My Three Painting Staples

Paint, brushes and paper. When you strip everything else away, these are the three essentials for painting. I'm always asked what paints or papers I use to create my artwork, so I decided to share my art supply favorites.

1. Paint

Watercolor: Winsor & Newton. I bought my first set of Winsor & Newton watercolor pans back in high school and never looked back. I started with Cotman (student grade = cheaper) before graduating to the Arists' brand. The pigments are vibrant and intense, although usually more so with tubes than pans. I use a combination of both, and frequently squeeze tube paint into my palette to mix with pans. This gives me more flexibility to get the exact color I'm looking for.

Watercolor Examples:

Gouache: Turner. I did plenty of research before finally deciding to splurge on a 36-pack of Turner Acryl Gouache. The opacity and mixing is exactly what I was looking for. The biggest difference between watercolor and gouache is that watercolor is transparent and gouache is opaque. Watercolor also utilizes the texture of the paper, whereas with gouache, you'll see texture in the paint itself from the brushstrokes. I'll use either depending on what sort of look I'm going for. 

Gouache Examples:

Everything Else: Winsor & Newton acrylic, Acryla gouache, Utrecht watercolor tubes, Winsor & Newton watercolor tubes, and HWC watercolor tubes:

Holbein Acryla Gouache in Smalt Blue, Ice Green & Mint Green:

Winsor & Newton Watercolor Tubes:

2. Brushes

Boy, do I have a lot of these. Like my paints, I'm not loyal to just one brand. I use a mix of synthetic and sable, depending on how much I felt like spending at the time. I pulled some of my favorites to highlight and categorized them by size and purpose. Disclaimer: Some of these get used just about every day, so you can see the wear and tear. I think it adds character.  : )

2. Filbert Brushes: A. Winsor & Newton Cotman  3mm + 1/8". B. Princeton Art & Brush Co. Filbert #2. C. I can't read the logo & I apologize. It's a really great brush! D. Richeson 7550.

3. Paper

Strathmore is my go-to for art paper. Their watercolor paper and bristol paper are both high-quality and affordable. Their products are acid free, so your paintings and drawings will remain resilient as the years go on.

That's it, folks! Again, this is the basics. I have about a million more supplies that I use in my studio, like calligraphy pens, india inks, pencils, charcoal, ink pads, you name it. At some point, I'll do another post on these as well. Before that though, I want to do a write-up on the tech I use in my studio, from my Wacom tablet to my Epson printer. See ya then!