My supplies list

Kay Barnes Workshop/Class Supply List

The following is a recommended list of materials, not requirements.

These recommendations are made based on years of experience with art supplies. If you need to substitute, call me first so I can counsel you so you don’t buy things and waste money or require a return trip to the store to get the correct supplies.

This is provided in response to requests from several attendees who don’t already have the basic materials. If you have been working in watercolor you certainly can bring your materials and I’ll evaluate and help you with any new choices.

1. I recommend a large covered palette – Sta-Wet Pro-palette is what I’m currently using, and I love it! John Pike or Robert E. Wood palettes are also quite good.

2. If you are just beginning and plan to paint a modest size image, a board size of 12 x 16″ for 1/4 sheet of paper, or a 16 x 23 for a ½ sheet of paper will be useful. The board helps support the paper when wet and we can staple right into it to stretch it and keep it flat. It might be wise to have more than one, (Gator board, 1/2″ thick is all I use.) Avoid Masonite. You can’t staple into it and it has acids in it that may leach into the paper.

3. Always use professional quality (100% rag, acid free, and pH neutral) paper. I prefer Arches 140 lb.cold pressed, particularly for beginners because it will take a beating. You can also change your image on that paper and other papers are not that forgiving (please do not buy the watercolor blocks – the texture is different).

4. You will need a few nice brushes. Natural hair brushes such as Kolinski Sable are excellent tools for the watercolorist. There are also some very fine synthetics that perform well.

I have a new product line of fine watercolor sable and synthetic brushes that are available when you come to my studio for class. These brushes are soon to be available on my web site as well.

I can also recommend Robert Simmons brushes (White Sable) as they perform well and are cost effective. For a bit more money, look for a natural/synthetic blend.
Recommended basic brushes:
1″ flat Sky Scraper #755 Robert Simmons white sable (I have these for sale.)
#4, #8, #12 round brushes, and #4 flat scrubbers I have these for sale in studio.
( or for mail order supplies)

Optional: 1 1/2″ or 2″ flat wash brushes White Sable #278W Robert Simmons is
excellent.( I also have 1 ½”Rosemary flat wash brush for sale.)
Brushes may be synthetic, blends, or sables – buy the best you can afford.

5. A natural cosmetic sponge or an elephant ear sponge.

6. Other necessary items: #2 HB pencil, water container and spray bottle (I use a small adjustable nozzle bottle), a fine mister bottle, 1 kneaded eraser and a 2 oz. plastic squeeze bottle with a plastic tip for applying masking fluid.

7. Additional helpful tools are: Winsor Newton colorless masking fluid (there are other brands but this is the only one I trust) and rubber cement pickup (to remove masking fluid).
This you may use later and wait to purchase then. Miscellaneous tools you will also want to bring include white facial tissues (without fragrance or additives) and paper towels, and a plastic water container 1 qt. or larger.

8. Buy professional quality paints! They are better value in the long run because you’ll use less and get better results. A lot depends on the particular color because manufacturer’s colors will vary somewhat and you will need to experiment a bit to see which you prefer. But for starting out, you should have a “warm” and a “cool” color from each of the primary colors, plus a few “supplemental” colors.

Here’s a list of some of the colors on my own palette as a guide. You will develop your own palette based on your own personal preference as you learn.

Buying art supplies on line is also a very wise choice if you are not in a hurry. Delivery is usually ten days /two weeks unless expedited. My favorite websites are and AKA (

My palette changes as I explore more options. Here’s my updated palette for 2015:

Add your own favorites and leave room for exploration of new ones!

Green Gold

Manganese blue hue

Burnt Sienna

(DS) Quinacridone Burnt Orange

Sap Green

Quinacridone Magenta

Prussian blue

Nickel Azo Yellow

Green gold

French Ultramarine Blue

Cerulean Blue

Quin Violet

Raw Sienna

New Gamboge

Pthalo Blue

Pthalo Turquoise

Winsor yellow

Winsor red

Quinacridone Red

Antwerp Blue (WN)

Quinacridone Burnt Scarlet

Cobalt Blue

Quinacridone Gold

Quinacridone Rose

Let’s get those brushes dancing!!!