Sunday, October 6, 2019

About Supply Lists

Some of the paint supplies in my studio.

"I just brought what I had, and I hope that's OK."  I hear this now and then from my workshop students with regards to materials.

Well, it's not OK.  Painting instructors give students a supply list for a good reason.  Usually, what is being taught is a particular technique or method for which specific materials are required.  For example, as a teacher of landscape painting, I use a split-primary palette (with variations) that enables me to record color temperature contrasts between light and shadow.  This is possible with a split-primary palette, which consists of a warm and a cool version of the three primaries.  If you just bring a red, yellow and blue, the task is harder, especially for beginners.

Even if you're an experienced or advanced painter, you'll want to learn something from the workshop.  If you've been playing with the Zorn palette (yellow ochre, vermilion and ivory black) and feel you haven't exhausted its possibilities, I recommend you put that aside and try my way for the duration of the workshop.  You can always go back to it afterward.
Would you like to take a workshop with me?  For schedules and details, visit
If you don't have exactly what I list but are close—and I always suggest you consult with me first on your options—you'll still be able to practice and learn.  Taking again the split-primary palette as an example, if you have Hansa yellow light instead of cadmium yellow light, you'll be fine.  Or if you'd rather use, say, paint from Gamblin's 1980 Oil Color series, which is cheaper than their Artist Grade line, that's fine, too.  But if you have any doubt, please ask.

On the other hand, if it's not a workshop but a painting retreat, then what I offer is a list of suggested supplies.  The retreat is about getting some quality painting time with your favorite medium in a special place—or about playing with a new medium or technique if you wish.  (It's also about learning from each other and renewing old friendships and making new ones, but that's another blog post.)  If you'd like to try any items that are new to you on the suggested list, I'll be happy to work with you on that at the retreat.

In my next couple of posts, I'll offer supply lists for oil and pastel and go into a detailed explanation of why I suggest what I do.


Anonymous said...

I would love to take a workshop with you but a bit of a commute from Australia! I always found lists of things to bring to a workshop exciting. At the end of the day it is a test of just how interested in learning someone is if they bring the listed items and of how exciting it is to have like minded people in a group. Am impressed with your patience (which I don't possess.)

Michael Chesley Johnson, Artist / Writer said...

I figure if people don't pay attention to the supply list, they are wasting their money on the workshop.