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Materials List

Dear Painters,

Here is a list of materials you will need when you attend my workshop. This selection is based on years of experience and will help to make your workshop participation satisfying and rewarding.
  • You will need a support for your paper
    (a board on which you will attach your paper).

    I suggest gatorboard in white, which generally comes in different sizes. It can be cut with a utility knife to the size that you prefer. You can cut it to fit into the bottom of your suitcase and if you will be working on sheets of paper you can sandwich them between the gatorboard and a piece of foamcore, cut to the same size as the gatorboard. The gatorboard is very light weight and impervious to water. If you already have a support that you wish to use, that will be fine. Just remember that you want to keep your supplies as light in weight as possible as we will be doing some walking. You may also want to bring a lightweight stool or something to sit on. You will probably be sitting on the stool and holding your paper support on your lap. Your paper should be a little smaller in size than your support. The size of your paper is not critical. Just remember that it should be a little smaller than your support.

  • Paper:

    We will have a variety of mediums being used in our group so you will need to choose the type of paper appropriate for your particular medium. For watercolor and acrylic, I recommend hand made, 100% rag paper sold by the sheet. Many painters have brought blocks of watercolor paper to my workshops and they have not been satisfied with the quality of the paper. If you have any questions about the best paper to use for your medium, please contact me via email

  • For those using pastels:

    You will need something for blending. This can be tortillions or stomps. Some also use a small soft brush. If you use your fingers, remember to bring a damp cloth or paper towels on location with you for keeping your fingers and therefore your colors clean. You will need protective sleeves for keeping your work from smearing in transport. The airlines do not take kindly to a spray can of fixative so I suggest Glassine papers or interleaving papers cut to the size of the paper on which you will be working.

  • For those using pencils:

    Please bring a variety of H's and B's and /or colored pencils. I recommend the yellow Koh-I -Noor (this is a brand name) eraser for colored pencils. You will need a nice smooth paper for drawing such as Arches hot press watercolor paper, Lenox, or Stonehenge. Daniel Smith sells this. If you prefer a drawing pad, spiral sketch books are nice. If you want to incorporate some washes with your sketches, you can use the American Journey Watercolor Journal or any other pad that has a good grade of watercolor paper. It should be at least 140 lb. paper.

  • For those using watercolor:

    You will need a container of water on location. I suggest plastic. You will also need a small container for holding water as you work. Suggestion: Cut the bottom off of a plastic soda bottle. I recommend the sheets of 100% rag watercolor paper in the appropriate size for your support.

    You should have a good size palette. I recommend the Pike or the Robert Wood (Wood is my favorite) palette. If you feel that either of these palettes is too large you will find a variety of palettes in most Art Supply catalogs. I usually bring a metal one (Holbein). However, it is a little heavy and doesn't have much room for mixing paint. Small inexpensive plastic ones are available that you can use to supplement for mixing. If your palette is new, scrub it several times with cleanser and a little water to rough the surface a bit. This will prevent beading when you mix washes.

    A spritzer bottle is a must, as the air will dry the paint quickly. I am sure you all have your favorite brushes. If you haven't tried a quarter inch and half inch flat (most already have a one-inch flat) you might like to try them along with your variety of small brushes.

    You may want to consider bringing a sheet or two of mylar for trying corrections on paintings. Be sure the mylar will hold watercolor.

  • Paint colors:

    You will need a warm and a cool red (such as cadmium and alizarin crimson), a warm and a cool yellow (such as lemon and cadmium), yellow ochre, hookers green or a nice transparent green, ultramarine blue plus other blues to your liking (I also like Schmincke Mountain Blue but that doesn't mean that you have to have it), burnt sienna, burnt umber and any other colors that you are used to using. (Leave the paynes gray under the bed!)

    If you are using acrylic paint, you will need basically the same colors. Your palette will be a disposable one for acrylic paint. Look for one with a shiny surface. I have found that ice cube trays, each covered with a plastic bag, is a very good way of transporting and keeping the paint from drying out. The spritzer bottle is paramount for acrylic. You may want to paint on watercolor paper or stretched canvas.

    If you are using oil paint, you will need basically the same colors. Your palette will be an appropriate one for oil, making sure that it is large enough for mixing colors. Bring whatever medium you are used to using with the paint. You will find it very interesting to use a heavy watercolor paper (at least 300 pound) to which you have applied gesso on both sides of the paper Apply three coats of gesso, allowing each to dry before applying the next. You may also use canvas boards or stretched canvas. Bring whatever brushes you have for oil paint.

  • EVERYONE will need:

    A 9-inch by 12-inch (or larger) pad of inexpensive white paper. I suggest a tablet that is spiral bound, and will take pencil, ink, and light washes, if you are using watercolor. This will be used for planning and other purposes so you will need one that has a large number of sheets.

    A 11x14 in. pad of tracing paper or some sheets of tracing paper cut to the size of your support and sandwiched between the gatorboard and the foamcore.

    A red pencil, an ebony pencil, an HB graphite pencil, a small pencil sharpener that will sharpen all of the pencils, a Staedtler plastic eraser (cut a small triangular piece from the corner for erasing small areas), a pen or two if you like to work with ink. Some students have been happy that they had their Pigma Micron pens with them, (a suggestion for pens in airplanes: store them in ziplock plastic bags and carry them in your carry on. I have had pens leak that are packed in a suitcase!)

    Some paper towels on location for cleaning fingers, a roll of drafting tape, (not masking tape) and lots of good humor!

In the event of rain, please bring some of your own photos for imagery sources from which to work. If you would like to bring pictures of paintings that you have done I will be very happy to see them and give comments if you so desire.

Don't forget your sun screen and a hat or visor. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me!

Suggested Art Supply vendors:

  • Cheap Joe's: Boone, North Carolina, U.S.A.
  • Daniel Smith
  • Dick Blick
  • Jerry's

    Usually art suppliers require four to six weeks shipping time if the materials are being sent outside of the United States. Therefore, be sure to order your supplies very early. Also, try your local art supply stores.