Supply Information for Plein Air Painting Courses

A pretty good selection of art supplies is available at local stores such as Michael’s and Hobby Lobby.  Students may wish to consider ordering supplies from online sources such as Utrecht Art Supplies (, Jerry’s Artarama (, Dick Blick Art Materials (, Art Supply Warehouse (, ASW Express (, and other retailers.

Please don’t spend a lot of money buying supplies.  If you already have brushes or paints that are similar to those listed here, they may serve your purpose in this course very well.  If they don’t, you can buy additional supplies as the course progresses.

  • Oil Paints:  37 ml tubes of the following oil paints: Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna or Transparent Red Oxide, Cadmium Red Light, Quinacridone Red or Permanent Alizarin Crimson, and Zinc White, Titanium White, or Permalba White.  Optional: one tube of Nickel Titanium Yellow Light and one tube of Cerulean Blue or Cobalt Blue.  (Oil paints are preferred for this course, but acrylic paints and water-soluble oil paints are acceptable in lieu of traditional oil paints.). NOTE: Paints must be artists’ paints and NOT paints intended for hobby or craft work.  I am partial to the oil paints and mediums produced by the Gamblin company, both because of the quality and reliability of their products and because of their excellent customer service.
  • Brushes:  As a minimum, students should have long-handled, bristle oil-painting brushes of the following types and sizes: Flat #8, #6, and #4, and Filbert #6 and #4. (NOTE: Students will not need any brushes narrower than 3/8 inches.)  More advanced students may want at least one larger brush, such as a Flat or Bright #10 or #12.  Students should not skimp on the quality of their brushes.  It will be better to buy three or four brushes of good quality than to buy a lot of brushes of uncertain quality.  My personal favorites are the brushes produced by Rosemary & Co. Artists’ Brushes Ltd (, and lately I’ve particularly enjoyed using their “Ivory” line of short flats.  Other brushes I prefer are the Utrecht brand Series 201, 202, 204, and 209 white bristle brushes; the Silver brand Grand Prix series; and the Richeson brand Grey Matters series (particularly good for outdoor painting), but none of these favorites are available in local stores.
  • Palette or paper palette pad and a palette knife for paint mixing
  • Medium (optional but recommended): Liquin, Gamblin solvent-free gel, or Galkyd. (Galkyd is a very liquid medium, so if a student brings Galkyd, the student should also bring a small metal palette cup to contain the liquid.)
  • Supports: All students should bring one or two 9×12 stretched canvasses.  Additional canvases may be needed as the course progresses.  I also recommend that students have a few small canvas panels (e.g., 5×7 or 6×8) or a pad of canvas sheets, for practice at home.   If a student is a really fast painter, he or she may bring canvasses that are larger than those specified here.
  • Rags or paper towels, and a trash bag, such as a plastic grocery bag
  • A portable easel — portable but sturdy.  A French easel, also called a French box easel or a Jullian French easel, is an excellent starter easel.  These easels are very good for studio painting as well as painting en plein air, and a good one may be the only easel you’ll ever need.  Please don’t waste money by getting a light-weight aluminum easel.  It will not serve you well.
  • A hat, sunscreen, bottle of water, insect repellent, etc.
  • Students may wish to obtain a “ValueComp,” which is a simple tool for assessing and comparing values in a scene and on a canvas.  It is available from Wind River Arts (, costs about $10, including shipping and handling.  This tool is recommended but not required. 

NOTE:  Students are urged to plan their painting kits carefully, so that everything can be carried to the painting site in one trip.  Although the painting sites in this course will be easily accessible by car, a certain amount of walking and “toting” is inevitable.  

%d bloggers like this: