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:
Art Spectrum  Australia - recommended (except Burnt Sienna and Raw Sienna.  W & N is better for the siennas. ) 
Winsor & Newton Artist Quality, (UK) *NOT Cotman's by W&N.
Daniel Smith (USA) 
Schminke. (Germany)

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. 

IN APPROXIMATELY week 4-5 you can add two more colours, but they are not needed in the first 5 weeks.

  • 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 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 Neef Mahongany 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. 
    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 - NOT glass please.  Either clear or white. A white 2L icecream container is ideal. (why white? because you can see how dirty it is.) 

  • Block of wood / a solid block of foam or any other 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 (it MUST BE wide enough to stand on it's own) and at least 15cm long.  Note: We WILL need to slant our boards at times. Scrap wood is fine.  So is sturdy foam. 
    Please don't buy an easel.  We'll discuss this in later stages. 



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. (Reserve your arches 300gsm for class and good paintings.)

  • A bottle of masking fluid we will be using in one lesson.

  •  to go with masking fluid - a thin cheap brush (eg bunnings $1.97 craft brush)

  • 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 thanbig 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 may like to buy two regular watercolour brushes

  • We will be talking about this in class, and you can postpone until then. 
    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.
    1 x regular size 10, (this is a medium 7mm - 8mm ferrule.) *note brush sizes differ in some brands. 
    1 x size 4 ( or 6 and 2 if you prefer a range, your choice, this is medium/small)
    CHEAPER OPTIONS ARE Synthetic sables, Taklon (a good quality nylon) brushes.  These should be the best quality you can afford.  Neef 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!
    MORE EXPENSIVE are sable brushes, - 'red sable' or 'kolinsky sable'.  you can get some very good deals online, or in store.
    I love the Rosemary and Co Series 33 Kolinsky sable brushes, the David Taylor Neef Kolinsky sable (clear handles) brushes and the Nevskaya Palitra kolinsky sables.  You can have them posted, such as through Senior Art,, Art Scene, and other online suppliers.   Don't buy Winsor and Newton brushes, they're overpriced. It should cost around $50-90 for a size 10 sable brush, with $80 being around average.

  • OPTIONAL (We won't be using these colours in class for quite a while, approx. Lesson 15)

  •  1 x tube of EITHER Phthalo blue  (a bright medium/dark blue with a very smooth finish) (which is also known as Winsor blue green shade in W&N) or Cerulean Blue  OR Manganese blue hue ( both bright light blues that granulate) *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.)


  • more paper if required (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  'Art Spectrum Colour Keeper' (around $18).  This is my second choice palette.

  • 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. 

  • OPTIONAL EXTRA COLOURS IF YOU didn't buy them for stage 2 - if you fancy some new ones, these are good transparent colours, excellent for new painters and will give you lots of variation:

  • 1 x tube of EITHER Phthalo blue  (a bright medium/dark blue with a very smooth finish) or Cerulean Blue  OR Manganese blue hue ( both bright light blues that granulate) *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:  That makes 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:
~  please note the compulsory items listed below and ensure you have them.
~ please read the list in it's entirety, and bring what you can from the list, but if you have other colours / brushes etc, bring whatever you have, and we can discuss it in the first class. 
If you have any questions, please email me.

Compulsory Equipment for Stage 4:  

  • Arches 300gsm rough or medium, or Saunders 300 Rough or medium, at least 2 full sheets to start with.  You will be painting larger than stages 1-3, in 1/8 - 1/4 sheets.

  • An A3 size painting board to tape to.

  • cream coloured 1" masking tape. 

  • a table protector sheet, plastic tablecloth or towel.

  • A notebook and pen (students will be taking their own notes)

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

  • An ADJUSTABLE table easel, - (or tilting blocks) that can adjust between 12cm and 20-25cm. 
    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 are now learning how to make proper washes and require your board to be tilted up in the correct manner.  Please obtain a block of the proper size, or an easel, which is wide and thick enough to hold your board strongly, (You could make one fairly easily with a taller block at the back of a base, and a very small rim to stop your board sliding down.)  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 may 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).

  • BRUSHES:  By now you should have a few already.  If you don't please get:
    a) the squirrel mop>
    b) a regular round pointed watercolour brush, preferably a size 8-10 sable, see my recommendations above. 
    c) a 1/2" or 3/4" flat taklon brush - such as the Robert Wade series Neef taklons.
    d) a hake 2" , really cheap. 
    e) any optional brushes such as one very small brush.  

  • Your pen (from Pen and wash class) a 0.5-0.7mm brown or black permanent AND WATERPROOF  liner. OR an ink pen containing same. 

  • Masking fluid and a masking fluid brush (any cheap brush, pointed and capable of thin lines)

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

  • Old handtowel OR 1/4 of an old bath towel (to wipe brushes on)

  • cheap drawing paper pad (for thumbnail sketching)

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

  • YOUR OWN COFFEE CUP for a cup of tea or coffee during break!


  • 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.   Please do not come to class with dishes and plates, or paint which is not already squeezed out.    The Neef SW2 is available online and is perfect,   'Art Spectrum Colour Keeper' (around $18) is a very cheap one, .  you buy the Art Spectrum colour keeper, please rough up the bottom of each well with sandpaper or similar first, as wells are slippery. For a large palette buy the Neef SW4 Large 4 wells in lid stay wet palette. (around $50.)    Art scene at ryde also have some good large palettes.

  • Useful addition colours may be Indigo, and Sap Green, Cadmium red.


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



Equipment list

Stage 2 Printer Friendly equipment list.

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