Watercolour Materials

Learning to paint with watercolours is a beautiful and exciting adventure…

Watercolour is the most beautiful and unique art medium I have ever used ~ I love it. For me there is nothing that can rival it. I just love the colours and how they mix so effortlessly with water on beautiful watercolour paper…

Here is a brief summary of the watercolour materials I currently prefer use…

Paint:   The watercolour paints I mostly use are by Daniel Smith and Winsor & Newton. Daniel Smith watercolours are superb professional quality paints and the colours are just stunning. I love colour ~ I always have and always will. So for me having a wide range of gorgeous colours to choose from is important and Daniel Smith’s range of colours are very hard to beat. Plus they have a range of very unique, beautiful colours that you will not find anywhere else.

Daniel Smith Watercolours
A few of my Daniel Smith Watercolours ~ clockwise from the yellow shade, the colours are: Raw Sienna Light, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red Medium Hue, Carbazole Violet, French Ultramarine, Phthalo Blue Green Shade, Manganese Blue Hue, Prussian Green, Paynes Blue Gray and Buff Titanium

I also love Winsor and Newton artist quality paints too ~ they are lovely paints to use. Living in the UK, these are the most widely available watercolour paints in local high street art shops, so I’ve realized it’s a good idea for me to be familiar with them. However, there are so many different brands of wonderful professional quality watercolours out there that I do believe it’s good to experiment with different brands and try new colours when the opportunity presents itself.

Three beautiful Winsor & Newton colours – Indian Yellow, Winsor Blue Red Shade and Permanent Rose

When starting out in watercolour painting beginners are often advised to limit their palette to begin with ~ this is advice I’ve completely ignored from the start and never regretted it. Colour is beautiful and exciting. The range of colours available to the watercolourist today are just phenomenal – my advice is exploit it and use it to the full; have the most fun ever experimenting with gorgeous colours and create stunning art work with the unique and stunningly beautiful medium of watercolour…

Paper:   I like to paint on 100% cotton watercolour paper of at least 140 lb/300 gsm thickness or thicker. I mostly use Rough paper (I love the texture) and sometimes NOT (cold pressed) paper. My absoloute favourite watercolour paper so far is Arches Aquarelle; I love the texture of the Arches Aquarelle Rough and watercolours retain much of their saturation when the pigments have dried. I also enjoy using Fabriano Artistico Extra White Rough.

I don’t recommend buying cheap watercolour paper – in my experience my painting results are distinctly inferior when I use them and they are false economy. 

I don’t ever stretch paper… !! 

Arches ~ beautiful watercolour paper to paint on…

Brushes:   I love using Kolinsky Sable brushes. I have noticed a significant improvement in my painting since I started using them. Yes, they are a bit expensive but if you’re serious about watercolour (and I am…) they are worth the investment. I also love using Silver Black Velvet brushes; they are a mix of squirrel and synthetic and very lovely to use.

Kolinsky sable watercolour brushes

Palettes:   At home I use an assortment of different palettes for my watercolours. I use ceramic, enamel and plastic palettes and also white plates. When I’m travelling I have a few small plastic palettes I use which fit easily into my art bag.

Sundry Items:   I use a spray bottle (for spraying water), salt (for creating texture), a sea sponge (for creating texture), paper towel/kitchen roll, white wax (for wax resist techniques), Scotch Magic Tape (for taping my paper to the board), a putty eraser and a Derwent mechanical pencil for sketching minimal outlines. 

These are my current watercolour materials. I hope you’ll find this information useful, especially if you are just starting out on your watercolour journey or maybe thinking about it…

Happy painting…

Evelyn