My Studio 1 – watercolour setup

In most ways, I’m not an organised artist.

Like many artists, I tend to drool over studio set ups. I even have a board where I collect beautiful inspiring images over at Pinterest. Sadly, my painting and desk area come nowhere close to any of these.

Back in art college, when I was not in my shared uni studio space, I painted in my parent’s garage. Living in the subtropics, a metal doored, windowless room is hardly the studio of champions. But it was my space … when the car was not parked in it.

When I bought my own apartment with a spare room, I figured that would be my new studio. I disassembled my massively heavy table to get it in the room, dragged up my easels, set up my space…

And painted in the lounge room.

Then at the kitchen table.

Then on the sofa.

See a pattern here?

Anyway, this is my current setup for painting water colours

NCadet Watercolour Workspace
1. My original watercolour palette. Some of these colours are not artist colours, but I started running out of wells so bought a new palette (Number 5)

2.  Some of my paint brushes. I keep the watercolour brushes separate from my oil brushes, though I think some of my older brushes have been used for acrylic paintings. They’re a collection of mostly acrylic round brushes, though my favourites tend to be smaller ones like 0’s, 1’s and 2’s. I have a size 18 mop in goat hair, a couple of flats for laying down washes, some Pitt pens (filled with Indian ink), some pastel pencils which I use for drawing on canvases and a couple of gel pens a friend gave me years ago.

3. This is a drawing board I ‘acquired’ from my brother. I think he ‘acquired’ it from school. I have 2 boards, this is the larger one that can fit a 12 x 18″ piece of paper comfortably. A painting has been transferred to some paper and is waiting to be painted. I sometimes stretch paper and tape and staple it but I’ve been lazy with this one, so hopefully it doesn’t buckle too much! I’m trialling painters tape as my masking tape has been getting horrible and tacky. I don’t use gum tape. Tried it, dislike it intensely.

4. My mechanical pen and mechanical eraser. I prefer to draw  with the 0.7mm with a B lead. I have a half a dozen in various colours floating around the house. There’s nothing special about the eraser, but I use it generally after I’ve removed most of the lead with my kneadable eraser (see number 6)

5. My main watercolour palette. I had a lot of trouble sourcing pan watercolours, so I buy the tubes, mostly fill a well, then use that as a pan. I love playing with new colours and don’t use these all the time, but I’ll have a go at listing the colours (in no particular order because I forget which colour is which :) )

  • * Cerulean blue ( Use it as a base for skies)
  • Cobalt Turquoise light (this is just a colour that makes me happy. It is overpowering, expensive, but I love painting with this colour)
  • Cobalt Blue ( a deeper blue than cerulean, still good for skies)
  • Pthalo Blue
  • * Ultramarine Blue (If you don’t have purple, this colour plus a blue red like alizarin or magenta makes great purples)
  • Indigo (use it like Paynes grey, often mixing with umbers to make black browns)
  • *Dioxazin Purple (Winsor violet)
  • *Magenta (I like using this in skin tones, not quite as strong as alizarin, I don’t think it stains as much)
  • *Burnt umber
  • *Raw umber
  • *Burnt sienna
  • *Raw Sienna
  • *Paynes grey
  • *Lemon Yellow (to make greens you need both a warm and a cool yellow – changes the green completely)
  • Sap green
  • *Cadmium yellow (Used in skin tones, though I often use yellow ocher or cadmium orange)
  • Cadmium Orange
  • Antwerp blue
  • *cadmium red (Normal and deep)
  • caput mortuum violet
  • Hookers green
  • Indian yellow (this is a gorgeous yellow)
  • Vandyke brown
  • Gamboge Hue
  • Sepia
  • Brown ochre
  • *Pthalo green (you can make greens, but sometimes it’s nice to have a base just to add browns or blue to)
  • *Yellow Ochre (one of my favourite colours)
  • Green gold
  • Perylene Maroon
  • *Alizarin Crimson (strong, a little bit goes a long way)
  • Rose Madder (I use this for skin tones, I think I mix it with a warm yellow like cadmium or Indian Yellow)
  • Rose Dore
  • *Lamp Black (I don’t use much black. I tend to mix a dark colour from burnt umber and a really dark blue like Pthalo blue or ultramarine, but occasionally I use it)
You don’t need all these colours, I just went through a phase of being addicted to trying new colours. I’ve put an asterix (*) next to the ones I use on a regular basis.

Other stuff not pictured here?

  • Photo references/ colour sketches
  • Water jar
  • tissues
  • cotton buds
  • gouache/ acrylic in white (sometimes I use this in my watercolours, though very rarely)

I’ll get around to showing my digital setup one of these days, but it’s not particularly exciting.