Monday, August 07, 2006

Service with a smile - San Clemente Art Supply

The place where the Dianna Ponting Pastel Workshop was held really deserves a special mention in this blog as it was outstanding.

The workshop was held in a large room to the rear and side of the San Clemente Art Supply and Framing building at 1531 N. El Camino Real, San Clemente Ca 92672. (that's the spanish style building with two big palms either side!)

Patti Herdell, who set up and runs the store, is one of the most helpful and hospitable people I've ever come across in an art supply store - and this is reflected in the range of services and supplies they offer and how one is treated as a customer. As the website says "We provide service with a smile" - and they do too!

They have an extensive range of classes and workshops - from ones for children to regular classes for local people on a variety of subjects to one day or one week workshops from some of the best tutors around. I see they have a Sally Strand teaching a workshop on 'The Color of Light' in the first week of October - which should be of interest to any pastellists who can get to it (that's if it's not sold out already!)

Running workshops, classes and demonstrations by instructors from major suppliers on a regular basis means that they are well used to having students in the building - which probably explains why they are so good at hosting classes. Each workshop participant had an easel and a decent amount of table top space - so essential when working with pastels. The wash-up and rest room facilities were fine. They also had a great map of all the local places to get lunch. What was best though was the very easy access back into the store proper where you could find anything you knew you wanted - and a lot more besides.

This store has a fabulous stock of paper and supports of all different sorts - I came away with all sorts of new goodies which I just can't get in the UK. In this respect, I even thought it was at least as good if not better than the Dick Blick store in San Diego (see tomorrow's post), If you can't find what you want at your local store try giving them a ring! They don't currently run a mail order service from their website but I'm currently thinking along the lines of contacting them next time I want something not stocked in the UK!

They also had an excellent range in both pastels and coloured pencils - and pens and pencils. I can't find my notes so I'm not going to say exactly which ones they had but will update this page once I've contacted Patty. I do know though that they were stocking the Terry Ludwig pastel sets - including the Terry Ludwig dark set which helped to produce lush darks in the workshop.

The store is also fantastic for having a great supply of small pieces of kit and useful items which make one's artistic life easier at times - and makes browsing filled with lots of loud sqeaks of "Oh look what they've got here!" They had all the material and tools which Dianna had recommended to hand - which was great as some of them were very difficult if not impossible to find at other stores.

You have been warned - DO NOT ENTER this store with any plastic in your hand unless you're prepared for a large bill or can exercise masterful restraint or have spent your art budget for the next six months already and have promised to be really good!

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  1. Excellent article. I may post a link to it on


  2. What a hoot, Katherine! We stumbled across this lovely art supply store in November, when I visited my new inlaws for Thanksgiving. Joseph went looking to see if they had any of my books, which they did--and the young clerk was so excited he bought it himself and had me sign it. I bought several kinds of watercolor crayons there, and was delighted by the range of choices. A wonderful little store!


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