Want to get daddy a nice present.
April 20, 2010 11:48 PM   Subscribe

Present for 85-year old artist

My father is turning 85 this year. I live 5000 miles away.

He is an artist, a really really good one. He likes most art materials, except pastel and watercolor. His present does not need to be art related.

Do any of you have suggestions for what I can get for him? He does not like technology and food is very problematic (he is very fussy). My father pretty much buys what he wants. He is financially well off. He does well for an old guy, having just planted a bunch of 6-foot tall trees, digging the holes himself.

My sister got him a reproduction of a 18th century lantern for Christmas that he loved. A couple of years ago I got him a hand-turned pen, which he loved. Things he hated: juicer, pastel set. Also, no memory-type things like photo collages or videos (I hate them).

I don't want to make a gift and the gift should be about $100 (I am not cheap, just poor). Presents mean a lot to him, so gift cards are not a good choice.
posted by fifilaru to Human Relations (10 answers total)
- globe
- easel, either portable/table or normal stand-up
- art book
- something for his garden, like a bench or sundial or glass globe or bird bath
- nice birdfeeder, either in the shape of a cute house or a more traditional one
- watch
- does he drink?
- what else does he like to do? what does he draw or paint?
posted by barnone at 11:58 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Buy him a print from MetaFilter's own woodblock100.

My dad is a similar age and he enjoys reading history books about his youth, seeing what historians are making of a time you remember must be kind of cool. In his case, I've got him books about the rationing after WW2 in England, for example. So if there was something comparable in your dad's life it might be an idea.
posted by Rumple at 12:00 AM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

- bonzai
- nice leather journal or sketchbook with thick paper
- nice wool blanket, classically styled

Where is he located? Any other tidbits about him, his experiences, and his hobbies?
posted by barnone at 12:03 AM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Art catalogues from exhibitions. Here are some from that wonderful literacy charity, BetterWorld Books.
posted by Kerasia at 2:35 AM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Etsy.com is chock full of both antiques and art, generally at very reasonable prices.
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:04 AM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

When I first read this thread, I thought it said "85-year-old guitarist."

But then that got me thinking: maybe some nice music for him to listen to while he makes art? Maybe some Andres Segovia?
posted by LN at 7:11 AM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seconding getting a print from woodblock100. Here are the two places on his website where you can buy single prints: Mokuhankan and the Annual Gift Print.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:20 AM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My aunt is an 81 year old artist. Based on her reaction to Christmas this year, I would say don't, for god's sake, get him a fishtank. That was an abject failure - and the reason I have a fishtank now - but not all my presents have backfired. I got her the Planet Earth DVD series and she loved it. She has taken up an interest in gardening in her old age and so plants, the more exotic and beautiful the better, have been a hit for a while. We also gave her a big feather comforter and she adores it.

What I'm doing right now for her, though, is self publishing a book of her own work. We're working on it together, but if you have access to images of your father's paintings, you could do it as a surprise. Try either Lulu or Blurb. Just the ability to create a one of a kind bound book is really amazing to a lot of older people and, bonus, you can give it an ISBN and then he can sell copies at his leisure, so it's sort of a gift that keeps on giving.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:22 AM on April 21, 2010 [3 favorites]

Nthing the gardening suggestions -- my parents and closest relatives are all semi- or professional artists, and my older aunt the painter has gotten REALLY into plants, even more so than she was before. If he's off planting trees, well, chances are good botany/etc are at least semi-interesting to him, no?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:38 AM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Hard to send plants 5000 miles. Perhaps a gift card/cert to his local nursery?
posted by sarajane at 9:31 AM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

« Older Stopping unjust wage garnishment?   |   Are their user-driven sites to discuss Herend... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.