Painting Kit Guide

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Painting Kit Guide

Art SketchBookIf you are a painter with experience you will have your own ideas on painting kit to bring, but if you are new to painting or have never been on a Painting holiday before, this painting kit guide from our very own painting tutors could be helpful.

The Art Studio

L’Age Baston has a very well-equipped studio and is supplied with all the heavy items that are needed for painting. This makes your packing so much easier and lighter. You can bring your own if you want to, but the studio already has plenty of stools, easels, tables, drawing boards, sun hats and aprons. You will also find lots of bits such as odd paints, pastels, pots, spray, glue, scissors and paper etc which you are welcome to use.

Artist Chris Forsey’s Painting Kit Guide

Artist Chris ForseyFacebook | Website | Profile

I’m often asked by students, “What painting materials should I take on a painting holiday?” Firstly you need to decide what media you are going to work in. Secondly, are you going to be sketching outside or is it all studio based? Thirdly, what is the weather likely to be? Last of all, how are you travelling?

At L’Age Baston guests either arrive by car, train or plane to get there. If flying weight is a consideration, my general rule of thumb is…less clothes, more art stuff!  Or wear lots of your clothes during the flight!

Basic painting kit

  • You will be sketching outside sometimes so I would suggest:
  • Sketchbook, min size A5
  • Mini watercolour box and a brush, crayons or colour pencils
  • Soft pencils or graphite stick, felt tip pens are good too

(Suggested) Colours to bring

  • Cad Red
  • Aliz Crimson
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Prussian Blue
  • Lemon yellow
  • Cad yellow deep
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Paynes Grey
  • Titanium white
  • Orange purple

Other equipment you might like to bring

I paint in watercolour, mixed media and acrylic, but the choice is yours. A small selection of acrylics, watercolours and a bottle or 2 of FW acrylic inks is great.  I like darks like Paynes Grey and Burnt Umber as these are good for drawing and embellishing a painting.  I also use oil pastels with the other media but these are not essential if you don’t want to bring them as there are plenty of bits and pieces to try in the cupboards in the L’Age Baston art Studio.  Please also note that boards, easels and stools etc are provided, so you won’t need to pack anything like that as are aprons and sunhats.  It’s a great studio and even has sofas up one end and some wonderful art books to browse through over a morning coffee.

Artist Jennifer Johnson’s Painting Kit Guide

Artist Jenny JohnsonFacebook | Website | Profile

After another busy winter and Spring, my thoughts are turning to my next visit to L’Age Baston, something to always look forward to.  I can’t think of anything better than to be wined and dined in such good company whilst painting and drawing with inspiration around every corner.  It’s just bliss.

If you are coming on a painting course with me and need some ideas on what to bring, please see my below list. The essence of the holiday will be to capture the atmosphere, colour, light and architecture with mediums that you are familiar with. But I would like to encourage ‘trying’ a different method, medium or technique.

Below is a suggested list of the painting materials you might like to bring:

Basic watercolour painting kit

  • Pad of Cartridge (drawing) paper A4
  • Sketching pencils a selection of hard to soft
  • 2/3 sheets of coloured drawing paper (suitcase size) for pastels or charcoal drawings
  • 2/3 sheets of watercolour paper (suitcase size) I like Arches Rough 140lb. 300gsm
  • Watercolour pad or block 7”x10”
  • Small sketchbook for drawing and light watercolour washes (for field trips)


  • Watercolour paints (or whatever medium you prefer
  • Palette
  • Water container (for field trips)
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Putty Rubber
  • Masking tape /Gum strip
  • View finder (2 ‘L’ shaped pieces of card)
  • Rubber bands / Bulldog clips for keeping paper in place
  • Drawing pens (waterproof) for pen and wash work
  • Camera
  • 2 lightweight pieces of suitcase size board (i.e. foam board, mount board etc.) to protect loose sheets of paper in transit

Optional kit

  • Dip pen
  • Coloured pencils (water soluble or otherwise)
  • Charcoal
  • Pastels
  • 2/3 sheets of coloured drawing paper (suitcase size) for pastels or charcoal drawings

If you want to paint in oils or acrylics, I would also welcome these and please bring what kit you are used to using. However if you need further assistance or have any questions about the course, please do not hesitate to email me and I will be very happy to help.

Artist Jenny Halstead’s Painting Kit Guide

Artist Jenny HalsteadFacebook | Website | Profile

If you are new to L’Age Baston or Painting Holidays and are attending one of my painting courses in France, please find below a painting kit guide of what materials to bring with you for my course.

Please above all be sure to bring with you a good sketchbook to record your wonderful week in France.


I like to use tubes for painting pictures but a small traveller’s paint-box for sketching.

Essential basic tube colours

  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Cadmium Red
  • Lemon Yellow
  • Cadmium Yellow
  • Burnt Sienna + any others.


One really good medium sable is better than twenty cheap brushes. Ideally Kolinsky sables’ sizes 12, 8 and 4 as these have a large ‘belly’ to hold the paint and a fine point.


Preferably 300lb. The lightest should be 140lb which is best in blocks. Saunders Waterford and Bockingford are my favourites but everyone has their own. Paper is heavy so calculate how much you need.


With deep enough wells to mix a wash.

Optional extras

  • Kitchen roll
  • Small spray for water (Boots)
  • Masking fluid & brush


If you already work in pastels bring your box or a smaller selection. If you are buying some, a boxed set of soft-pastels can eliminate the headache of choosing colours.

  • Pastel pencils are good for sketching and working into soft pastel work.
  • Hard pastels (square) are great for drawing in colour.
  • Wax and Oil pastels do melt if it’s hot but are interesting to work with.
  • Paper  – A good pastel paper is Canson Mi-Teinte in sheets or pads minimum 12” x 16”. Medium tones (eg: not too dark and not too light) are easier to work on. Avoid papers that have too much mechanical texture or grooves.

Useful items are

  • Small plastic tray
  • Tissues
  • Moist Wipes or flannel
  • An old stiff hogshair brush
  • Apron
  • Grease-proof paper to cover your work


  • Paints – basic colours as above plus Titanium white and medium if used.
  • Supports – Purpose made mount board (art shops and large WH Smiths do packs). Heavyweight watercolour paper or you can prime mount board and cut to chosen size before you leave.
  • Wet-Palette or Tear-off Palettes are useful when travelling. Water pot.


Lots of people avoid oils for a one-week holiday due to drying time. However if you are keen, please ask for advice and remember to pack Sansodor as a solvent, in your luggage. John & Alex at L’Age Baston can always courier back for you when dry if you pay the postage & packing.

Artist Susie Hunt’s Painting Kit Guide

Artist Susie HuntFacebook | Website | Profile

If you are joining me for a painting holiday at L’Age Baston this summer and you’re not sure what painting kits to bring, here are some ideas.

I will bring a range of additional media, such as wax crayons, pastels, ink and pens. Therefore try to just bring a small kit when travelling to France and I suggest you include the painting equipment below:

Watercolour painting kit

  • Three good brushes – one mop or wash brush, a medium size (8/10) and a fine (4/5)
  • At least two watercolour pads of different sizes. If you prefer working on sketches or small scale then bring 2 or 3 smaller pads
  • One or two different sized sketch books (that is cartridge drawing paper).
  • A box of watercolour pans, or tubes.

I preference tubes as being liquid, they allow for depth of colour difficult to achieve from dry pans and you can select different ranges of colours to work with, limited or other.

If you have limited space try to just bring the following colours (earth range):

  • Yellow ochre
  • Prussian blue
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Burnt sienna
  • Raw umber
  • Ultramarine blue
  • Lemon yellow
  • Black
  • Chinese white or white gouache

If you want to bring more, I suggest:

  • Cadmium yellow
  • Lemon yellow
  • Scarlet lake
  • Rose madder
  • Cobalt blue
  • Ultramarine blue
  • Viridian green
  • Lamp black
  • Chinese white or white gouache


If you wish to bring acrylics as part of your painting kit then a minimum range of two reds, two yellows, and two blues, black and white will be sufficient. With some acrylic paper, hog-hair brushes and a stay-wet palette.


Please also bring any other personal favourite drawing media, a range of pencils, black pens, felt pens, coloured crayons. If you like using it, don’t leave it behind.  I’ve mentioned above that you should bring a sketch pad but if you don’t want to pack one, or would like to buy a new one, L’Age Baston has some for sale in the studio which are very nice.

You’ll need a sketchbook, of course, and L’Age Baston now has its own handsome sketchbooks for sale. They make a great keepsake but of course you’re welcome to bring your own favourite! Make sure they are case-bound rather than ring-bound or glued, and at least A5. My present sketchbook is a similar square Seawhite to the L’Age Baston one, and it’s one of the best books I’ve ever used. The paper’s responsive to all techniques, without feeling too expensive to dare to ‘spoil’ it!

Artist Caroline Johnson’s Painting Kit Guide

Artist Caroline JohnsonFacebook | Website | Profile

When you come on a Painting holiday with me at L’Age Baston I encourage all students to join me in keeping a sketchbook and exploring new ways of using colour, tone, collage and mixed media. The trick is to overcome that fear of ‘spoiling’ the pages and produce some nice loose, lively work. There is such a lot of subject matter that we are able to use different approaches and materials.

The more you look, the more you see and I tend to look for the more unusual subjects along the way to bring some fun into our happy week of drawing and painting. I will help you broaden your artistic horizons in absolute comfort and soak up the beauty and flavours of Chateau L’Age Baston in the process.

If you’ve never been on a painting course before or aren’t sure what exactly to bring, here’s my recommended kit list for guidance. I can hardly wait!

  • Sketchbook
  • 3b pencil
  • Ruler
  • Black Derwent Drawing Pencil
  • Dip pen
  • Waterproof Indian ink
  • Conté crayon, one white, one black
  • Set coloured pastels or Conté crayons
  • Eraser
  • Scissors
  • Stick glue
  • Set of watercolours
  • Small tube white gouache
  • 3 or 4 Brushes, good quality
  • A2 heavy white cartridge paper x4
  • A2 mid-tone coloured paper x3 (include one green)
  • Any favourite materials and a bag for sketching

Artist Jane Anderson-Wood’s Painting Kit Guide

Artist Jane Anderson-WoodFacebook | Website | Profile

Using better quality materials and equipment really pays off when painting with watercolour. Generally a boxed set will work very well for beginners and then tubes and supplementary colours can be acquired as necessary. Costs vary between the two qualities of paint and artist quality paints are much more expensive. Artists colours have more pigment in them than the student ranges as the student ranges have more ‘filler’ and so the colour loses its vibrancy quickly when diluted with water. Winsor & Newton (my favourite) make a range of boxed sets or tubes of ‘artists colours’, or a student range which is less expensive called “Cotman”. Daler Rowney also produce artist quality paints, in boxes or tubes, and a cheaper student range called “Aqua Fin” watercolours. You can also buy tubes individually.

Small boxed sets of paints vary between £20 -£35 for the student boxed set. (This usually includes approx. 12 “pans” of paint.) There is also a boxed set of artists quality paints, called “St Petersburg White Nights” available Jacksons for approx. £20.00. Try not to be tempted to buy cheap watercolour sets or brushes from WH Smith or similar as the paint and colour quality is not good.

The following underlined eight colours are a suggested minimum you will need:-
cadmium red, alizarin crimson, cadmium yellow, lemon yellow, french ultramarine, cobalt blue, raw sienna (or yellow ochre), burnt sienna , other useful colours are:-rose madder or permanent rose, viridian, raw umber, aureolin. You must have two blues, two yellows and two reds, with some earth colours (raw sienna & burnt sienna, raw & burnt umber); black is not necessary, neither is white.

Try and buy the best quality pure sable brushes you can get. I recommend you need one to begin with – size 8. Brushes are very expensive and you could expect to pay £10 – £12 for a best quality size 8. I also recommend you bring the following although if luggage space is a problem, please note than you can source paper and sketchbooks at L’Age Baston.

Brushes: soft, round watercolour brushes, (pure sable if possible) number 8 & 10. One brush with a good point will do to start

Paper/pads: An A5 or A4 cartridge paper pad (for sketching/scribbling/notes/compositions)

2H & 2B pencils & rubber, & masking tape

An A4 (or larger) watercolour paper spiral bound pad. ie. Bockingford Watercolour pads 12” x 9” or 14” x 10”

When purchasing art materials I recommend:


I look forward to meeting you – Jane.

Artist John Glover’s Painting Kit Guide

John GloverFacebook | Website | Profile

Because one is dependent on the amount you can transport, you have to be fairly selective in your choice of materials. I have listed below the necessary materials for general sketching and have made suggestions for the medium of your own choice. If you have any further queries, please email me at or Tel 01284 810460. I look forward to meeting you soon.

Materials for general sketching
Sketchbook. Sketching pencils. Putty rubber. Pencil sharpener. Waterproof drawing pens. Non-waterproof drawing pens. Acrylic inks. Willow charcoal. Coloured paper for charcoal or pastel. Photo reference if you wish. Landscape, cityscape or people (portraits or crowds) Kitchen roll. Cling film.

Suggestions for the Medium of one’s own choice.

Paints. Cad. Red, Alizarin Crimsion, Lemon yellow, Cad. Yellow deep, Yellow ochre, cobalt blue, ultramarine, cerulean blue, burnt umber, burnt sienna , sap green, Paynes grey, Chinese white. Watercolour sketchpad, Watercolour paper (140 – 300 lb) Good quality sable brushes. Masking fluid, water container. Water spray.

Paints, W/N designers Gouache. Titanium white, naples yellow, cad. Yellow, yellow ochre, raw sienna, burnt sienna , burnt umber, cad. Red, alizarin crimson, ultramarine, cobalt blue, cerulean blue, viridian green, sap green. Brushes -sables , acrylic brushes or hog’s hair. Supports – Mountboard, illustration board. Tear off palette or watercolour palette.

Paints – same selection as for gouache. Acrylic paper. Medium . Texture mediums etc. Acrylic brushes, hogshair brushes. Wet in wet palette. Tear off palette. Water container.

A range of soft chalk pastels for either landscape or portrait. Pastel pencils / conte crayons for finer detailed work. A range of different coloured pastel papers or a pad. Avoid dark colours or mechanically textured papers.

Your choice will depend on drying time and method of transport, (car, train, plane). Alkyd oils . Fast drying . Use with a fast drying medium like Liquin. Canvas boards or primed MDF to work on. Sansodor. Range of colours as per Gouache. Tear off palette. Rags. Normal oils. Check with airline if they are acceptable in luggage. Waterbased oils and water based medium.

*** If you have any questions about what painting materials to bring with you on your painting holiday or have a suggestion that could benefit future visiting artists then please comment below.

Happy painting!

The L’Age Baston Sketchbook

Made in the UK by Seawhite of Brighton and have 95 pages of very good quality 140gsm white paper. Sewn and bound into a lovely hard-back cloth cover.

Click here to read more

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