WATERCOLOR PAPER | I use 140lb or heavier, 100% cotton paper; my favorites are Arches or Saunders Waterford. I prefer a more textured surface and “cold press” or “rough” versions of this work well. You can find these types of paper in loose sheets, pads, or in blocks.


PALETTE | Watercolor palettes should allow for mixing juicy puddles. My favorite is the Holbein 1000 that I bought on EBay. This type of enameled palette needs a quick prep, see that here.

I also use:

Cheap Joe’s American Journey Cavalcade Porcelain Palette This porcelain palette is very heavy and it’s really designed for use in the studio. I love the way the paint reacts to the ceramic surface [no beading!] and the cover keeps the paint wet for a long time.

Shy Artist Palette This little palette is super light-weight and great for plein air adventures. 

BRUSHES | I primarily use Escoda [love the Perla series]. To get started:  small [size 2-4], medium [size 8-10], large [size 14-16].


I do have flats and a few “special” brushes, that I like for certain effects:

Size 0 Raphael Kolinsky round for details.

ProArte swords, small, medium, large. These are my fave for branches or rigging.

Cat tongue or oval size ¾” by Silver Brush Black Velvet. It does a good wash.

Flats by Silver Brush Black Velvet. Inches: 1, ¾, ½, and 1½ .

Rigger Round by Escoda Versatil size10. It’s great for foliage.

Rosemary and Co. extended point size 16.

Blick Wonderwhite Scrubber size 4.


PAINT | I only use paint from tubes; never the dry cakes. My favorite brands are Daniel Smith, M. Graham [this contains honey, which keeps it gooey, but also attracts insects when outdoor painting], Winsor Newton, and Holbein. Avoid student-grade paints; they're going to be weakly pigmented [insert sad face here] and are not cost effective.

Primaries - Pyrrole Red / French Ultramarine Blue / Permanent Yellow Lemon


Basics - the essentials to get started

Blues: Cerulean, Cobalt, French Ultramarine

Reds: Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Pyrrol Red, Quinacridone Rose Madder

Yellows: Hansa, Lemon, New Gamboge

Earth Tones: Burnt Umber, Raw Umber, Burnt Sienna, Quinacridone Burnt Orange

Neutral Tint

Permanent White Gouache (Gouache is opaque – it's NOT a transparent watercolor)

Extended Convenience Colors - Ochre / Aureolin Yellow / Undersea Green / Permanent Green / Phthalo Green Cobalt Turquoise / Cobalt Teal / Phthalo Blue / Indigo / Mineral Violet / Opera Pink / Quinacridone Red / Venetian Red / Pyrrol Scarlet / Permanent Orange / Van Dyke Brown

PAINT TUBE WRINGER | This simple tool pays for itself in saving paint. I've tried several versions and the metal wringers are worth the extra money. Here ya go. Or here.


SKETCHBOOK | My current store-bought favorite is the Pentalic Aqua Journal. But, my preferred form sketchbook is the homemade kind, using all 100% cotton paper.

ART BOARD | Masonite, Gator Board, or even channeled-plastic sign blanks – all work well. My favorite is the Incredible Art board. It’s sturdy, light weight, and cuts with a blade.


TAPE | I typically use artist’s tape 1” size in white, because it's the least distracting for me. Good ol’ masking tape will also work. 


WATER | Two good-sized containers. I also use a spray bottle. 


PAPER TOWELS | Viva in plain white. 

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