When it comes to supplies, as a watercolor artist, you know you will need at least paints, paper, and brushes to create a painting, but what else? As an artist, as in any other profession, various tools will make your job easier and often more enjoyable. So, let’s talk about some of the essentials when painting at home.

Palette – If you purchase watercolor in tubes, you’ll need to put it somewhere, and a palette is that thing. Palettes come in plastic and sometimes metal, as well as porcelain. I use plastic and metal, preferring large palettes for my most frequently used paints. I use a Possum Palette with large wells and storage cups with lids for the paints. Unfortunately, the Possum Palette is no longer available, but here is a great alternative, the Art Alternative Plastic Palette. I also have a large plastic John Pike palette with 20 small wells for paint and a huge well, plus lid, for mixing. I use smaller airtight locking palettes for other paints I would use occasionally. I label each to quickly identify their paint brands and colors.

You’ll need a container for your water. Recycled yogurt, cottage cheese, and plastic milk jugs are great affordable options. Collapsible water cups are easy to pack and transport. They come in different colors so you can distinguish your clean and dirty water.

A rag or blotting towel should be at hand to quickly blot excess pigment from the brush or remove excess water before blending edges on the paper. I use old dish towels that don’t shed lint, and at a recent workshop, I saw one person using a rolled-up wad of paper towels that worked well.

Having a brush holder is essential to keep your brushes protected and ready for use. Whether it’s a folding one (that makes it into a stand) or a compact rolled one for travel, it is essential in taking care of your brushes.

If you prefer to paint flat, an easel is not needed. Still, many artists prefer some style of tabletop easel or simply use a rolled-up towel to raise their painting at an angle. I have this adjustable tabletop easel and really like it. It has a nice wide surface to support a variety of sizes of paintings.

There’s much more to have on hand when painting, but this should get you started. Stay tuned for Part II.