My Favourite Art Materials - Holiday Gift Guide

With the Holidays coming up, I put together a list of my favourite materials for watercolour painting. These also could be nice gifts for yourself this Holiday Season!

1. Brushes

Chinese Calligraphy Brushes are my must-haves! It's the same brush we use at my workshops and art classes. I can sing long songs about this brush, how versatile and handy it is, plus it's only $10.99 for 3 brushes!
You can buy it on Amazon

A Hake Brush to wet paper in a few sizes at OPUS and my favourite set of affordable brushes from Opus - Galiano Brush Set
My beloved brushes from Silver Brush Black Velvet Collection - Set of 3 Round, Script Liner Brush for fine branches, grass, fur. I've been painting with these for a few years now and they are still in amazing shape!
And last, but not least, a set of Travel Brushes for plein air painting and sketching on the go.

2. The Essential Sketchbook

If you’re like me, you LOVE a good paper sketchbook. I use this one to sketch outside, try new ideas and experiment with new colours — this sketchbook goes with me any and everywhere. If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen me fill the pages on hikes and trips or painting in my studio. I also bring it my classes and workshops.
Grab yours here

3. Watercolour Paper

Your watercolour painting will be as permanent and as good as the paint and the paper you use. What do I mean by a good paper? I mean 100% cotton, professional watercolour paper. These types of paper are more expensive, but a cheap paper cannot respond to treatment like a good one, and your paint and brushes will get only as good a response as your paper will allow. Here are a few of my favourite cotton papers Arches Cold Press, Baohong Cold Press and Khadi Square Paper
This Opus Cold Press paper is great to start with before you are ready to switch to 100% cotton.

4. Watercolour Paints

To do justice to good quality paper, you need good paints. Students’ paints are great if they are made by reputable manufacturers – Van Gogh by Royal Talens for example or Cottman series by Winsor & Newton. Your palette or choice of colours will mainly depend on the subjects of your paintings. I suggest starting with prepacked sets and then slowly adding more colours. You can buy those in pans or tubes.
Here are a few sets Van Gogh 10 Paints Tube SetWinsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor Paint Set

Some of you know how much I love the Original Green paint from White Nights. I couldn't find it separately, but here it is in a set with 3 other paints

My favourite colours from Opus line are Phthalo Blue, Cobalt Turuoise, Ganboge, Hansa Yellow, Opera Rose, Dioxazine Violet and Perylene Green, from Van Gogh Olive green, Turquise Blue, Pyrrole Orange, Madder Lake Deep, Lavender, Oxide Black (granulating). And here are a few of my favourite colours from Daniel Smith - MoonglowIndanthrone Blue, Cascade Green, Green Apatite Genuine

5. Masking Liquid

This one is not essential but I find it very useful when I need to protect the white of the snow on mountain peaks, or add the highlight into the eye or fur on my animal paintings.
This one is my favourite

6. Palettes

I have a couple of palettes where I squeeze my paints into and carry it around with me. I mean I take this little palette everywhere! It's light and compact that I can paint while hiking and having my full set of colours with me.
At home I often use my heavy ceramic plate as a palette, and if you are looking for some fancier options, here they are Large Ceramic Palette with lid and Small Ceramic Palette with Lid 

 7. Paint Brush Roll Canvas Pouch
This pouch is perfect to hold your brushes and protect them from damage when you move around, but it also lets them dry naturally. It's durable and washable, I have mine for many years and it still looks like new. Grab yours here

8. Portable Water cup 
Something that I always take with me on plein air and also use at my studio - my portable Water Cup. This one is the best

9. Books on Drawing
A very important skill to develop that will greatly improve your watercolour painting is Drawing. Mastering the tone values, strokes and details will affect the way you paint. So here are a couple of books that I found easy to follow and instructional - Drawing: Trees and Drawing: Landscapes

 10. Desk Easel

When you think about watercolour painting, easels very rarely cross your mind. And I didn't realize I needed one for my desk until I developed Carpal tunnel syndrome and could no longer hold my paper pads or boards. I bought one that's adjustable, light and easy to store. I love that you can adjust it to any angle which is crucial for watercolour painting.
Get yours here

Full Amazon Shopping List - click here

If you prefer to shop at OPUS Art Supplies. Use this link and code MARKELOVA at checkout for 10% Off on anything!

Happy Shopping,

1 comment

  • Bonnie Mathie

    Elena- Love your watercolours. I too love WC. Enjoyed your fab demo with SSWRAS last Monday. I watched it live on zoom. Keep that passion you have for our natural world and especially the iconic Canadian animals and landscapes. Thanks for all the tips. Bonnie

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