SUGGESTED MATERIALS FOR MY WORKSHOPS
I tell folks attending my workshops to focus on two things: brushes and surface. These two things, more than any other material choices, most greatly affect how the finished painting looks.
For brushes, I suggest a stiffer brush like the DaVinci Maestro2 Bristles and less stiff (or middle-stiffness) brush like the Rosemary Master Series. Any other brands or types of brush are fine so long as they generally fulfill these two stiffness requirements. Also for brushes, I do suggest at least a few small, delicate brushes, like Rosemary Master Series 279 in sizes 0-3, or Rosemary Master Series Liners sizes 3/0-2. It’s difficult if not impossible to paint delicate things (like tree branches) without a delicate brush. Again, any brand is fine.
For surface, a reasonably smooth surface is ideal, preferably portrait grade canvas of some kind, or a gessoed panel with no more than a slight to moderate texture. Thin washes and initial applications of thin paint are important in my work and these just do not look right on cheap acrylic canvas from the local arts and craft store. For canvas sizes I recommend no smaller than 8x10 and no larger than 16x20; nothing too small, it’s actually better to have a little room to spread out on the canvas, even if just a little.
For paint the only thing I truly recommend is to make sure to have a fully transparent warm dark, like Transparent Oxide Red. The various Raw and Burnt earth colors just do not produce truly rich and transparent darks. Otherwise the most important thing about paint is to make sure you are comfortable wasting vast amounts of it. If that means using Student Grade paints then use them.
For medium, I use a variation on the Meyer medium, generally substituting Gamsol and Galkyd for Turpentine and Damar Varnish. The real beauty of this medium is its ability to “set up” on the canvas and allow for layering. I use it to keep darks thin, for long luscious strokes of paint, and for drips and splatters…so it is a fairly important part of my process.
For solvent, using pure Turpentine outside is important for me as it allows initial washes to set up very quickly, but it is not strictly necessary and I appreciate folks may not want to use it because of its significant toxicity.