Supplies

Introduction

Better quality materials mean better and faster results. Buy the best you can afford. Supplies are labeled as ‘student’ or ‘artist’ grade. I recommend Artist-Grade Materials. The following are suggestions and my preferred materials.

Click on the tab for medium of your choice to see the supplies I recommend.


I can’t use solvent, due to chemical sensitivity. I start a painting with water-mixable oil paint. Water-mixable oil paints are ‘real’ oils just like traditional ones, they just clean up or thin with water. They are handy for travel (solvent is prohibited on airplanes). Water-mixable dries a little bit faster so it works well for ‘fat over lean’ rules of oil painting layers. Overall I find that I enjoy the buttery quality and longer dry time of traditional oils, so now I use a combo of both types of oil paint (one or two colors of water-mixable to start toning/drawing, and then use traditional oils). You can certainly paint in all water-mixables (I recommend Cobra, Duo, or MAX brands).

SURFACE
Please don't use discounted 'student' panels or canvas. A cheap 'thristy' surface hampers your efforts to spread oil paint and will be a struggle to work on. Centurion all-media primed canvas pads, panels, and linen stretched canvas are high quality and for a low price (available at Jerry's Artorama online). Other options for painting surfaces: RayMar panels (good variety, durable). Raymar Artfix L64C Quadruple Oil Primed Linen Panel is my favorite surface, but these panels are very expensive and not recommended for beginning students on a budget or for experimenting. Gessobord has a nice surface (this has no 'tooth' or canvas texture). For the cheapest option use pieces of un-mounted pre-primed canvas. Or use a stiff paper (Kraft Stonehenge). Note: oil will wick over time and this is not considered 'archival' but it is still useful for studies.

BRUSHES
My Rosemary brush set offers basic brushes (flats 2-8) and some variety of shapes/textures. See link below.
Detailed brush notes: For small or medium artwork try some basic flats from Silver Brush (Bristlon) or Rosemary (Ivory) size 2-8 flat or long flat. To add variety, I also like some different shapes and texture brushes (whips, egberts, filberts, bright, etc). I don't like rounds for oil, but many artists do. Hog-hair/bristle can be great for grass and nature texture, also for sky. I don't use many soft or blending brushes (fan or sable) but badger or Rosemary Brush's Comber can be nice for skies, still life, or portraits. Small rounds can be good for detail or a signature. For traditional oils synthetic or natural hair (bristle, badger, sable) brushes all work well. Any water will make natural hair brushes floppy, so for water mixable only use synthetic. Brushes should be in good condition. Keep a few old beat-up splayed brushes for scratchy texture (such as grass) or scumbling.

To view my Rosemary Brush Co. Brush set CLICK HERE

OIL COLORS
(M. Graham paint brand, except as noted.)
Yellow: Cadmium Yellow Light; Cadmium Yellow Medium
Red: Anthraquinone Red, or 'Permanent Alizarin' in other brands; Azo Coral (equals Cad. Red Light or Pyroll Red Light in other brands)
Violet/Cool Red: Thio Violet (Grumbacher MAX), or Ruby Violet (Vasari)
Blue: French Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue
Brown: Transparent Oxide Red (Cobra), or Burnt Sienna
White: Titatium White Sunflower (large size)
Extra Colors I May Use: Prussian Blue, Cobalt Teal (Michael Harding), Quinacridone Rose, Yellow Ochre, Thalo Blue, Indian Yellow (Michael Harding), Raw Siena, Ivory Black, Video Blue Pale (Vasari), Jasper (Vasari), Shale (Vasari); I sometimes add more water-mixables to the starting stage of my larger art: Cadmium Yellow (Duo), Cobalt Blue (Cobra), Prussian Blue (Duo)
A limited palette can be: white, Cobalt Blue, Cad Yellow Light, Azo Coral. Most of the time I use a warm/cool of each color.

OTHER
Palette knife, Walnut oil, Gamblin Solvent-free gel

BRUSH CLEANING
I rarely clean my brush during painting. Mostly I wipe out excess paint and use more brushes. Freezing brushes between sessions works well if you paint often. After 2 weeks in the freezer without use brushes will need to be cleaned. Turpenoid Natural and Masters Brush Cleaner soap are how I clean brushes if they need it.  

PLEIN AIR EASEL
Oil Small: Edgepro Paintbook
Oil Med. EASyL Lite (10x12")
Oil Large: Bristol (I use with the EASyL Lite for paint mixes), New Wave Grey Disposable palette (for extra mix space)
Plein Air Easel Lights:  ArtEscape or Revelight 12"

To view the ArtEscape Easel Light CLICK HERE

To view the Revelight 12" Easel Light CLICK HERE

STUDIO EASEL
Hughes Easel (Model 3000, modified to 2-masts)
New Wave Palettes (glass - clear and grey, I have 1 each, size 16x20" in the studio)
Painting Table ($20 at the Re-Store, 60x29" top and 31" height)

SHOPPING CART
The link below will take you to a shopping cart I have prepared with the tradition oil supplies I recommend:

To view the Water Mixable Oil media shopping cart at Dick Blick CLICK HERE

To view the Traditional Oil media shopping cart at Dick Blick CLICK HERE


PALETTE
Mijello Fusion plastic palette

WATERCOLOR PAPER
Good paper is important for creating watercolors. 140 lb. sheets or blocks. Cold press. 100% cotton. Fabriano or Arches. Stillman & Birn (Alpha series, Red Label) is a good forgiving paper for watercolor 'color note' sketches and what is shown often in my videos. For quick sketches, such as a value study, a regular sketchbook will do, however you will not be able to use lifting out techniques or multiple washes.

BRUSHES - Synthetic or sable watercolor brushes. Larger is better. 12, 10, round is essential. (Escoda, Isabey, Davinci, Rosemary all make quality brushes). A great all purpose brush is Rosemary R3 pocket sable. Or Escoda 1212 series. More brushes are not needed. Avoid 'jumbo packs' of many small brushes, this is a waste of money. Better to spend money on one large high-quality round brush that come to a point and holds enough water and pigment. Different shapes and gimmick brushes (fan) are also less useful to the beginner. After basic round brushes are acquired a square brush, rigger, and large wash brush can be useful to get. I prefer sable to synthetic but sables are getting hard to find and can be very expensive.

WATERCOLORS
Artist-grade watercolor paint. (Winsor Newton tube color unless noted).
Yellow: Winsor Yellow, Indian Yellow (Qor)
Red: Winsor Red or Pyroll Red Light (Qor); Permanent Alizarin Crimson
Blue: Cobalt Blue; French Ultramarine Blue (not ‘Deep’ version); Peacock Blue (Holbein)
Green: Hooker’s Green
Brown: Burnt Umber
Other (optional): Permanent Rose; Cobalt Violet; Cobalt Turquoise Light, Raw Sienna, Quinacridone Magenta
Holbein Titanium White Gouache, Sepia (great for value studies)

PLIEN AIR EASEL
Plein Air Pro (Travel) watercolor easel

SHOPPING CART
The link below will take you to a shopping cart I have prepared with the supplies I recommend:

To see the Watercolor media shopping cart at Dick Blick CLICK HERE


If you are getting started with gouache and want to try it, you can simply use any transparent watercolor set and mix with a tube of Titanium White. A set of gouache, however, will work much better for achieving built-up layers and texture. Unlike my other paints I find neutrals and greys useful to have on the palette to remember what is light, medium and dark in value. This is primarily because gouache can dry in a strange way... gouache dries at least 2 shades darker for most passages of color (thick or thin) and for dark colors 1 shade lighter. Keep sable brushes away from your gouache art and use synthetic, as gouache can be abrasive to delicate sable hair. Try to keep gouache moist as you work. I prefer fresh squeezed paint blobs but some artists use re-moistened blobs also.

PAPER
Fabriano #140lb, cold press, 100% cotton; or Arches #140lb or #300lb, blocks work better, or tape down loose sheets. Thin sketchbook paper is not good to use with gouache.

GOUACHE COLORS
(Winsor & Newton or M. Graham)
Titanium White (large)
Yellow: Naples Yellow, Azo Yellow or Cad. Light, Gamboge
Red: Cad. Red Light, Venetian Red, Napthol Red or Alizarin Permanent
Blue: Cobalt Blue and/or Ultramarine Blue
Green: Hookers Green
Other: Black, Neutral Grey 3 (Winsor & Newton)

PALETTE
Mijello Fusion (have one just for gouache - plan to clean it off frequently, gouache is best fresh)

BRUSHES
Silverwhite 1514S Edgewater Wash 1" (or any large synthetic wash brush - acrylic brushes will work), Silverwhite 1506S 1/2" angular, Silverwhite 1511S 3/4" stroke; Simply Simmons #10 round; 1/2" wash. Optional: riggers, more angle or round brushes, fan brush, etc.

OTHER
White Artist's tape for edges or dividing large paper for studies, paper towels, one or 2 water buckets (I like the tulip collapse-able one), small water mister (keep paints moist), pencil and white eraser (optional)


Andrew Loomis, Creative Illustration
John F Carlson, Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting
Edgar Payne, Composition of Outdoor Painting (out of print/hard to find)
Kevin MacPherson, Fill Your Paintings With Light and Color
Robert Henri, The Art Spirit
Robert Greene, Mastery
Arthur Wesley Dow, Composition: Understanding Line, Notan and Color
Richard Scott, Sketching - from Square One to Trafalgar Square

Watercolor

PALETTE
Mijello Fusion plastic palette

WATERCOLOR PAPER
Good paper is important for creating watercolors. 140 lb. sheets or blocks. Cold press. 100% cotton. Fabriano or Arches.For quick sketches such as a value study, a plain sketchbook is fine. Stillman & Birn (Alpha series, Red Label) is a good forgiving paper for watercolor 'color note' sketches and what is shown often in my videos.

BRUSHES - Synthetic or sable watercolor brushes. Larger is better. 12, 10, round.A great all purpose brush is Rosemary R3 pocket sable.

PAINTS
Artist-grade watercolor paint. (Winsor Newton unless noted).
Yellow: Winsor Yellow, Indian Yellow (Qor)
Red: Pyroll Red Light (Qor), (or WN Winsor Red); Permanent Alizarin Crimson
Blue: Cobalt Blue; French Ultramarine Blue (not ‘Deep’ version); Peacock Blue (Holbein)
Green: Hooker’s Green
Brown: Burnt Umber
Other (optional): Permanent Rose; Cobalt Violet; Cobalt Turquoise Light, Raw Sienna, Quinacridone Magenta
Holbein Titanium White Gouache

PLIEN AIR EASEL
Plein Air Pro (Travel) watercolor easel

Oil

I PAINT SOLVENT FREE
I can’t use solvent, due to chemical sensitivity. I start a painting with water-mixable oil paint. Water-mixable oil paints are ‘real’ oils just like traditional ones, they just clean up or thin with water. They are handy for travel (solvent is prohibited on airplanes). Water-mixable dries a little bit faster so it works well for ‘fat over lean’ rules of oil painting layers. Overall I find that I enjoy the buttery quality and longer dry time of traditional oils, so now I use a combo of both types of oil paint (one or two colors of water-mixable to start toning/drawing, and then use traditional oils). You can certainly paint in all water-mixables.

EASEL
EasyL Lite, or Edge Pro (Sketchbook) for plein air

SURFACE
Centurion all-media primed panels or linen stretched canvas are great and for a decent price. RayMar and Wind River AC14 panels are also a good but more expensive. Some cheap panels are too 'thirsty' to make paint flow, better to use good panels and make sketches on paper or pieces of un-mounted pre-primed canvas. Raymar Artfix L64C Quadruple Oil Primed Linen Panel is my favorite surface, but these panels are very expensive and not recommended for beginning students on a budget or for experimenting.

BRUSHES
Synthetic brushes for water-mixable oils (natural hairs will get floppy). Silver Brush Bristlon or Rosemary Ivory size 2-8 flat or long flat. For traditional oils synthetic or natural hair (boar-bristle, badger, sable) brushes all work well. Brushes should be in good condition.

To see my Rosemary Brush Co. Brush set CLICK HERE

PAINTS
M. Graham paints, except as noted. Yellow: Cadmium Yellow Light; Cadmium Yellow Medium
Red: Anthraquinone Red (Permanent Alizarin in other brands); Azo Coral (equals Cad. Red Light in other brands)
Blue: Cobalt Blue; Cobalt Teal (Michael Harding)
Brown: Transparent Oxide Red (Cobra water-mixable), or Burnt Sienna
Violet: Quinacridone Violet (I use MAX Thio Violet, or Ruby Violet by Vasari)
White: Titatium White (Sunflower, large size)Extra Colors I May Use: French Ultramarine Blue; Thalo Blue, Indian Yellow (Michael Harding), Raw Siena, Ivory Black, Video Blue Pale (Vasari), Jasper (Vasari), Shale (Vasari); I sometimes add more water-mixables to the starting stage of my larger art: Cadmium Yellow (Duo), Cobalt Blue (MAX), Prussian Blue (Duo)

OTHER
Palette knife, Walnut oil, Gamblin Solvent-free gel

BRUSH CLEANING
Turpenoid Natural, Masters Brush Cleaner soap. (Use this combo to clean brushes when done, otherwise you can use walnut oil to clean during painting. Mostly I wipe out excess paint and use more brushes while painting.) I rarely clean my brush during painting. Tip: I use several brushes when painting (light, medium, dark). Freezing brushes between sessions works well if you paint often.

Gouache


If you are getting started with gouache and want to try it, you can simply use any transparent watercolor set and mix with a tube of Titanium White. A set of gouache, however, will work much better for achieving built-up layers and texture. Unlike my other paints I find neutrals and greys useful to have on the palette to remember what is light, medium and dark in value. This is primarily because gouache can dry in a strange way... gouache dries at least 2 shades darker for most passages of color (thick or thin) and for dark colors 1 shade lighter. Keep sable brushes away from your gouache art and use synthetic, as gouache can be abrasive to sable hair.

PAPER
Fabriano #140lb, cold press, 100% cotton; or Arches #140lb or #300lb, thin sketchbook paper is not good with gouache

PAINT
Winsor & Newton or M. Graham
Titanium white (large)
Yellow: Naples Yellow, Azo Yellow or Cad. Light, Gamboge
Red: Cad. Red Light, Venetian Red, Napthol Red or Alizarin Permanent
Blue: Ultramarine Blue
Green: Hookers Green
Other: Black, Neutral Grey 3 (Winsor & Newton)

PALETTE
Mijello Fusion (have one just for gouache and plan to clean it off frequently, gouache is best fresh)

BRUSHES
Silverwhite 1514S Edgewater Wash 1" (or any large synthetic wash brush - acrylic brushes will work), Silverwhite 1506S 1/2" angular, Silverwhite 1511S 3/4" stroke; Simply Simmons #10 round; 1/2" wash. Optional: riggers, more angle or round brushes, fan brush, etc.

OTHER
White Artist's tape for edges or dividing large paper for studies, paper towels, one or 2 water buckets (I like the tulip collapse-able one), small water mister (keep paints moist), pencil and white eraser (optional)

download materials list