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The perfect gift for your favorite artist!

 For the holidays, their favorite day, passionate support, or “just because”, the Heilman Designs Gift Certificate is the perfect solution!

Just go to the shopping cart and choose your options.

Natural, rare and artfully abstracted!



In the latest “gleaning” of quality wood product for our boxes John discovered something that       has excited and stirred him to a creative adventure once again!  His love for fine, natural wood, creative craftsmanship and passion for what he creates brought the discovery of a limited supply of “Birdseye Birch”.   Strong, resilient, light and abstracted in its design, these sheets will yield a very special product for artists interested in our boxes.

These special consignment pieces will be offered on a first-come-first-serve basis styled personally for the artist and in the Backpack and Sketchbox Double sizes. These are one-of-a-kind artworks, a collector’s dream; an artist’s treasure.

Framework to be of Cherrywood; plywood inserts to be of Birdseye Birch.

Prices are:  Sketchbox Double – $195. + $15. Sh/h. (tax in CA)

Backpack -$265. + $25. Sh/h. (tax in CA)


Outstanding in Her Field! Bravo Lynne Vokatis, Plein air Warrior!


As told by Carol Douglas….

The air was perfectly still when we started painting. Unfortunately, neither she nor I thought to weigh down her Heilman pastel box. The wind rose imperceptibly. Whitecaps began to form and bigger breakers crashed along the rocks.

Lynne’s entire kit flew over onto the rocks with a terrible crash.

If you’ve worked in pastels, you know that the tinkle of broken chalks is the saddest sound known to mankind. An open-stock pastel stick can range from $3.50 to $7.00, and a good pastel artist can carry more than a hundred of them, accumulated over decades and treasured. The proper response to a fallen easel is either copious swearing or copious tears, depending on your personality.

Instead, we squared our shoulders and set to work cleaning up the mess. Miraculously, the box itself wasn’t damaged by the crash. Neither were the Terry Ludwig soft pastels she was carrying. While some of the other brands came from dust and to dust returned, these chalks were unfazed. A soft pastel that can survive the granite of Maine is not to be sneezed at.

On the first day of a workshop my students are usually so gung-ho that I have to drag them away for breaks. This year was no exception. By 1 PM, I was begging them to pack up their easels and eat their lunches. Our situation was untenable. The wind, at around 20 MPH, made the easels vibrate and the work snap around like tacking sails.

We moved to Arey Cove, which gave us a little protection. There I did a demo while my students ate their lunch.

At 5:30 I told everyone to pack up, as we had half an hour before dinner was served. Lynne was covered in pastel dust. “I think I’d better shower,” she said, and rushed through her packing. Unfortunately, the back door of her SUV wasn’t secured.  As she sped around the corner, her art supplies flew out of the back, including her Heilman pastel box on its tripod.

Again, we squared our shoulders. Again we picked up the mess. Again, that box was completely unscathed.

So consider this an endorsement of the Heilman pastel box. Apparently it is indestructible. The same might be said of Lynne. Lesser women (like me) would have cried and quit for the day. But she didn’t let disaster derail her. She told me that her neurologist says to think of such moments as clouds that will shortly move along. Sounds like brilliant advice to me.


Bon Voyage!


The excitement is high as I try out our new Heilman Designs All-in-One Oil Box®! The wonderful lightness, the stability and the versatility for different sizes of paintings that can be done will be so helpful when hiking off road and painting in small spaces! I like the fact that I can access brushes, paint tubes without having to carry extra storage and also store my wet paintings in several sizes and get them safely back to the car without carrying several containers. I am so looking forward to sharing the adventures this oil pochade box will make possible and also using it in tandem with the Heilman Pastel Boxes! Thanks to the magic craftsman, husband John, son Ted, grandson TJ for perfecting this innovative design! Thanks also to our children, John, Larry, Therese and Patrick who have helped take our passion for art to a new level as they help us navigate the daily demands of our operations.


An Ashland Experience

Art & Soul Gallery

Art & Soul Gallery

In my many years of making art, dealing with different art-forms, learning and sharing with fellow artists I have given gifts that keep on giving. As artists we learn and express our passions each in our own way. This is why I feel so blessed to find a consortium of talent that offers creative support and a professional gallery setting in one of the most charming places in southern Oregon, The Art & Soul Gallery, 247 Main Street, Ashland, OR 97520. You will be greeted by a gracious staff and directors who are owner-artists who enjoy sharing art with new and seasoned collectors and casual visitors. The directors keep the gallery fresh and energized with exhibits and activities that make for exceptional first Friday Art Receptions. New works, different interpretations and encouragement to higher levels of accomplishment in the many mediums is enthusiastically encouraged. Visit their website at and like them on Facebook at: › Art & Soul Gallery, Ashland, Oregon.

I invite you to visit me at the June First Friday Art Reception for my one-person show “Passages”

Oil Painting by Marge Heilman

Oil Painting by Marge Heilman

New Product Discovery

A slip during unloading resulted in this hand injury .

A slip during unloading resulted in this hand injury .

During the booth set up in Monterey I got a  cut on the top of my hand that was fairly deep.  What a great relief I had the product of a friend to rely on!

Ed “Passi” Pasquerella sent one of his brilliant “Dr.’s Bag” of natural sunscreen, bug repellant and wound repair.

The moment I put just a drop or two of the “Golden Drops to the wound, it stopped the bleeding and eased the pain.  It began the healing immediately

and there was not even a redness or tenderness and because of its natural anti-bacterial properties, the wound was greatly healed by the time convention ended.

Ed Pasquerella's "Golden Drops" and "Buz Off"

Ed Pasquerella’s “Golden Drops” and “Buz Off”


This product is a must for all of us plein air painters!

Visit his site and enjoy a great resource.

Thank you Ed!  You saved the day!

Monterey Excitement

Ready for the next wave of customers!

Ready for the next wave of customers!


Plein Air Convention 2015 Monterey CA

Plein Air Convention 2015 Monterey CA

What a whirlwind adventure Monterey was! Calm sunny days, COLD windy days, atmosphere to take ones breath away moment by moment!

We were so busy at our booth I barely got a chance to catch more than a glimse and get it down in pastel.

So I took lots of photos and used my sketchpad to capture notans and notes from the presentations I was able to attend.

Our daughter saved our life on this trip and made it so memorable….we could not have done it without her!

I was so energized by the friendliness and accessibility of the Faculty members and administrators and the gracious way guest Master Artists gave such jewels of knowledge and inspiration!

The Heilman art boxes had a robust interest and sales were great. The versatility of the Heilman art boxes are making an exciting impact on pastel, oil and watercolor artists.

The Heilman art easel shines as a multi-faceted use as an easel for the Heilman art box or a stand-alone unit connected to a tripod.

This makes for lighter, easily transported set ups and allows for using more than one medium simultaneously.

It is liberating not to get so involved and stressed with pouring all the energy into ONE medium or view.

Application Discoveries

I’m enjoying the variety of applications  of our boxes!

The Sketchbox Double is doing so well for tight plein air experiences with a good palette of colors to work with.

I enjoy how the easel can be used on the box or in my lap and I have recently discovered the Dolica 57” TX570B150SL Aluminum Tripod with Ball Head.

It’s very light at 2.5 lbs, folds down to 12.5”, takes a maximum load of 12 lbs. I spoke with them personally  ( and they are very helpful!

SketchBox Double, with easel

SketchBox Double, with easel

Tripods are an important element in the plein air set up as they must be versatile, sturdy, easily set up and taken down and be as affordable as possible.

There are many on the market and with our boxes, their requirements have to do mainly with the weight of whatever box is being used filled with pastels.

Pastels are heavy and will double the weight of the box they are put into.

Also helpful has been the Heilman Easel Adapter and Easel attached to a tripod.  The Heilman Easel and Easel Adapter expand the use of the tripod

and make for a solid easel set up in field or studio.

Heilman Easel and Heilman Easel Adapter attached to a tripod.

Heilman Easel and Heilman Easel Adapter attached to a tripod.


A Handy Tip

It’s been some time since I’ve posted to our blog. We have changed our computer system and a lot of other technical things and the “learning curve” is not nearly as friendly to me as it used to be so thank you for your patience!
I’m always looking for things that make the painting experience better and on my way to sharing about a new tripod I had just tried,  Master Artist Susan Ogilvie shared a great idea she has been sharing with her students.
A gifted artist and a wonderful teacher, Susan’s art and workshop schedule can be viewed at    
Susan uses our box and on the frame she has painted a value scale.   Acrylic paint was used and it is very helpful in identifying a color with its value.
Susan Ogilvie & Value Scale on the Heilman Backpack

Susan Ogilvie & Value Scale on the Heilman Backpack

Why We Fight to Make the Best

As good wood and materials become more costly and difficult to acquire, we push the envelope of possibilities to have our products be the best, longest serving and easiest to use. When our boxes are opened and the lids come off, something wonderful is about to happen.  Nature’s elements or still-life set-ups are about to be faced head on, a passion is about to be expressed and creativity is forging a masterpiece!  We partner in a serious effort….creativity!  When we create with feeling and passion, our minds visit a good place, our heart rate relaxes and endorphins kick in.  After a stressful day or in the midst of one we can engage a healing process by way of creating.  We have enjoyed many notes and emails from artists sharing their painting experiences.

"Trees at Desoto Park" by Elizabeth Rose

“Trees at Desoto Park” by Elizabeth Rose

This is a note we received from artist Elizabeth Rose, IPAP (International Plein Air Painters Artists Organization WORLDWIDE    

“I am a third generation pastel painter working primarily en-plein air.  Living in Florida I have seen much of its’ natural beauty destroyed by rampant development and construction. I hope to capture and preserve some small piece of what remains undisturbed.

“I can testify to the durability of your Heilman Pastel box.  I purchased my box several years ago and it has done very well by me.  The ultimate test occurred over a year ago.  I was on my way to a plein air competition and being very nervous, had placed my pastel box on the roof of the car while packing up my supplies.  When I arrived at the competition I couldn’t find the box anywhere.  Gone!  That was in May.  Fast forward to September.  I was pulling weeds by a fence at the end of our property and lo and behold, there was the Heilman under some bushes.  From what I could tell the box had flown off the top of my car, sailed 20 feet through the air and smacked into a wooden fence. It had survived the entire summer of Florida heat and rain.  The box as well as the pastels had survived and were in good shape.  I’ll never part with my Heilman box.”