[Note: As you put together your supplies and equipment to paint outdoors, think lightweight and portable, find creative ways to simplify everything you carry with you on a painting trip.]

Watercolor Palette

Empty Metal Watercolor holding 24 Half Pans or 12 Full Pans (preferably Daniel Smith 12 Full Pan Watercolor Travel Box, Empty). Bring your watercolor set or buy one of these:

Watercolor Pigments

  • Winsor & Newton Full-Size Pans, Half-Size Pans, or 5ml Tubes | purchase
Warm Colors:
  • Cadmium Red
  • Cadmium Yellow
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Raw Sienna
  • Permanent Rose
  • Chromium Oxide Green
  • Raw Umber
Cool Colors:
  • Winsor Blue Green Shade
  • Winsor Blue Red Shade
  • Hookers Green
  • Paynes Grey
  • Winsor Violet
  • Chinese or Titanium White
Mixing Complements:*
  • Ultramarine Blue or Winsor Blue Red Shade —mix with— Cadmium Red or Burnt Sienna
  • Chromium Oxide Green or Hookers Green —mix with— Permanent Rose or Burnt Sienna
  • Chromium Oxide Green or Hookers Green —mix with— Winsor Violet
  • Paynes Grey —mix with— Permanent Rose or Cadmium Red or Winsor Violet
  • Winsor Violet —mix with— Cadmium Yellow or Raw Sienna
More Complex Mixtures:*
  • Ultramarine Blue —mix with— Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber
  • Winsor Blue Green Shade —mix with— Raw Sienna, Cadmium Red, Raw Umber
  • Winsor Red Green Shade —mix with— Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber

* These combinations provide perfect grays and green, violet or neutrals, and provide various contrasts. I can choose among a very wide range of neutral mixtures by thinking in terms of these warm/cool parings.


What you will need is a 1” Flat, #2, #6, #8 Rounds Sable or Synthetic Artists Watercolor Brushes. Here are some options:

Brush Holder

A simple canvas brush roll, which absorbs any excess water in the brushes and bundles them firmly without pinching the tuft hairs (as with the bamboo roll carriers).


6 x 9,” 6 x 12,” 9 x 12,” 10 x 14,” or 12 x 16” Cold-Pressed Pads (preferably Arches Blocks)


Boards cut several inches larger than paper size (if you don’t buy Arches Board) to tape the paper on.

Tote Bag

A tote bag, flat and rectangular in shape and same dimensions as a laptop computer bag (roughly 14 x 12 x 4” when packed), available from many art/photo/bag retailers.

Drawing for Compositional Studies

Small Sketchbook

A sketchbook can be as small as 4 x 6.” Here are some options:

Necessary Accessories

  • White Plastic or Metal Butchers Tray 7½ x 11” | purchase
  • Small Misting Bottle | purchase
  • Nichiban Tape 2” wide | purchase | purchase
    Artist Tape (white) | purchase
  • Paper Towels | purchase
  • Knitting Needle or Straight Skewer | purchase
  • View-finder: Make one of cardboard. Make two “L” shapes, about 7”-8” on the leg and 1½” wide. Hold together with binder clips.
    —or purchase—
    View Catcher | purchase
  • Hat with Brim

Optional Accessories

I bring an umbrella, chair, and a mahl stick in most of my plein air outings. Umbrella (I have one that clamps onto the side of my easel):
Chair or stool (folding) — If you want to sit while you paint: