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Frequently Asked Questions
about equipment and products.

Q: Where can I get ongoing hints, tips and ideas?
A: Three places!!   Facebook.  Have a look at my
Northern Beaches Watercolour facebook page -
it has tons of fun  tips, ideas, tricks, discussions.

B. Pinterest - I'm constantly adding great ideas to my Pinterest boards.
Why don't you drop by and have a look.    Click on the Pinterest bar >

Pinterest is great, it's very unobtrusive if you want to sign up.
C. Instagram - Jenny has an NWB Instagram account,
you can follow her posts at 'northernbeacheswatercolour' by clicking on the grid just above.
D.   If you are a student of Jenny's, past or present , you may join our Closed Group on Facebook just for
Students of NBW.  Students post their paintings, request critiques, ask for 
Help and guidance, and get loads of praise and encouragement from 
other students.  No one outside the group can see your posts.
Find it here:

E. How about joining an ONLINE COURSE?  For painters all over Australia, and even internationally, you can join the course, paint whenever you want, with no time limits or expiry dates.  See the class pages for information.

Q : NBW is very firm about equipment.  Is it compulsory? 
A: Only the paper, Arches 300g rough, in full sheets torn into quarters (for transport), table protection and a painting board  is compulsory.
Later stages may use any Artist quality, 300g rough or medium, 100% cotton paper. Saunders, Fabriano, Arches...etc. 

Other equipment - Paint, brush, pencils, palette, strongly recommended, and our class will be counting on getting the best out of this equipment.  Poor equipment leads to poor results.  Occasionally items will be requested for classes (such as a $5 fineliner for the pen and wash class).  This is entirely your choice.  These extra items are not provided as they are regular watercolour painter's equipment.    Until you try Artist quality equipment, you won't believe it makes so much difference.
Q : But Artist Quality paint is so expensive! Why?
A:  You will find Student Grade paint to be false economy.  You will probably need 3-4 tubes of cheap paint to every 1 tube of artist quality. This is because the pigment is so concentrated you only need the tiniest amount of Artist Grade pigment to create gorgeous vibrant colours.  Furthermore, student grade paint is chock full of fillers and other unnecessarybulking-out junk.  They are often simulated pigments, rather than pure,natural pigment.  They are regularly not lightfast, and fade after time and in light.  They do not have to be consistent, one tube can differ from another of the same 'colour'.  The colours do not have to be genuine.  Eg Burnt Sienna is not necessarily made of sienna earth.  Even if your Artist paint dries out (we actually let it dry out on purpose!) you can still wet it, and use it for years and years.  You can't do that with cheap paint.  Student Paint is not worth the time and effort. 
Furthermore - if you go to our PAINT SHOP under the equipment tab, you will save hundreds of dollars purchasing Winsor and Newton watercolour paint through these links. Buy the biggest tube you feel comfortable with. 

Q. What brands of paint should I buy?
A.  Any reputable Artist Quality Brand is fine.  In Australia we have a few main brands. First and foremost, the lovely, Australian made Art Spectrum.   It's  reasonably priced compared to the others, and is right up there with the best in quality.  Have a look  at       The only Art Spectrum colours I do not recommend for my students are the two Siennas, raw sienna, and burnt sienna.  If possible, go with W & N.  I have links to the fantastically priced W & N paint in the Paint Shop under the Equipment list tab. 
You can also buy English - Winsor & Newton (not their Student Cotman brand).
Or American - Daniel Smith (not burnt or raw sienna)
Or German - Schmincke

Q. What about brushes?  I'm confused!
A. Ha ha.  So am I.  But I know one thing.  If you get the right  brush it can do the job of dozens, and will last decades.  There are SO many to choose from.  That's why I prefer students to buy just one.  I love the Rosemary and Co Kolinksy sable size 10, and Nevskaya Palitra Squirrel mop in a size 6 or 7, or some other brands I have listed in the equipment list.   You MUST choose this yourself (don't let the shop lady pick one) to ensure you choose one with the thinnest point possible.  However, there are many brands to choose from  and different shops have different ones, see our list.  You are looking for a round mop of medium size.  If it is NATURAL squirrel, it should have a nice full body, be lovely and soft, and a beautiful tiny point.  It will hold buckets of water and should have a hand made, wired, ferrule.  They vary in cost (some brands are ridiculously priced) but you should find one for between $30 and $40 easily.  So you of these can do the job of 10 x $20 brushes.  Synthetics such as taklon and nylon have their uses, but do not hold the water, nor have the point of a squirrel brush.
If you want to find your own brush, ensure it's full, (a 'mop') and can hold a tiny thin point.

In later stages, we look at getting a regular Watercolour round, pointed brush, and a flat brush. Please don't buy these until they're discussed. 

Q. What the heck? with that giant sheet of paper???
A.  Yes, watercolour paper comes in giant sheets.  They cost between $17 & $20 a piece.  Try to buy it whenit's on special, you can often save money even if you pay postage.  Jenny likes you to use Arches 300gsm (grams per square metre) ROUGH texture.  And it's best to buy it by the sheet.  This brand and texture will produce the most satisfying results for students and is easy to work with.  It is also easy to tape, does not require stretching, can be reused over again on the reverse, and can even often be 'scrubbed off' virtually clean!  Again, many so called "Watercolour Papers" are not at all.  Real watercolour paper is cotton.  Buy a cheap one, if you must, for practicing, but nothing is like painting on proper watercolour paper. - wonder why your painting is not 'doing' what you wished it would?? (granulating, shooting, mixing, swirling...) maybe you're not using Arches Rough!!
Many students have come to class with 'not real' watercolour paper, although it's described as such.  They soon realise I was right.

Q. What kind of palette do I need, and where can I get one?
A.  Students often comment on the high cost of palettes in Art Shops.  I agree.  It's ridiculous.  If you use a couple of white china plates for your first lesson or two, it will give you time to shop around.   It is my preference to squeeze the whole tube out into a well and let it dry, this way, it is not wasted.   If you'd like to do this look for a palette where  the wells are nice and deep.  The palette should be white and have a lot of clear mixing space in the centre.   Ideally it should be lidded, so you can transport your palette.   The one pictured is ideal.  You can buy these quite reasonably online.  There are many variations on this and some are much smaller.  Neef make beautiful white lidded palettes, and the small size is perfect for you - SW2 (2 wells).   It is highly recommended.  Art Spectrum make a small lidded pallete for about $16 called the Art Spectrum colour keeper, note to rough up the bottom of each well of this palette before squeezing paint into it, as bottoms are slippery. I do not like this as much as I like the Neef one, as it's mixing area is hard to clean. 
Note:  It is your choice of course, but squeezing a tiny little amount of paint out, every time you paint could be a waste.  n  It is also a huge waste of time, while you find your tubes etc. during class!  To save your expensive paint, get a palette where the whole tube can be squeezed out.  Let it dry in the well, and rewet it for use.

Q. Can I get a refund for my equipment?
 Equipment:  If you kept the receipt and your item is unused, the retail store you bought it from may give you a refund.  Check with the individual store.  Northern Beaches Watercolour is not responsible for any 'change of mind' purchases,  equipment you may have bought for a class at any venue which was cancelled, or equipment you did not use during classes.   Please always keep your receipts.
PLEASE CHOOSE YOUR OWN EQUIPMENT from my list.  Please do not allow store staff to give you alternate suggestions, if it's not on the list, DON'T BUY IT. 

Is there something I didn't tell you??? YOU can email me. 

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