SOME NOTES: If you are starting stage 1 please read:

  • Jenny prefers her students to paint with Artist Quality equipment....that is paint, paper and brushes.  She believes that 'student grade' equipment will yield 'student grade' results and will often be disappointing.  While it costs more initially, it is vastly more economical and results are far superior. 

  • Please keep store receipts.   Always keep receipts as new students often make a mistake with paint or paper etc, and you will be able to return unused as new items.

  • Note the suppliers list at the bottom of the page.

  • there are many options for brushes and paint.  Please consider carefully.   The 'good' brushes can cost just a little more then the 'mediocre ones'. Read the list carefully, and just choose one brush, you don't need lots.

  • PLEASE!!!  iF IT ISN'T ON THE LIST don't buy it.   Please don't buy items sales staff give you saying 'Jenny likes that' without checking that it is ON the list.   (because Jenny likes lots of things that you won't need!!!)  Also, Please do not buy things from later Stages. We have a lot to discuss before then!! I want you to be fully informed to prevent 'mistake' purchases. 

  • Please don't be talked into alternative substitutes or buy something 'near enough'.  I prefer you get the correct item late, than wast your money.

  • If YOU ARE DOING ONLINE ZOOM CLASS - of course, paint with whatever you want. (except for the paper, which is compulsory).
    However, you will find that many cheaper paints and brushes etc, will NOT behave the way it should when you go to paint in a professional watercolour technique.






Paint brands recommended:
You can buy all your paints in Art Spectrum (from Australia) as it's great quality, and cheaper. EXCEPT FOR the two Sienna colours.  Please buy Raw and Burnt Sienna in the Winsor and Newton Brands. 
Other brands you can buy:
Winsor and Newton
Daniel Smith (except for the two sienna colours, please buy Winsor and Newton)


Colours for Stage 1: 

  • 1 x tube Cobalt Blue (genuine cobalt PB28) s4 - any brand of the above.

  • 1 x tube Aureolin (Yellow) py40 - any brand of the above.

  • 1 x tube Permanent Rose (PV19) s3 - any brand of the above.

  • 1 x tube Burnt Sienna in Winsor and Newton Brand only. 
    after the first couple of weeks we will use: 

  • 1 x tube Raw Sienna - if art spectrum, get light hue, not natural dark. see note above re Siennas. (W&N is best.)

  • 1 x tube French Ultramarine Blue. (not hue)

Paper: (for more info see Q& A below.)

  • 2 FULL sheets of Arches 300gsm Rough watercolour paper. (COMPULSORY) It's about $18 a full sheet.  These are great big sheets. 

  • A cheap sketch drawing book (cartridge paper or similar, to draw in.) A4 size

  • Optional EXTRA PURCHASE:  but a good idea as it saves your expensive paper when you're just practicing!  -  A small CHEAP student quality watercolour pad eg:  'Mont Marte brand, Cotman, Reeves,  brand or other.  This is an optional extra purchase, NOT instead of the Arches.  

Brush: - (Note - I have now rescinded my recommendation for Raphael Squirrel mops.)
instead: please
choose ONE of these:  (but If you already have a size 10 Kolinsky sable, use that!): 

  • A  natural, round SQUIRREL MOP - they are around $25- $35 -ENSURE it has a good point and it's ferrule (where the hair joins the handle) is around 7.5mm across. 
    Possible Brands available are:  (choose one only) 
    Nevskaya Palitra series 2113 Squirrel mop size 7 preferred. NO bigger. these are superb brushes.  Available from LarryPost Brookvale (order online for post, or pickup from their Brookvale warehouse outlet - LarryPost is not a shop but an outlet.) Recommended. Approx. $32.  Love this brush, lovely long hairs, spectacular point and holds so much water. Ring them or check online for stock.

  • or if you want a synthetic, the  Cindy Lane Neef Mahogany Kazan Mop (synthetic) 2013 size "00" is good.    If you prefer NON-animal hair, I I Like this Neef Mahogany Kazan  Mop  - it performs beautifully and almost exactly the same as a squirrel mop. I've tested this brush myself.  Available for Art Smart instore and on their website.  It retails for around $26.95, No bigger than the 00. (It should be around 7mm wide at the base of the hair - just incase they change their sizing system.)  
    Rosemary & Co's Series 170, size 0/0.
    LOVE the Rosemary & Co Series 170 in size  0/0  - 7.8mm ferrule (preferred) - no bigger,  (or the R9 travel squirrel - 7.4mm ferrule which is a little smaller).  You can probably get these at all the art stores and should cost around $30 (TBA)  
    And I like the Da Vinci Series 418, squirrel mop size 2, available on line, at the Art Scene, and various other places online, (at Senior   (Make sure it is a size #2 around 7.5mm across.)   These are slightly more expensive at around $32 - $39.
    Or any other brand, very pointed, very full natural squirrel mop, with a ferrule diam app 8mm.  
    - Master's Mop by Neef series 118 - another synthetic which performs quite well. size 00 should be around the right size (it should be 7-8mm at the base of the hairs. NO bigger. REtail around $20.
    -Atelier Squirrel Quill 40 series 5025S size 40 around $40 available from Sydney art store.
    -Isabey Kazan squirrel quill mop series 6234 (easily available online),
    -Jacksons Pure squirrel mop brush series 828, (online),
    -Rekab squirrel mop, -Dynasty, Renaissance, - Alvaro Castegnet -Da Vinci, -Art Spectrum and more. 
    OPTION:  If you NEED to get a cheaper brush, buy one of the Neef ones mentioned above. It needs to be a 'round' one around 7-8mm wide at the base, with a very good point, and that is nice and full and soft.  (see the pictures of the squirrel up the top? similar shape please.) Please don't buy nylon.  
    AGAIN - I do not recommend the Raphael Squirrel mop that I used to have on my list. 

  • a Painting board (this is compulsory) Minimum size of A3 but prefer a bit bigger.  NO CLIP.
     Just a flat board, or piece of GATORboard, plywood, masonite, perspex, corflute  even a painting canvas board, or similar non flexible light material that you can tape paper to.  It needs to be strong & water resistant as you will be taping your art paper on and off this board.  Best Dimensions:   approx. 45-50 x 35-40cm. Or buy one from art store.  Around $5 - $15.  Art Smart at seaforth sell great perpex. It's just the right size for 1/4 sheet, and it's so cheap!  Note, too big or heavy is hard to carry and won't fit on your table. 

  • A Palette - (this is necessary) -  Jenny uses a lidded white palette with large, deep wells and plenty of mixing space.  You can find these online and in art shops -
    Jenny likes the Australian Neef brand the best, Jenny uses the very big Neef SW4 at home.and the Neef StayWet 2 (SW2) (2wells in lid) around $29  (see pic below)  **Update, this palette seems to have just come back into stock!! (see Larry Post in Brookvale,  Senior Art, Art Shop etc, online.)  
    Another cheaper  brand, only around $16, is the Art Spectrum Colour Keeper  **HOWEVER you will need to rough up the bottom of each paint well of the latter, with sandpaper for the paint to stick in. It has a tendency to slide out when dry, AND it is a little harder to clean as the corners are square and not rounded as in the Neef. 
    By the end of term, if you are carrying on to Stg2, it would be best to buy one of these types of palettes.  If you prefer you can choose one of these options until later:  
    OPTION Either 2 x white dinner sized plates are fine, (not plastic disposable plates as they have a strange effect on the paint)  or you can buy white art palettes at $2 shops cheaper than the art shop.  (NOT an oil palette -the one with the thumb hole!)  Any cheap thing will do for the moment as long as it has plenty of mixing space, is white, and has fairly large spots for the paint.  NOTE: There is a good discussion about palettes below in Q & A, please don't bring a tiny palette. 

  • If you want a bigger, more expensive watercolour palette, go for the NEEF SW4  it has 4 wells/dents in the lid, and the paint wells are arranged around the perimeter of the palette. It should cost around $50 and will last forever.

  • PLUS:

  • A roll of regular cream masking tape (2cm wide approx.) from Bunnings, Woollies, Coles etc.  Should be nice and cheap.  NON coloured Painter's tape is ok, but more expensive and not necessary.  NOT Plastic tape.  NOT coloured.

  • A 4B pencil - not hb or 6b. 

  • An old towel, or plastic drop sheet, or plastic picnic tablecloth  to cover your table.

  • an old towelling handtowel, washer, or similar.  (this will be getting dirty!) to use as a brush wiper.  A teatowel is not good enough.  

  • Pen and note paper if desired.

  • Clean white soft eraser or a grey kneadable rubber.

  • Large Water container -  Either clear or white. A white 2L icecream container is ideal. (why white? because you can see how dirty it is.) 

  • A tilting block.  This can be:  a yoga block, a block of wood, a cardboard box...but must be a solid, level, stable item.  (not a tissue box) of the correct dimensions for leaning your board on (to make it slant). dimensions approx  approximately 12-15cm tall, 5cm wide, at least 15cm long. (it MUST BE wide enough to stand on it's own)  Note: We WILL need to slant our boards at times. but please don't buy an easel.  We'll discuss this in later stages. 

  • Face to face classes: please bring
    a coffee cup!




FOR STAGE 2  please add: (Don't forget to ask for discount)

  • more paper if required as above, Arches, 300gsm rough, (or combo rough and medium cold pressed)

  • You can buy some 185g Arches rough, or Saunders 300gsm or 190gsm to practice on now, as it's cheaper than Arches 300. Note I still prefer the Arches to the Saunders.  (Reserve your arches 300gsm for class and good paintings.)

  • some coarse cooking salt sized SALT crystals  using in one lesson or some small seasalt. 

  • ***(cooking salt is coarser than table salt, but much smaller than big crystal salt.)
    A substitute could be salt ground out of a grinder, but the size won't be very predictable.

  • BRUSHES: (not mops).OPTIONAL - YOU DO NOT need to buy these for level 2, but many students are excited to get a new brush!  YOU DO NOT HAVE to have them for class, as you CAN get on with the squirrel, but a squirrel mop is NOT a regular watercolour brush.  It is my suggestion that you supplement your brushes with at least one, if not a couple of brushes.
    If you just get one, I suggest the sable as in #1.
    1. You may like to buy one or two regular watercolour brushes - sables.  
    We will be talking about this in class, and you can postpone until then.  I love the Rosemary and Co Series 33 Kolinsky sable brushes, Larry Post has them for around $60, or the very well priced Seawhite of Brighton kolinsky sable from Larry's size 10.   You can have them posted, such as through Art Smart,, Art Scene, Senior Art and other online suppliers.   Don't buy Winsor and Newton brushes, they're beautiful but overpriced.   There are many types of sable, if you're going to buy a sable it MUST BE LABELLED a 'Kolinsky Sable', otherwise you may as well just buy a regular, nylon brush.
    These would be ROUND and pointed.  You should get the best you can afford. Genuine sables are the premium brush you can buy (golden sable is not genuine.) iF YOU INTEND on buying sables one day, the sooner the better, as sables are becoming harder to get.
    If you prefer a non-animal brush - then I can recommend the Neptune Aqua Elite brushes or the Escoda Versatil brushes, again both in a size 10.  
    If you want a smaller brush, buy nothing smaller than a 4. 

    1 x regular size 10, (this is a medium 7mm - 8mm ferrule.) *note brush sizes differ in some brands. You don't need, but might like 1 x size 4 ( or 6 and 2 if you prefer a range, your choice, this is medium/small)
    2. A good nylon Brush:  Optional. 
    You may also like to buy a good nylon brush FOR DETAIL.   
    I can recommend the lovely Escoda Perla (it has a grey handle) taklon round, size 10 brush.  It has the most amazing point and can paint tiny detail despite being a biggish brush.  I use this for all my detail.  It should cost around $25-$30.    Neef also make nice brushes, Robert Wade's taklon brushes are nice, synthetic sables  etc, there are many other nice brands out there.  But be aware, the prices can be almost the same as sables
    3. A good nylon Flat Brush:  I can recommend the Neef Robert Wade series 987 Taklon flat/glaze brush.  I prefer a 1/2" or 5/8" or similar.   These are the shorter hair ones, not the longer hair ones. 
    4. A children's rough hog bristle brush , just like a school paitning brush can be useful too.

  • Colours: 1 x  Phthalo blue  (a bright medium/dark blue with a very smooth finish) (which is also known as Winsor blue green shade in W&N)  *Note for the Phthalo, if W & N, buy Winsor Blue 'green' shade.  

  • 1 x tube of EITHER New Gamboge (permanent Gamboge), or Quinacridone Gold. (these are both golden yellows)

  • 1 x tube of EITHER Art Spectrum's Permanent Crimson (Alizarin hue), or W &N or D.S. Permanent Alizarin Crimson.
    (Note:  Please do NOT use these in class until instructed.  Students must get used to their original colours first.)

  • Remember, if you are topping up on the Sienna colours, I DO NOT LIKE ART SPECTRUM OR DANIEL SMITH.  If you can, please buy Winsor and Newton in the Sienna Colours.


  • the paint colours from Stage 1 and 2

  • IF YOU ARE only painting with a Squirrel mop it will become essential to suplement your brushes with a couple of the necessary brushes from LEvel 2.  Please look at the L2 list.

  • a bottle of Masking Fluid will be used in one class.

  • a thin, pointed, cheap brush, for use with Masking fluid.  You can get good cheap brushes in craft shops.  Make sure it's not too floppy and has a very good point. (I find them in Bunnings!)

  • All the 'extra' equipment from Stage 1 (palette, board, rag/....etc.)

  • more paper if required (COMPULSORY: Arches, 300 gsm rough or cold pressed or a combo)

  • You can buy some 185g Arches, or Saunders 190gsm or Saunders 300gsm to practice on instead of Arches 300gsm if you want to. It's cheaper. 

  • palette - If you have not yet bought a decent lidded, 16 well palette, where you can squeeze out your whole tube and let it dry, now is the time.  The Neef Small Stay Wet Palette (2 wells in lid) I love this one, (around $29, and Larry Post has them NOW! ) - it's easily cleaned, has deep wells, has a lid, and nice mixing space, or the cheaper  

  • One black or sepia fineliner waterproof, NOT WATER RESISTANT, pen, no less than .5mm (Such as Stabilo, Artline.)  OR real ink and an ink nib.  Make sure it dries waterproof.

  • OPTIONAL BRUSH EXTRA - BUT GREAT TO HAVE,  a 3/4" (2.2cm) or 1/2 " (or both) FLAT taklon watercolour brush. (it's listed in the Level 2 brushes, you should consider some of them.)

  • You have  9 colours all up. Plenty for a beginning watercolourist, you can easily muck yourself up with too many colours!!

FOR STAGE 4 (Consolidation)  :

NOTE: for new (to NBW) students:
You will need to check equipment that you have and compare it with
ALL THE LISTS - from stages 1, 2 and 3. You WILL need a flat brush, a hake and a detail brush at least.   Ask for a sable for Christmas!!
Now we have at least 9 colours, as stated above, plus certain brushes, and compulsory paper.
For students to accomplish the designs, colours etc, that we paint in the Level 4 paintings you will need to have THESE colours, as Jenny won't be able to change recipes for indivdiuals. 
If you are unsure about your brushes, paper or other colours - please email jenny whatever you have, and we can discuss it.   
If you have any questions, please email me.

 Equipment for Stage 4:  

  • COMPULSORY - Arches 300gsm rough or medium, or Saunders 300 Rough at least 2 full sheets to start with.  You will be painting  in  1/4  sized sheets, sometimes 1/8.

  • ALL the equipment, colours and peripherals required in Stages 1, 2 and 3 above.

  • ****Except for the short tilting block (more on this below) 

  • BRUSHES:  By now you should have a few already.  If you don't please consider:  Brushes recommendations are in Level 2 and 3 stages above. You can decide which brushes to use, but Jenny recommends NATURAL hair brushes, such as wash brushes, a hake, and a sable #10 brush, - and a couple of nylons such as:  a flat nylon and a round nylon or you may not be able to complete every task AS recommended in Levels 2 and 3 above. 

  • A notebook and pen (students take  their own notes)

  • A hairdryer - (Kmart have super cheap small hairdryers). 

  • An ADJUSTABLE table easel or a better tilting block) that can adjust between 15cm and 20-25cm. Whatever you are comfortable with.   A small/shallow block of wood, or tissue box is no longer adequate.   ** NOTE IF YOU ARE GOING TO continue to use a block you MUST HAVE one, or even better two, so you can adjust height.  NO SHALLOW <12CM blocks!!  You should have something that tilts your board to a gentle 30-35 degree slope.  You are now learning how to make proper washes and require your board to be tilted up in the correct manner when needed.  You will not be able to paint properly tilting very shallowly.  OR a table easel which you can adjust to tilt. 
    I can recommend the very light, simple Mont Marte Table Easel app $30 online (though you WILL  have to add another 'slot' for it to lower a little further, or the Derwent Academy Table Easel, available from Officeworks online (not in store) a slightly heavier stockier version, around $42, and very well made. 

  • Paint - artist quality - recommended colours are listed in Stage 1/2/3 of the NBW course equipment above. You may like to add indigo, sap green, maybe even cadmium red (but not if you tend to make muddy colours, leave the cadmium).  Please buy Winsor and Newton Burnt and Raw sienna, not art spectrum or Daniel Smith.

  • 4B (not 6b, 2H Hb or any other h's or bs!) Pencil and white rubber

  • cheap drawing paper pad (for thumbnail sketching)

  • A large plastic watercontainer. (small containers are no longer adequate.)


  • from Level 1, 2 and 3 above. 

  • Useful addition colours may be Indigo, and Sap Green, Cadmium red ONLY if you can manage to mix great colours from your current colours.  

  • if you have questions about equipment head to the FAQs  here: 



Equipment list

Stage 2 Printer Friendly equipment list.

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