I am picky about substrate (the thing that paint goes on). I don’t care for cotton canvas. I don’t like the texture or the bounce. Linen is better, but I still don’t like the bounce of canvas. I prefer to paint on panels. As one can imagine, there are problems with this when one lives somewhere remote.
In a pinch, I can work on Masonite. It’s a little thin and should be fixed to a wooden cradle (think of it as a frame behind the flat surface that keeps the Masonite flat.) It needs more prep than I am sometimes willing to put into it because, truth be told, I’m a lazy artist.
In Seattle, I could buy panels — finished, cradled, pre-gessoed, clayboard, scratchboard — you name the size and finish, I could get it. If all I wanted was just the clear, finished but not primed basswood, I could get that from a store in the University District who brought in supplies from an Indian manufacturer for half the price of the Ampersand boards. How wonderful was that? Almost as good as Theo’s Broken Bar chocolate sale! OK, not that wonderful.
There are no art stores in Longyearbyen. This shocks no one. There are art stores, or at least one, in Tromsø but it does not sell panels. I did not have much luck finding any art stores in Norway that sell panels. They may exist and my Google fu just wasn’t strong enough. Perhaps if I went to Oslo and visited every art store I could find something, or go to a lumber yard and have things custom cut for me. I’m not doing that. Lazy artist, remember?
Therefore I was delighted to discover that Ampersand, the maker of those fine panels I bought in Seattle, is a British company. Their mission statement, lord love ’em, is all about bringing the art of painting on panels back into vogue. Well, I am sold. I feel positively Renaissance. Just to be certain, I wrote them asking if they shipped to Longyearbyen. Their response was sure, we ship everywhere. Just put in your postal code.
So I made an order, and when I placed it, entered my postal code as asked. It provided me with every single street address in Longyearbyen to choose from. Admittedly, this is not a big town. But still. I laughed like a crazy person. After all, I live in one of the most out of the way places in the world. I chose my address from the lengthy list, and finished my order.
They say it will get here in ten days. That I don’t believe. I mean, if tide and times are right, maybe. But DHL said they would also get here in ten days, and it took four weeks. If these items get here in four weeks, I’ll be a happy woman. It’s not the shipping company’s fault. Who knows what may happen between now and then? How long will it sit in customs? What if the plane is having mechanical difficulties? I accept unexpected delay is part of my life now.
But they are coming, and that is truly exciting.