(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

The art of gift giving is hard to perfect. Reluctantly pulling that difficult aunt’s name for Secret Santa, or searching for gifts for someone who just has everything can prove discouraging and time consuming. Look no further, because local D.C. artists have become your new best friend this holiday season.

Paula Wachsstock

Paula Wachsstock is a highly educated, award-winning painter residing in Northern Virginia. Her art education includes ongoing courses at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C., and fine arts studies and art technology classes. Wachsstock specializes in what she calls “paint to print.” She uses tools such as screens and sanders to refine her pieces, peeling back the coating of emotion that comes with each painting. The ever-growing Wachsstock gallery includes animal paintings, drawings, and acrylic and oil on canvas paintings. Her one-of-a-kind works of art are thoughtful gifts, as Wachsstock can paint virtually any subject, making it simple to personalize.

Essence de Provence

Arlington resident Beth Vosoba was fascinated with Provence, France on a trip nearly two decades ago. Vosoba has since made subsequent visits to France and annually ships fresh lavender with an unusual indigo color. The lavender takes on multiple uses: decorative wreaths as well as soaps, gels, oils and candles. Online shoppers benefit from free shipping on orders of more than $100. You can’t go wrong with a scented candle or organza bag.

Juanita’s Adventures

World travelers appreciate beauty and can expect exactly that in Juanita Workman’s trinkets. Workman focuses on creating souvenirs to remember vacations and destination trips, primarily using maps. Whether it is a coaster set illustrating the vintage map of Europe or propeller cuff links, all of her designs are great gifts for the world traveler. If your parents just cruised to the Bahamas, Workman can easily craft a journal or handy bookmark using a map of the Bahamas. She welcomes custom orders and guarantees shipment of orders 10 days after payment. Share your story, or a loved one’s story, with the local D.C. artist, and she will make it come to life, leaving you with a surprisingly interesting and memorable gift.

Related: Gift Guide For The Adventurer

Carmen Eliam

A skilled copper jewelry maker, Carmen Eliam said she believes in the therapeutic advantage of designing with copper metal. Eliam’s creations are wearable, yet fashion forward and exclusive. The fall 2012 collection features simple, beaded earrings for the more-reserved customer or, for the risk taker, huge statement necklaces that cover the entire chest. The exquisite jewelry will be showcased at the legendary Downtown Holiday Market in D.C. Dec. 23.

Syl Mathis

Decorative pieces for the home are always appreciated and make great presents for any occasion, particularly the holidays. Syl Mathis is an expert sculpture artist who owns WOODSTONEGLASS design in Falls Church, Va. Mathis’ custom-carved glass took the prize for best in show in Bethesda’s Fine Arts Festival. His abilities aren’t limited to glass, embracing pottery, carved tile and stone, and architectural elements. View the extensive gallery on Mathis’ website for an idea of available work.

For more gift ideas, visit YourHolidayHints.com

Kelly Johnston is a freelance writer living in D.C. She graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in Fashion Retail and Merchandising and a minor in Journalism. Follow her on Twitter at @kellyfrancess. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.