John Helms Gallery - watercolor painting class supplies

Adult Beginning Watercolor Class

Instructor: John Helms

Watercolor Supplies List

You may want to print out this page for reference before buying your supplies.

( Links to Oil and Acrylic Class Supplies List pages are at the bottom of this page.)



Do NOT buy a cheap “starter paint set” such as "Reeves brand" - cheap paints are contaminated with sediments and are a waste of money  - like anything else, the better quality paints and brushes may cost more, but are better quality and last longer. I recommend the smallest tubes of Winsor and Newton paint, until I can find another brand that's of good quality, but not so expensive.


  1. Sap Green       
  2. Cadmium Yellow Pale
  3. Cadmium Yellow Medium
  4. Yellow Ochre
  5. Naples Yellow
  6. Burnt Sienna 
  7. Burnt Umber
  8. French Ultramarine Blue
  9. Cerulean Blue
  10. Alizarin Crimson
  11. Cadmium Red Medium
  12. Payne’s Gray



  1. 1” Flat Watercolor Brush ( Do not buy a cheap set of brushes, because the hair will fall out ).
  2. 1/2” Flat Watercolor Brush  
  3. 1/4 “Flat Watercolor Brush  
  4. 3” Broad Flat Brush for Painting Sky - they are generally called "Hake" brushes and can only be found at a few quality art supply stores.
  5. Numbers 2 - 8, ( a small one for detail and a medium one) and 10 Round Brushes. There is also an inexpensive assortment of small brushes  wrapped in black canvas in a round plastic tube. It sells for under $10.00 at Michaels and is a good buy for the money.
  6. Number 5 Rigger / Liner Brush Brush ( a long, thin brush for painting branches of trees and grass). 


Watercolor Paper

11x15” Strathmore 140lb Cold Pressed Watercolor Pad - the yellow one without the spirals.

( on the fine-art isle with all the artist drawing and watercolor pads, etc. )  


Watercolor Painting Surface:

( You can find these items at Home Depot or Lowe’s Warehouse. )

  1. A piece of ˝ " thick 2x2Ft.Plywood (smooth on one side) to staple watercolor paper on.   .
  2. A cheap screen door handle & screws - to carry board with –attach it to edge of the longest side in the center of the board.


Miscellaneous Items:

  1. Ebony drawing pencil. (on Graphic Arts isle at Hobby Lobby and Michaels). 
  2. Pencil sharpener or small mat knife.
  3. Kneaded Eraser  ( Gray in color and flat. )
  4. Large palette with paint wells that has a cover on it to keep watercolors from drying out

             ( Sherri’s Discount Art Store iand The Art Center have this type of palette.- around $10.00 )

  1. Sponges – the flat cellulose kind ( you can buy a bag of them for $1.00 at Family Dollar Stores).
  2. A large water container or small bucket. ( $1.00 )
  3. Paper towels –“Viva” is a good absorbent towel. 
  4. Masking tape – sold everywhere. $2.00ea.
  5. Small Pump or Trigger spray bottle - make sure it sprays a fine mist. $1.29ea.
  6. Light-Duty Staple Gun & Staples. ( $5.00ea.and up )
  7. Art, Fishing Tackle, or Tool Box with carrying handle for paints, brushes and misc. supplies. ( $5.00ea and up )
  8. Small Size Color Wheel – usually on paint isle in arts and craft stores. ( $3.99ea ).


Art Supplies and Student Discounts: Since art supplies are so expensive buy them wherever you can find them on sale. My students get a modest discount off their art supplies at some art supply stores if you show them your art supplies list. Ask the cashier if there is a student discount. Other sources for buying art supplies is ,,,  - They will also mail you a free catalogue if you ask for it.


Recommended Artist Forums on the Internet:  This is by far the largest international forum on the internet for artists. There are many channels on many categories to choose from and in each of these channels are many, many  forums chock full with good information and good artists to learn from. Any artist on any level of experience can benefit from these forums.

Click Here to go to Acrylic Class Supplies

Click Here to go to Oil Class Supplies

Click Here to go to Pics of Art Supplies Page

Click Here to go to Painting Class Info.



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Last modified: 04/07/10