Watercolor Fundamentals On-Line instructions & Supply List

ON-LINE instructions & Watercolor Fundamental Supplies List    Duluth Art Institute Workshop

Build your watercolor skills with confidence through ON-LINE instruction, demonstrations and hands on experience. Learn the fundamentals and properties of watercolor to achieve desired results. This workshop is designed for both students new to watercolor and those who have some experience and supplies and would like a review of watercolor fundamentals.
First information about taking a class On-Line, then below is the traditional Watercolor supply list with explanation.

ON-LINE Class additional Information. On-Line learning is new for all of us I am excited to be able to teach from My Home to Yours!
This class will use a program called Zoom that you install on a laptop with a camera or on a tablet device with a camera. If that interests you come on aboard!!!
If you are familiar with using Zoom, great! You know what to expect.
If you have not heard of or used Zoom, or if you want some extra info about using the program, Click this link for much more information.
Because it is an ON-LINE Zoom class there are some things to explain how it will be presented.

  1. You will need a device with a camera and have a way to prop it up so the camera points at your face. You need to have the Zoom app installed.
  2. You will be sent an email with the link to “enter or join” my Class (Meeting). You will enter my class as you would any Zoom Meeting.
  3. I will start by using my forward facing camera to look and chat with you all face to face.
  4. I use presentation slides for examples and references during the lecture portions of my lessons.
  5. I have an overhead camera that points down to my painting surface. You will hear me and watch my actions while I demonstrate the lessons. You will also be instructed when to paint along.
  6. You will be able to ask question of me or the other students.
  7. A unique difference from normal face to face Zoom meeting is I want to be able to give you one-on-one feedback.  I may need to see your work to answer a question or to watch you paint.
    1. Laptop computers: They have cameras that point at your face not at your table… You will have to lift up your painting near your face in order for me to see it.
    2. IPad or Android tablet devices: Typically these devices have front and back cameras. You will be able to switch the camera to the back camera and point it down at your work.
    3. Smart Phones: You could use these devices the same as a tablet but the screen is smaller.
  8. Click this link for much more information.

Watercolor Supply list:

This list may look long for those without watercolor supplies. At a minimum, buy one big sheet of good paper, one #12 round brush, and bring the other common items you have day one. (I would rather you not spend money on inferior paints and palettes.  We will discuss all these watercolor supplies, different terms, and their differences in class. The first night I will have paint and plastic plates as a minimum. You can make a shopping list to purchase items locally or online for the next class. If you have any questions email me Bill@WilliamWiseArt.com  If you want info on other classes please don’t hesitate to email me here!


You needn’t buy the most expensive art equipment but it is essential that you buy 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. All brand names listed below are recommended for those buying watercolor supplies for the first time.   See the end of this list for some idea where to buy supplies.
For those who already own some watercolor supplies, please use this list to review what you have and to fill in any supply gaps.
The DAI will have sample amounts of the recommended paints available the first night if you don’t have what you need. I will be discussing some of the differences of quality and price in Watercolor Paints, Bushes and Paper, etc.

Here is a summary list: (I will have paint for those of you who don’t the 1st night)

  • (1 or 2) 22×30” watercolor paper sheets, Arches 140lb Cold Press, recommended
    if full sheets are not available, WC tablets or blocks are good. See below.
  • #12 or #10 round watercolor brush (synthetic or synthetic blend)
  • (6) colors of watercolor paint (1 warm and 1 cool of each Yellow, Red, and Blue).
  • Palette with cover
  • One – 1pt or larger water containers (Preferably plastic to avoid breakage)
  • Pencil
  • 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: Some waterproof surface to paint on (some will be available for use at DAI)
  • Note pad: to take notes
  • Sketch pad optional
  • Camera optional
  • Brush carrier, canvas or bamboo (protects brushes tips) optional
  • There is a chance you might get watercolors on your cloths. Wear something appropriate.


Paper comes in a combination of three characteristics:  weight, surface texture and size. Quality watercolor is made from 100% cotton, not wood fibers!

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


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 is a #12 or #10 round, synthetic or synthetic blend brush. It will run about $8 – $11 (not readily available in Duluth). Avoid the inexpensive, student brushes. Optional additional brushes are: #10, #6, #0, ½” flat and 1” flat. In the workshop you may try 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).

Watercolor Paint
You will see a big difference in price for watercolor paints. The less expensive paints are student grade paints. They have less pigment and more filler. Common student brands include Cotman Series by Windsor & Newton, Grumbacher Academy Watercolors, and Van Gogh. Others brands include Yarka, and Prang, etc. These paints are acceptable but if you get serious you will eventually replace student grade with Professional grade paints which are more than double the price. Pro Brands include Windsor & Newton Professional (most available in Duluth), M. Graham, Daniel Smith, Holbine, 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.

Recommended Colors: (I will have these 6 colors available for you to use the 1st night)
I suggest starting with ONE warm and ONE cool of each primary color (Yellow, Red, and Blue). We will discuss Warm and Cool if this is not clear.

  1. Cool Yellow (yellow with a hint of green): Aurolin or a Lemon Yellow
  2. Warm Yellow (hint of orange): New Gamboge or WN Yellow Deep or Indian Yellow
  3. Cool Red (touch of violet): Permanent Alizarin Crimson
  4. Warm Red (touch of orange): Vermilion Red, Scarlet Lake or Cadmium Red
  5. Cool Blue (touch of green): Antwerp, or Prussian Blue
  6. Warm Blue: French Ultramarine Blue or Cobalt Blue

* Other optional colors you might already have and will buy eventually:
Dark Orange: Burnt Sienna
Darker Yellow (more neutral): Yellow Ocher or Raw Sienna or Quin Gold
Dark Cool Blue (touch of green): Indigo or Paynes Gray
Light Cool Blue: Cerulean or Manganese
Brown: Burnt Umber or Raw Umber
Green: Viridian green or Sap green or Hookers Green
Near Black: Neutral Tint or Indigo or Payne’s grey

The DAI will have sample amounts of the recommended paints available the first night if you don’t have what you need. I will be covering some of the differences of quality and price in Watercolor Paints, Bushes and Paper.

Palette I use a John Pike palette.
There are many types of acceptable palettes. Make sure your palette has a fairly large mixing area and a cover. Most good ones have 20-30 paint wells around the sides. During class you can use a white plate if you haven’t yet bought a palette. You probably WON’T find many choices of full size covered palettes in town.
Where to buy your art supplies
Most of these items are all available locally at Michael’s, UMD bookstore, Hobby Lobby, and Pineapple Arts in downtown Duluth. In the Twin Cities, try Wet Paint, Blick and others.
There are many online resources for art supplies:
Cheap Joes.com   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 here!