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Option 1:

If you prefer, you can order a “Beginner’s Kit” from me for $55 (about 15% off the cost of buying it all yourself), which includes:

12 sheets  (about 9x12”) of Arches or Fabriano top-quality paper
half a tube of each of ten watercolor paints
a portable folding palette
six good-quality Princeton brand brushes

Be sure to order a kit if you need one. You can pay for the kit along with the class, via PayPal (see the Sign-Up page) or you can pay for it in cash at the first class.
PLEASE NOTE that you can't run out of paint during class -- refills are included. (Other necessary supplies, which you doubtless already own, are listed below.)

You *may* want to purchase more paper ($14 per pad) as the class progresses, but most students find this kit is enough to last through six weeks.

Option 2:

If you prefer to buy your own materials, please refer to the list below. It may look overwhelming at first, but one visit to an art store (or half an hour online) will take care of everything you need. Detailed information about materials and art stores follow.

SHOPPING LIST: If you buy your own supplies, copy this list, print it out, and show it to the clerk.

 PAPER: Buy ONE of the following:

1. One PAD of Arches paper 9x12” or larger. It has a black and green cover. Be sure to get COLD PRESSED paper. Available online, and at Utrecht and New York Central Art Supply, for about $16-17; highly recommended. You can always buy a pad from me in the studio for $14.

2. OR:  3 sheets of ARCHES or FABRIANO brand watercolor paper, each 30 x 22” or larger (about $5 to $7 per sheet). Ask for sheets of  "140-pound, cold press paper"

3.  OR:  one BLOCK of Arches paper, at least 8x10” (beware: blocks are WAY more expensive than pads, hard to use, and not recommended).

**ABSOLUTELY DO NOT** buy "student" or "studio" Strathmore, Canson, Montvale, or Fabriano pads, or any other cheaper pad that says “ideal for students” -- they're not! You'll be wasting your money and buying a lot of grief. Trust me -- quality is a must here, and worth the price.

Ask the art store clerk to pick two decent synthetic brushes for you. Utrecht and Princeton are good, inexpensive brands. Cost runs $5 to $15.    
  • A 1-inch  OR  three-quarter-inch wide flat brush
  • A round (pointed) brush (#10 12, or 14; the bristles should be at least 1.25" to 1.5" long)
  • Utrecht's own brand has a great kit of 4 watercolor brushes, including a flat with a Lucite handle. Ask the clerk.

  • a small #6 or #5 round pointed brush for details
  • a 2" or 3" wide hake (pronounced “hockey”) brush for washes
  • a thin “rigger” or "liner" brush
These student-grade paints are inexpensive, mostly $3-$4 per tube, but very good quality:

Van Gogh - sold at Dick Blick stores, Bond St. and 6th Ave.
Cotman (Winsor & Newton student grade) - most stores
Grumbacher Academy - check online first

If you care to spend more, the professional-grade paints offer similar colors and characteristics, but with improved lightfastness, intensity, and overall quality. Recommeded brands are:
  • Winsor & Newton, available everywhere
  • Utrecht brand  (only at Utrecht stores or utrecht.com)
  • Daniel Smith (available online from  www.danielsmith.com) 
  • M. Graham brand, at Dick Blick Art Supplies
  • Maimeri Blu brand, available at Dick Blick
Student Grade,
on a budget:
 W&N Cotman,
Grumbacher Academy

Professional but affordable:
M. Graham, Utrecht,
Maimeri Blu
Professional Grade,
most expensive:
Winsor & Newton
and the Daniel Smith brands  

"Lemon Yellow" or "Azo Yellow Light"  Van Gogh or Utrecht brand
Lemon Yellow or "Winsor Yellow"
 Indian Yellow also known as... "New Gamboge" 
Permanent Red Light
  Van Gogh
Similar colors are available in all paints: Winsor Red
"Quinacridone Rose"
 Van Gogh brand
All are top quality at a more reasonable price than W&N. "Permanent Rose"  
M. Graham or
Winsor & Newton
"Ultramarine Blue" 
M. Graham brand is only at Dick Blick art supply, Bond St. off Bway.  "Ultramarine Blue" Winsor&Newton
 "Prussian Blue"
Van Gogh
 "Prussian Blue"
Winsor & Newton
“Sap Green” 
any brand
“Permanent Sap Green” 
Below are three
"earth colors":
“Burnt Umber”   Van Gogh or W&N Cotman Utrecht brand paints are only in Dick Blick stores: 13th St. between Fifth and University, 23d Street westside, and Bond Street near Houston. “Burnt Umber”    Winsor&Newton
"Burnt Siena"
Van Gogh, W&N Cotman, or Utrecht
 "Burnt Siena"
“Raw Siena” Van Gogh or W&N Cotman

"Raw Siena" Winsor&Newton


Buy a small plastic palette with a hinged cover to hold your paints (mixing dishes are provided in class, but it’s handy to have a covered palette).  Small is fine; most art stores have them for $4 to $6. If you have lots of room to work at home, you might want a larger, flat palette (many tupes available at all art stores, but not essential).

At home you'll need these “NECESSARY ITEMS” on the list below. You can always borrow them from me in class as well.
They are: Paper towels and Kleenex, a pencil, a ruler, a small plastic spray bottle for water (available in the studio to borrow, or buy for $2), a few ordinary plastic supermarket bags, a "kneaded eraser," available for $1 in the studio or in any art/stationery store. And of course, your own brushes, paints, and paper.

If you get more seriously into watercolor, you may want these for later on; no need to buy them now, though.

A piece of lightweight corrugated plastic, or a piece of foamcore, or heavy-cardboard mat covered with Contac paper, cut to about  10"x13", available at art supply stores. You can tape or clip your paper to this, which will make it easier to work on wet paper later in the class. 
If you can't find this, you can buy a plastic board from me for $2. Otherwise, you can just borrow mine in class.

White artist tape to tape your paper to the board (about $5-7 a roll, depending on width). The adhesive will not harm your paper, and it's re-usable over and over again. EASIER: buy "bulldog clips" to clip your paper to the board. Again, this is for later, and I can lend you all these things in class.

No need to read further. But if you're interested, here are some useful details about watercolor supplies...


This is your single most important item. Please buy ARCHES brand only! (properly pronounced “Arsh”, but everone says "arches") Buy the "140-pound, cold-press sheets". One 30" x 22" sheet can be cut into quarters or sixths or eighths.

Please bring at least one full sheet, cut into smaller pieces like eighths or sixths, to the first class. Protect them flat in a stiff folder, or carry them in a large magazine.

OR, you can buy Arches paper in pads or blocks if you prefer, at least 9”x12”. Note that PADS are much less expensive than BLOCKS. You can always buy the pads from me, for $13-15 each (depending on how the Euro is doing).

NOTE: Never, NEVER, NEVER buy cheaper Canson, Strathmore, Fabriano, or Montvale “ideal for students” padsthey will doom you to failure and frustration. Trust me on this. Top-quality paper is your top priority, and well worth the cost.  

Arches does not make "student-grade" paper, so you can't go wrong with it. You can buy top-quality pads of Arches for $13-15 at Utrecht and New York Central...but call first, they're often out of stock.  (See “where to shop” below) or via Internet. I always have them in the studio for purchase.

We will use about 2 sheets per class session. For homework, you can paint on paper as large as you like -- but at least 5x7”.


Please Note:  DO NOT use acrylic or oil brushes -- they are too stiff and not suitable for watercolor.

Try to buy your brushes in person. Ask a knowledgeable art store clerk to pick two decent quality student grade watercolor brushes for you. Expect to spend $8 to $19 tops per brush. Princeton brand flat brushes have been disappointing, but the Utrecht brand (only at Utrecht stores) is very good. Loew-Cornell flat brushes are also good. Utrecht also sells Dynasty "Faux Squirrel" brushes, which are excellent quality at a low price.

Do not invest in costly sable brushes, even if money is no object. They are actually much more difficult for a beginner to use.


Please DO NOT buy or use a set of dry cakes of color. I’ve chosen the ten colors above for best quality and price (mostly under $4/tube). You will probably want to add a few more colors later, but these have been chosen for their superior transparency and non-staining attributes (which means you won’t end up with “mud”). 

Please AVOID "Reeves" brand paints, which is for schoolchildren.

Please note that if you purchase a Beginner's Kit,
I will refill your paints
if you run out during the 6-week class.

Good-quality student-grade paints include:
Van Gogh
Winsor & Newton Cotman,  
Grumbacher Academy.

Top-quality artist-grade paints include: 

Winsor & Newton Professional, more expensive, but the very finest.
Brand (available only at Utrecht Art Supplies and online) are inexpensive but highly rated, a real bargain. 
M. Graham brand is excellent quality and value, with intense color.
Daniel Smith paints (available at Utrecht and online at www.danielsmith.com) are highly rated overall, and less expensive than W&N...although shipping is extra.

Please be SURE you have all your supplies before class begins. Fill the wells in your palette completely with paint a few days before class, and let them dry out. NOTE: DO NOT leave
your palette in a place your cat or dog can walk through it or lick  it...paints are toxic to animals.


Note: I’ll supply you with plastic containers for holding water, plus plastic plates for mixing colors. You can also borrow all the things below. But for painting at home, it's good to have the following on hand: 

Your paints, paper, and brushes, plus...

Kleenex (generic is fine; don't use paper towels to blot your painting)

Paper towels  or a household sponge to use as a 'mop pad' to control the water in your brush. Bounty’s good, and Viva works best—it has no texture, just in case you need to blot your entire too-wet painting.

Ruler or straightedge  

Ordinary pencil, preferably one marked "H" or "HB" instead of "B"

Kneaded eraser, available in any art store and most stationery stores, is much better than others, as it leaves no eraser-bits and won't damage the paper.

A small empty spray bottle for water, available at most drugstores. If you can't find one, I have them for $2.

Plastic bags -- Several ordinary clean ones from the supermarket, to safeguard your paints and paper enroute.

 You probably have most of these around the house, or hit your 99-Cent store.

WHERE TO SHOP for watercolor supplies:

The best prices are found at Utrecht and Dick Blick, which are really the same corporation. Tubes, brushes, palettes, and sheets of Arches paper are available at almost any art supply store and some stationery stores.

Dick Blick Art Supplies
1-5 Bond Street, off Broadway just above Bleecker St. 
Phone: (212) 533-2444
Monday - Friday: 9 am- 8 pm, Saturday: 10 am-7 pm, Sunday: 11am-6pm They carry M. Graham paints and the recommended Arches pads, but call first to make sure the pads are in stock.
Dick Blick is also on Sixth Ave between 19th and 20th Street.

Former Utrecht Art Supplies, now Dick Blick
13th St. between University and Fifth Aves.  212-777-5353 
Open daily 10-7,  Sundays 10-6.

Another branch is at 237 W 23rd Street, between 7th and 8th Aves. 212-675-8699
Open daily 9-8, Saturday 10-7, Sunday 11-6.

AI Friedman on 44 W. 18 Street; tel 243-9000
excellent brush selection here, with great sales from time to time, esp. on full sheets of Arches paper.


If you'd rather shop online, try these:






Of course, note that shipping is extra, so savings may vary. Get on their email 
list, and you get further discounts and sometimes free shipping.

Daniel Smith paints are available online at www.danielsmith.com  
Their online "Triads" of 3 tubes are a great buy for $18-19 and free shipping.

Any questions?  Email me at watercolorclass@gmail.com