Rebecca Z’s Supply List for Travel and Painting on Location:

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If you’re coming with me on an Art Adventure, then this list can help you begin to anticipate our trip!  It will be a chance to combine the inspiration of travel with your creativity!  Letting the beauty of your surroundings flow into your art is one of my favorite things to do.  After many visits to Italy, I have found quite a few favorite spots to paint and draw.  When I bring a group, I usually have prints of my sketches available on Arches watercolor paper for you to paint.  I bring these for students to use if they wish.  I also bring photographic references from past visits.  I make both available to you in order to speed up your process of painting.  In my experience, drawing can be the thing that really slows down my student’s ability to get paint on the paper.  Using my sketches can sometimes help you get over the drawing and get right to the painting, but doing your own drawing is always an option.

If working in Watercolor:

  • Arches Watercolor block or ¼ sheets of Arches watercolor paper (I highly recommend this paper or one of these watercolor journals:  Moleskin watercolor journals Order 8.5 x 11 size Moleskine watercolor journal here or Aquabee Super Deluxe Spiral Watercolor journal (Order Aquabee Superdeluxe Watercolor Sketchbook from Dick Blick here
  • a firm, flat support if you plan to paint on location using loose paper or loose canvas. (I like using a piece of foam core board covered with clear packing tape to make it waterproof as described in the picture below.)
  • Do-It-Urselfers can try this portable folio for paper or unstretched canvas (an idea from my friend Karlyn Holman): Cut 2 pieces offoam corea bit larger than your ¼ sheet of paper…about 12X16 or 12.5 X 16.6. Cover with plastic shelf liner (Contac Paper) or with Clear plastic packing tape to make them waterproof. Create straps from velcro tape to hold the two pieces of foam core together and form a carrying case for your loose sheets of watercolor paper. I cover the sticky backs of the velcro tape with fabric.
  • Small Sketchpad for notes These are my favorites 5×8 or 3.5 x 5.5 Moleskine
  • Clips to keep your paper/canvas from blowing away
  • Wide roll of tan masking tape or clear packing tape
  • Pencil with kneaded eraser
  • Salt in a plastic ziploc bag or Rx bottle
  • Watercolors in a small palette. I like folding palettes for travel. I use artist quality tube watercolors to keep the paint moist, but pan colors can avoid mess and are less likely to flow while moving. I travel with my palette in a ziploc bag. (I love this portable palette, which is sold empty or filled with great colors of paint at THIS LINK) You could also make a palette out of an Altoid container and Trident gum packaging. As shown here:
    use these materials to create a tiny palette for yourself

    use these materials to                                               create a tiny palette for yourself





  • Watercolor paints.  As a minimum, I recommend you bringing at least 3 reds (Permanent Rose, Permanent Alizarin Crimson and Scarlet Lake), 3 blues (Cobalt and Antwerp and Manganese), 3 yellows (Winsor Yellow, Quinacridone Gold, Raw Sienna), A Burnt sienna type orange and Permanent Magenta. I use professional quality artist colors.  Avoid student grade pigments.  These are the colors currently on my palette:  (W/N= Winsor Newton Brand  DS= Daniel Smith brand HWC= Holbein AJ= American Journey from Cheap Joe’s)
    • Reds:  WN Scarlet Lake, W/N Winsor Red (opaque), W/N Permanent Alizarin Crimson, AJ or W/N Permanent Rose, AJ Perylene Maroon, Opera Pink
    • Violets:  AJ Permanent Magenta, AJ Periwinkle-opaque, AJ Janet’s Violet Rose, DS Cobalt Blue Violet
    • Blues: W/N Indigo, W/N Ultramarine Blue, HWC Cobalt Blue, AJ Sky Blue, W/N Manganese Blue, W/N Cerulean Blue, W/N Antwerp Blue, W/N or DS Cobalt Teal
    • Greens:  AJ Skips Green, HWC Leaf Green, W/N Phthalo Green, W/N Hookers Green Light
    • Yellows: W/N Winsor Yellow, W/N New Gamboge, DS Quinacridone Gold, DS Quinacridone Sienna, W/N Raw Sienna, W/N Winsor Yellow Deep, W/N Naples Yellow-opaque
    • Oranges: W/N Cadmium Orange- opaque, W/N Vermillion, DS Quinacridone Coral,
  • Water-soluble crayons can be substituted for watercolors. You can lift the pigment from the crayon with a wet brush to paint and they can be fun to use in conjunction with acrylics.  I like Caran D’arche or Pebeo Stabilo brand.
  • Water-soluble pencils can be fun to use, but I generally reserve them more for special effects (which I’ll be glad to show you 😉
  • Speedball Elegant Writer calligraphy markers in black or brown (order elegant writer online from JoAnn Fabrics here, water-soluble Tombow markers (in gray N 75, N 79 or burnt sienna 967) can be great for pen and wash or sketching order Tombow pens from JoAnn Fabrics here
  • Permanent markers can also make a nice combination with watercolor. I suggest a very fine point archival variety like Micron Pigma 05 in black or sepia. A nib of around .4-.45 is my favorite. No sharpies. Order Micron .05 pens from JoAnn Fabrics here
  • Container to carry water: Collapsible bowls work well.
  • Something to hold water for painting: water bags are my favorite, but a plastic water bottle can be used.
    • As an alternative, you can use a “water brush”- a brush with a water reservoir in the handle. This way you don’t really need a water container. Any brand is fine.  purchase a water brush via  purchase a water brush via THIS LINK
  • Rag towel, Kleenex (my favorite) or paper towel for water control.
  • optional folding chair
    • I love having a lightweight chair for sitting while painting. I find it very helpful for working on location. GCI Outdoor has a sturdy chair that folds up to a small size that weighs only 26 ounces and is priced at around $20 on Amazon. Here is the link GCI Outdoor Packseat purchase on Amazon with this link. Or go to THIS LINK for the GCI Outdoor Pack Seat or call 800-956-SEAT (7328).
  • Hat, umbrella and/or shirt for sun protection
  • Bug spray and sunscreen
  • Camera, extra SD card, Ipad or tablet (These can help you with composition on location.) SD card reader or adaptor for quick transferring of photos from your camera to your iPad or tablet.
  • Lightweight backpack (I use one on wheels.) Click this Link to Amazon for Backpacks which I use
  • Instead of a backpack (which can be loud while dragging along stone streets) you may be interested in this collapsible lightweight cart with larger (quieter) wheels.  I will be bringing mine with me this year. Order Collapsible Miles Kimball carry-all cart here;
  • If you’re shy and do not want to speak to people on the street as you paint, I recommend a set of ear buds.  People are much less likely to engage you if it looks like you are listening to music.

If working in Acrylic or Oils (Please- bring water-soluble oils only.  No solvents.)

Note from Rebecca:  I love acrylics and enjoy oils, but prefer watercolor while on the road.  I will be instructing in Watercolor, but will make an effort to assist you in your use of other mediums as time allows. I will bring mixed media materials to play with in conjunction with our watercolors, but for those of you who are die-hard acrylic or oil painters, this is what I’d suggest.

  • Wrapped canvas (both acrylic and oil) or Canvas cut into flat pieces with hard surface to work on – if working in acrylic this can be a space saver.  I’d not recommend this for oil painters
  • portable easel (optional) but I’d just plan on using the portable folio I describe above.
  • making tape
  • palette
  • Oils/Acrylic paints of your choosing
  • Brushes
  • Easel
  • Mediums to slow the drying time of acrylics
  • Rags
  • Palette
  • Water container/Water
  • Soap to clean brushes
  • Oil painters- bring Plastic trash bags (one for every painting you plan to do) Masking tape, and a box of plastic push pins (at least 4 pins for every painting you plan to do).
  • If you plan to paint in oil, then drying prior to flying home is an issue.  Plan on working on small stretched canvas and bringing an extra stretched canvas for every painting you plan to do.  That way you can protect the wet painting as you travel home.  (I’ll be glad to show you how)