinks for $5, and bottles of the mixers available for purchase. Make it a date night or bring your friends to to discover the fun sober side of Durango. Plus, you’ll wake up the next day hydrated and replenished.
  • The Subterrain is hosting a family friendly game night Friday at 6. They will have popcorn, rootbeer floats and their regular drink menu. Bring your own games and players, or play one of theirs and make some new friends!
  • It’s the time of year when there are lots of live music events, open mics, live jam sessions, etc, scattered about the area throughout the week. There are too many to list here, so if you’re looking for such things, head over to
  • There are classes/workshops/projects available at the 4 Corners Gem and Mineral Club, the Bayfield Library, Create Art and Tea, the Dancing Spirit Center for the ArtsDurango Sustainable GoodsLet’s Letter Together, the MakerLab, the Scrapbook NookSeed Studio, and the Durango Arts Center. There are a lot more things happening that I don’t include – so if you’re ever looking for something to do, start at
  • We just brought in two sizes of round canvases, and an oval. Based on the squeals of excitement as we pulled them out of the shipping boxes, we’ll have to bring in some more sizes – and maybe some other shapes – in the near future!

There are certainly things that the internet makes easier. However, art supplies and custom framing aren’t one of them. Both of those are made better through interactions with knowledgeable people.

You can definitely buy art supplies online. Getting good customer service? Not so much. Reaching a real person with hands-on experience using the supplies in question? Even less likely.

Similarly, you can design a picture frame online. Unless you want to learn what all of the materials are and what the different options mean… you’ll just be guessing or have a dramatically narrow selection. And just how does one frame a 100 year old newspaper without damaging it? So many questions that are easiest when discussing with an experienced person.

I’m not trying to convince you – you’ve been in and chatted with us. Just sharing some thoughts that I had recently, listening to another marketing spiel about how everything is online these days.

As I said above – retail is dead… so come and visit us at the store. We’re here, in person, to help. We think that art makes the world a better place – making it, preserving it, and displaying it. Which means, you make the world better when you create. The world needs your art!

Matthew & the Art Supply House crew

P.S. – March 30th is getting closer. That’s Customer appreciation day (the 5th Saturday of the month). Do you have your bag ready?

P.P.S – If you’re interested in getting a small, tiny bite of art-spiration in your morning email, check out Morning Muse, a short, daily email I started sending a few weeks ago.

P.P.P.S. – In case that wasn’t enough, our Spring Clean art supply drive is coming up next month.