(credit: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)
It’s no surprise that some of the loveliest people run the best art supply stores. They truly enjoy the excitement of working with creative adults and with children on bringing their projects to life. With all of the creative juices flowing in the picturesque North Bay, local artists are lucky to have a few longtime community retailers to visit that feel nothing like a big box store experience.
103 Maxwell Court
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
The first thing to know about Rileystreet is that it has been a well-respected family business since 1968. The second thing to know is that it also has a San Rafael location. And, the third thing to know is that when it comes to art supplies, Rileystreet likely has whatever you’re looking for, including classes. From acrylics to watercolors, for kids and for grownups, just for fun or to support a business, here’s your one stop art shop in two handy places.
500 W. Napa St., Suite 538
Sonoma, CA 95476
Regulars know that this was the location of Rileystreet before it moved north. Owned and operated by artists, Fineline added custom framing and sewing notions to its offerings. The staff here likes to assist other artists with their projects, supplying or sourcing whatever clients may need, from students to amateurs to professionals. Find everything you need for painting and drawing, silk screening and calligraphy, embroidery, shadow boxes and much more.
128 Greenfield Ave.
San Anselmo, CA 94960
Just shy of 50 years in the same location, owner Perry says it makes him happy to be “the last of the Mohicans by stocking what people want, even if it’s just a few people.” This specialist shop is crammed with masses of artists’ materials, but if you don’t see what you’re looking for, ask the switched-on staff. There’s even more inventory stored in the back or Perry’s can order materials for you. Find the hard-to-find here, such as marbling paper and silver leaf.
641 San Anselmo Ave.
San Anselmo, CA 94960
Are the children working on school projects or bored during vacation? Doodlebug may be just what you’re looking for. Who better to stimulate our future designers and artists than owner Marnie Delaney with her rich background in top-flight corporate and advertising circles? Doodlebug teachers specialize in mosaic, clay, sculpture, drawing, painting, knitting, sewing and fashion design and here you’ll find all of the artist supply items to support all of those disciplines.
3250 California Blvd.
Napa, CA 94559
Connecting the dots between his business with gallery owners, wineries and about 450 Napa-based artists, Cartons and Crates owner Jeff Holmes decided to expand into art supplies. Both professional and student grade materials are stocked, as well as quality lines for water soluble paints and watercolors for children. This may be the only art supply store in town, but it looks to be thoroughly involved with the community.
Laurie JM Farr is a freelance writer covering all things in her adopted San Francisco. A dedicated urbanite, she’s a transplanted New Yorker by way of a couple of decades in London as a hotel sales and marketing manager. Follow her work on @ReferencePlease, USA Today, Yahoo! and on Examiner.com.