Supply List Portraits in Watercolor I – On-Line NOT SHOWN

Supply list for Portraits in Watercolor I: (Last used Dec 2020)

You needn’t buy the most expensive art materials but it is essential that you use good quality supplies. Inferior quality supplies are a recipe for frustration and marginal results.  For best results, good paper is most important, followed by a good brush, then paint. See the end of this list for some idea where to buy supplies.

Here is a summary list:
Please use this list to review what you have and to fill in any supply gaps. Don’t delay ordering your supplies. Email me if you have questions!!

Paint Colors. For this on-line class I will mail you a a strip of paper showing my recommend colors listed below. You can use this sample to compare your colors. If you have a color very similar you might not have to by more paint. 

Please read my article on portraits and flesh colors before class.

Colors I will use during my portrait class.  In order of priority and use:
Primary flesh colors. (Great flesh triad) WN Manganese blue, M Graham Cad red light, Winsor Yellow deep, plus maybe some raw sienna.  I use Scarlet Lake at the Very End to add warmth to cheeks.
Brown/red Hair, rusty browns, warm darks : The classic – French Ultramarine Blue, burnt sienna (I’m playing with DS’s Q Burnt orange as sub for BS)
Blond hair is Raw Sienna in light (or yellow ocher)
Darks on face: (Lips, nostrils, corners of the mouth):  Perm Alizarin Crimson, Winsor Blue red shade, with the Cad red.
Eyes: All the above colors
Greens and cool blues: (My current favorite base background. A complement to flesh colors) Winsor Blue red shade, DS Q Gold, Aureolin.
Very darks (warm and cool): I blend these 3 together and seldom use alone: Payne’s Gray, Sepia, Neut Tint.
Brands are Winsor Newton if not specified.

I recommend Professional Brands including Windsor & Newton Professional (most available in Duluth), M. Graham, Daniel Smith, Holbein, and many more (available at online stores). You will find both grades of paints in tubes and pans or cakes. Both are good to use but I prefer tubes. Student grade paints have less pigment and more filler. Your flesh may be chalky and you might feel frustrated. Common student brands include Cotman Series by Windsor & Newton, Grumbacher Academy Watercolors, and Van Gogh. I don’t recommend Yarka, or Prang at all for this class!!


I suggest, if available:  (1 or 2) 22×30” watercolor paper sheets, Arches brand or equal, 140-lb (140 pound) Cold Press, either bright white or natural (no significant difference). A 22” x 30” sheet is $8-$12. You can also buy Arches brand or Kilimanjaro (Cheap Joe’s Brand) paper in tablets or blocks (Other brands Saunders Waterford, Fabriano Artistico, but must be 100% cotton). Tablets are expensive to start with. We will rip larger sheets into smaller sizes. Avoid Strathmore 300 watercolor paper (yellow cover tablets, made of wood not cotton). It is very difficult to get desired results with this paper. DON’T BUY IT FOR PAINTING WATERCOLOR. Must be 100% cotton, NOT cellulose /wood paper.

Choose only brushes designated for watercolor. They are softer and made to hold water. Generally they have shorter handles than oil and acrylic brushes. No camel or bristle brushes.
Sizes and shapes recommended:
A good brush to start with for portraits is a #12 or #10 round, synthetic or synthetic blend brush. It will run about $8 – $12 (not readily available in Duluth). Avoid inexpensive, student brushes. Feel free to use brushes you are comfortable with. #10, #6, #0, ½” flat and 1” flat. If we were together you could have tried mine or others willing to share their brushes to see if you like them before you buy.
Suggested brands: Robert Simmons Sienna, Jack Richeson Series 9000, Robert Simmons White Sable (synthetic) Silver Black Velvet.  I wrote an article on brushes, consider reading it.

Other supplies you already have:
Palette with cover
One – 1pt or larger water containers (Preferably plastic to avoid breakage)
Large soft white or kneaded eraser, not a pink pearl
Sponge: a small inexpensive grocery store sponge or old terry cloth rag
Small spritzer bottle for water. See travel sections at Target, Walgreen’s etc.
Paper towel: Viva brand is recommended for its strength.
12×16” Support board
Note pad: to take notes
Sketch pad optional

Where to buy art supplies
Most of these items are all available locally at Michael’s, UMD bookstore, and Hobby Lobby.  In the Twin Cities, try Wet Paint, Blick and others.
Arches paper in the full sheets may be most difficult to buy locally. I buy it in 10 sheet bags, I wish we were together…
There are many online resources for art supplies: This is just a few.
Cheap   Daniel Smith   Dick Blick   Jerry’s Artarama
Amazon has some supplies, especially paper pads and blocks, and their prices are competitive.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email me!