SmartArt May 2015 Review ~ Paul Cézanne (Plus Coupon Code!)

Smart Art is a subscription box for artists. Or would-be, wish-they-were artists like me. I had a lot of fun with this months box and even though it’s on the pricier side, I’m getting another one. It’s fun to experiment and do something a little out of the ordinary.

I’m no great artist, let me start by saying that. I haven’t truly worked on any art for years. I did get an A in Art Class when I was in 8th grade. I can’t even calculate how long ago that was. I also got a C in Ceramics (my only C ever, ugh). My favorite medium is pencils. Colored pencils, regular pencils, whatever. Pencils. In the manner of full disclosure, I’m not creative. I’m really good at copying other people’s work or looking at something and re-creating it. But something off the top of my head? Not so much.

This month the focus is on Paul Cezanne. “Cezanne was ahead of his time and used his understanding of color patterns to create illusions of three-dimensionality. This technique makes his works highly recognizable.” Sadly, I have to admit that I pay little attention to artists and probably the only thing I can ultimately recognize is Starry Night. Mainly because I hate it so much. Or Picasso because it’s all so ugly. And I suppose that one guy who “paints light.” Urgh. I forgot his name but he’s pretty recent and was popular for awhile in the 90’s. Thomas Kincade! That’s it.

The Cost: $49.95/month

What You Get: Each month subscribers receive a new box featuring a different artist that highlights their time period, 8-11 full sized art supplies, a suggested project and a detailed pamphlet introducing a new art medium.

Derwent Inktense Blocks 12– A set of 12 blocks of ink. These are SO interesting! I’ve never used anything like them. It’s basically like a block of watercolor paint in a stick form that you can draw with instead of a pot you need stick your brush in.
Draw your thing, dip brush in water and then brush over the lines you made. I’m afraid to tell you how fascinating I found this. The possibilities are basically endless. You can even layer over it once it’s dry. Omg. I need more of the next thing in the box.
If you want to weep at some of the most beautiful Inktense art you’ve ever seen, look at this Pinterest page. I’m afraid to post a photo of what I made now. I think I need to revamp it.
Value: $13

Ampersand Aquabord 8×10– This is a board that you can paint on. It reminds me of something from school. Like elementary school but my brain can’t come up with what it was. It’s actually fantastic for watercolor because it doesn’t get soaked or soggy like regular paper (even the nice thick stuff that’s for watercoloring). That’s a good thing for art noobs like me because I inevitably use too much water on my brush or paint over an area too many times and then it just sogs up or rips. According to the brochure, it’s got a textured clay surface. If they weren’t so darned expensive, I’d get more to practice on.
Value: $8

Faber-Castell Graphite Aquarelle Pencil– I thought this was just a pencil. It’s not “just a pencil.” This is penciltastic. Besides the fact that it’s break resistant, the most fascinating thing about this pencil is that if you run a wet brush over your drawing, it disappears. The means you can draw your outline and then when you paint it, no pencil marks ever show. That is amazing. Maybe I need to get out more. But I will say that I am having a hard time not ripping out all my pencils and buckling down to draw.
Value: $5

Princeton Neptune Round Size 4 Synthetic Squirrel Brush-Featuring the latest synthetic fiber technology, the Neptune’s multiple-diameter filaments are configured to replicate the smooth feel of natural Squirrel, with enhanced snap and resilient strength. Experts in natural hair have been incredulous that the Neptune brush hair is actually synthetic.
Value: $5

VERDICT: Alright. I got this SmartArt Box for $21 with a Living Social voucher. It was definitely worth that. The value of this box according to Amazon is $31 which is significantly below the $50 regular price. I do feel that I need to point out that the Derwent Inktense pencils are usually $40. I mean… they are $40 everywhere except Amazon. Are the Amazon ones fake? I don’t know. I’ve never had an issue with fake things on Amazon. But it does make it a little more difficult to definitively say that this box isn’t worth it. I can’t say that yet.
I’m getting one more box and then I will have a final answer for you regarding value. And, if you love art and haven’t used the Derwent Inktense stuff, get it on Amazon for the $14 and see what you think.
For me, this box was worth it. I love everything about it and I can’t wait to spend a little more time with my Inktense Blocks. Whee!

If you want to sign up for SmartArt Box, you can do that here. Use code INSPIRATION for 20% off your subscription for life!