Watercolor Painting Materials

Here is a list of my main watercolor painting materials

I recommend beginner watercolor artists start with these as they will give the key tools needed to paint good watercolor paintings. Poor materials (usually very cheap) will just make the job of learning to painting with watercolors much more of a challenge than it already is.

The watercolor paints in my kit include a warm and cool color of the reds, blues, and yellows as well as a few other earth and specialist colors. With these I can mix any colors I require for my paintings. It is better to have a limited number of pigments which you know very well and can use to mix a full range of colors than to purchase a large quantity of different colors but not have a good understanding of color mixing principles.

My Watercolor Palette

I use a large palette produced by NEEF, a company based in Melbourne, Australia.  It has plenty of paint wells for my colors, some of these wells I leave empty so I can use them for mixing small amounts of paint in addition to the three main mixing areas in the centre of the palette.

Here is a picture of it:

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Overall I like this palette as it can hold lots of pigment and also give me many areas for mixing.

It comes with a nice lid which also has four mixing areas that can be used if needed.

My Watercolor Paints

My must have paints are as follows and are laid out roughly in my palette in order of the colour wheel:

Cerulean Blue:  This is a cool blue. Granulating, Semi Opaque,

Cobalt Blue:  A relatively pure, Granulating, Semi Transparent

French Ultramarine:  A warm blue, Granulating, Transparent

Permanent Alizarin Crimson:  A cool red. Produces a beautiful purple when mixed with French Ultramarine. Staining, Transparent

Cadmium Red:  A warm red. Granulating, Staining and Opaque

Cadmium Orange:  I use this for certain sunsets and to grey off the blues. Opaque.

Cadmium Yellow:  A warm yellow. Opaque,Staining.

Aureolin:  A cool yellow. Transparent, Staining.

Yellow Ochre:  A relatively opaque, yellow earth colour. Semi Opaque.

Raw Sienna:  Similar colour to Yellow Ochre but more transparent.  Transparent, Granulating.

Raw Umber:  Brown colour with green tinge, used in painting trees and foregrounds. Transparent, Granulating

Burnt Sienna:  Orange brown colour – mixes a great dark with used with Ultramarine Blue. Transparent.

Cobalt Turquoise:  I use this when painting the water around Venice, can produce a range of greens  when mixed. Semi Opaque, Granulating.

Other colours I use from time to time are:

Viridian:  My only green which I use when painting waves. Transparent, Granulating.

Cobalt Turquoise Light:  Useful for creating bright greens.

Scarlett Lake:  A bright red

Neutral tint:  Mainly used to quickly create a base road colour, though I prefer to mix my road colour with French Ultramarine, Alizarin Crimson Permanent and a little Burnt Sienna.

Watercolor Brushes

The main brushes I use are:

Brand :  NEEF

Series:  4750-LP

Sizes:     Round: 24, 16, 12, 10, 8

There are many good watercolor brushes on the market. The ones I use are reasonably priced and come to the very nice point when wet, while at the same time holding a lot of paint. The brushes have a little spring in them which suits my way of painting.  No mater what brushes you use the important thing is to really get to understand how they work when painting.

In addition to the above I lot of other brushes that get used from time to time. For example I have a couple of fan brushes which I find are invaluable for painting palm trees and texture on weathered timber. In addition I have a number of mop brushes which hold lots of pigment and are good for very broad washes but not so useful as far as their point is concerned, I also have a number of flat brushes in my collection.

Watercolor Paper

I mostly use Arches or Saunders Waterford watercolor paper, 300gsm Rough or Cold Press ( also known as” Medium” as well as “NOT”).

Backing Board

Plywood or other light material to tape paper onto.

I like using Gator Board which is light and stiff and can be stapled into.

Miscellaneous Items

Masking tape, small plastic water bucket or container (about 1 litre in size), 2B pencil and kneadable eraser