What supplies do I need to bring with me?

Bring the following materials

Here is a list of painting equipment to bring:

Note on plane travel:
There is no problem bringing any of these materials on the plane, except turpentine (see note at the bottom on this). If you are asked about the colors, always refer to them as oil colors (do not refer to them as paint). Then you will have no problem. Bring a copy of the Material Safety Data Sheet for any materials you bring on the plane and keep it with the materials.

Colors to bring
You only need one small tube of each color, but two big tubes of white.
  • Cadmium lemon or cadmium yellow light
  • Cadmium red light
  • Alizarin crimson
  • Ultramarine blue
  • Dioxazine Purple
  • Cerulean blue or Phthalo Blue
  • Viridian green
  • Black
  • Burnt Umber
  • Titanium white (oil, acrylic, or alkyd).

Medium and thinner bottles
Two thin 100ml plastic bottles for carrying medium and paint thinner, two small pots to put the medium and paint thinner in.

Cleaning brushes
You cannot take mineral spirits or turpentine on a plane and it is difficult to get the odorless type here in Italy near my studio. Here are two suggestions:

  • If you live in the US buy some Brush Flush since it is safe to bring on the plane and is great for cleaning brushes.
  • Use cooking oil or olive oil for cleaning brushes. I should have some cooking oil for you - if not it is available in any local store. 
  • Gamsol has a flash point above the minimum level allowed by the airlines (check the Gamsol data sheet).
If you paints are stiff, bring a small bottle of linseed oil, or some oil painting medium to thin them. If you bring a medium that has thinners in it, read this notice from the US Federal Aviation Authority and check the safety data sheet to see if you can carry it on the plane.

Some alternatives (but check the safety data sheet first) are:
  • Liquin
  • Better still, Archival Lean Medium (I just learned about this product and have not personally used it yet, but it comes recommended)
Oil painters: alkyd white
Oil painters can use alkyd white instead of titanium white to make painting dry quicker if you don't have a drying box. You can also bring an alkyd quick drying medium if you want to take paintings home.

Water- based oil paint
You can also use water-based oil paints (from Winsor & Newton), which are easier to clean up, but still take the same amount of time to dry. Don't worry about that though, because the idea is to learn, not to create a finished painting so it doesn't matter if you scrape the painting off afterwards.

Acrylics and watercolors
Acrylics are more difficult to use than oils outdoors because they dry so quickly, but they are okay if you are used to them. You can also use watercolors.

Paper towels and trash bags
There is a local shop in Licciana that should have towels that you can buy when you get here. 
Bring a roll of trash (rubbish) bags for your paper towels.

Brushes to bring

Natural bristle (hogs hair for oils or acrylics). Use a mix of filbert and flats (not brights). Filberts and flats have long bristles. Brights on the other had have short bristles. I do not have any particular brand that I recommend, but check they have strong ferrules. Bring brushes in the following width of the bristles (size indicated is approximate as different brands have different widths). You can bring more if you wish.
  • one brush 0.7 cm wide (size 3)
  • two brushes 1.0 cm wide (size 5)
  • two brushes 1.5 cm wide (size 8)
  • two brushes 2-2.5 cm wide (size 10-12)
For watercolors bring a large brush, middle size and a small brush.

  • a viewfinder (a piece of card with a 2” by 1.5” rectangular hole cut in it)
  • notebook & pen or pencil for making notes
Notan Studies
  • Tombow brush pens N65 ( a middle value cool gray 5), Tombow N75 (a light value cool gray 3), and Tombow N15 (a pure black), or Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen B232 (a middle value cool gray 5), Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen B272 (a light value cool gray 3), Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen B199 (a pure black). The light gray pens are optional, we generally only use the middle value pens for beginner students.
  • Strathmore Drawing 400 Series medium 80lb 4”X 6” sketchbook.
 Photographs and handouts
  1. Bring a photograph (paper form) of two to six of your paintings to share on the first day. For each painting, bring both a color photograph and a black and white photograph. (If you have not painted much before, you do not need to bring any photos).
  2. I suggest you also bring a print out of Process Unit 1 - Alla Prima Painting or Process Unit 2 - Watercolor Step-by-Step. This will be a useful checklist for later on in the week.  It is in part of the first year Apprentice Program curriculum, in Workshop D part 3. If you get a message saying you have not yet reached that workshop, just accelerate your program to Workshop D part 3.
Panels to bring

Loose pieces of linen or canvas is the most portable and lightweight. Bring a board and some masking tape so you can tape the canvas to the board. You can pre-cut some of the canvas to the following sizes:
  • morning painting sessions: three small painting surfaces for each morning of the workshop 6"x8 (15X20cm), 8X10" (20X25cm) , or 9x12" (23X30cm) (see the course unit on Getting Organized Outdoors for details of how to make lightweight painting surfaces)
  • (afternoon painting sessions) you may stick with one or two of the same sized panels as the morning sessions, or use one or two additional medium sized panels in the afternoon: either 11x14" (28X36cm), or 12x16" (30X40cm)
Alternatively bring
Twelve 11”x14” gatorboard or thin mdf boards to tape your linen to, and cut the linen so you can tape it to the board. You can then use masking tape to reduce the size to whatever size you are painting.

Masking tape
A roll of masking tape to attach your linen to the board or to reduce the size of panel you are painting on.

Drying box
Bring a lightweight system for carrying wet paintings. Recommended is 6 Panel Paks for carrying your boards with your wet paintings or similar. See the VAA website for more details.


Anything you can work outside with comfortably that is not too heavy yet will not blow away in the wind.
  • easel, or tripod and pochade. Avoid the tripod easels that force you to hold your palette in your hand. These are no good!
  • palette (the larger the palette the better)
Note: For the workshops I run from my studio in Italy I have a very limited number of easels available for rent for 35 euros for the week. This is to save you bringing your own on the plane. Please let me know if you want me to reserve you one.  But please bring your own palette and clamps (see next section)

The most important thing for students is to make sure you have a large palette, a palette as large as 18in x 24in, 45cm x 60cm is best. The most common problems that beginners have with their equipment when painting outdoors is a poor arrangement for fixing the palette to the easel. Make sure you solve this problem before you come to the workshop. You need to bring adequate clamps so the palette does not blow away if there is any wind. It is best if you do not bring a system that requires you to hold the palette in your hand with one hand, and a brush in the other. It will be difficult to paint freely in this way.

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