Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Charles Reid Watercolour Workshop Supply List

As a postscript to the Charles Reid workshop at Stow I thought readers might be interested in his recommendations for materials. This is something that always creates great interest although I suggest you read what Stan Miller says about the subject! I have slightly edited these comments - not much mainly about where to buy - and those in bold are mine. 

COLOURS: Alazarin Crimson or Carmine, Cadmium Red Light (Holbein), Cadmium Orange (other makes), Cadmium Yellow-Orange* (Holbein), Cadmium Orange (other makes), Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Yellow Pale, Cerulean, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Antwerp Blue (or Peacock Blue** from Holbein), Ultramarine Violet. I use Viridian and Oxide of Chromium Greens, (bring the greens of your choice), Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna, Raw Umber, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna and Ivory Black. This is my basic palette but these colours are not required. At the Crantock workshop in 2011 Charles had a number of Winsor & Newton pans side by side in the wells of his Craig Young Paintbox, as well as Holbein tube colour in most of the others. I counted 24 in all. This time he seemed to have gone back to Holbein tube colours (see illustrations in the workshop posts) and I counted no more than seventeen. Alazarin Crimson and/or Carmine? These are both PR83 which is considered fugitive (it fades), although only Daniel Smith amongst makers actually calls it fugitive. Winsor & Newton do give it, along with one more paint, it's lowest rating but most other makers are ambivalent in the way they rate it. Charles may be using the permanent version of Alazarin Crimson, and certainly mentioned `Alazarin Crimson - Permanent' at Crantock. Holbein Carmine though is PR83. I've never heard Charles talk about pigments, and when the question of the permanence of PR83 Alazarin was raised at a workshop by another student seemed genuinely puzzled, and remarked he'd never had any complaints of fading. If you wish to follow this controversy see my May 2011 posts on both Alazarin Crimson and the Permanent version.
* Holbein Yellow-Orange is made from PO20 which is Cadmium Orange. Other Cadmium Oranges vary with the Winsor & Newton version, actually a `hue', a mixture of Cadmium Yellow and Cadmium Red. Daler Rowney add a yellow but several others offer the true PO20.
** Holbein Peacock Blue was originally made with PB17, a pigment discontinued a few years ago. The current version. so a Wetcancas contributor who bought a tube found, is now a convenience mixture made from PG7 (green) and PB15:3 Phalo Blue.

BRUSHES: Good brushes are your most important consideration. I wish you could manage at least one round Kolinsky sable brush. I use Maestro No 77 from Art Express. The Escoda brush is a bit less expensive than the Maestro. If you don't stroke with the tip, your brushes will last for years. Along with your other brushes I'd suggest a No.8 Maestro OR an Escoda Reserva No.10. They are about the same size. On all workshops I've attended Charles has always recommended Da Vinci Maestro, although I've noticed examples of other brushes in his container. He visited the Escoda factory fairly recently when on a workshop in Spain and they now offer a three brush `Charles Reid' set of 1212 retractables. I have several Escoda 1212 travel brushes and rate them highly, although Rosemary & Co also do a fine range and so do Da Vinci (expensive and only up to a 6) as well as some others. You should note that Da Vinci appear to have different numbers for their brushes in North America and the UK equivalents are Maestro series 10 and 35. The recommended Series 35 are longer, slimmer and more expensive than Series 10.  

PAPER: I use 140lb (300gsm) Fabriano Artistico Rough and Cold Press but you should bring the paper you're used to. I discourage D'Arches blocks. They are highly `sized' and difficult to use with my direct painting approach. Always try put your paper before the class. Blocks come in various proportions depending on the maker. Choose a size that allows you to complete a painting in a single session (about 2 -2.5 hours). Charles also uses Schut and Moldau but Fabriano has been his long term favourite.

PALETTE: A Hand held palette is best. Plastic tray palettes are difficult for class painting, inside or on location. I've found students tend to have large amounts of old and dried paint in the overly large wells. It's necessary to have fresh or older paint that's very moist for this class. Holbein has a folding metal palette as well as a small inexpensive plastic palette with the colours I use squeezed out and ready to go. Use a small spray bottle to dampen the colours before class. A Watercolour Sketchbook, for notes and painting along during demos. 9.5" x 13" (closed) is a good size. I don't suggest corrections on students paintings so have your sketchbook handy. On this workshop Charles used his small Sketchers box, which holds 16 colours and also his other Craig Young paintbox as illustrated in earlier posts.  

STUFF: I use mechanical pencils, 7mm and 9mm HB in class. You will always have a sharp pencil for contour drawing with a mechanical pencil, a kneaded eraser, and a water container. If you're not using a block you'll need clips or tape to secure paper to board (I use a 1/2" thick foamcore panel, cut to the size of the paper I'm using).

AN EASEL THAT WORKS: Don't plan on tables or table top easels. Please make sure you understand your easel. It should be light, easy to set up and allow you to paint with your paper and board at a 30 - 45 degree angle.

LANDSCAPE SUPPLY LIST: You can't always count on shade.Painting in direct sunlight is hard on the eyes. It's also more difficult in judging colour, value and drying time. I often work on my lap with a small WC block or sketch book.  (I need an umbrella for my demonstrations using an easel). Travelling with an umbrella is proving too difficult. I'd just bring a chair or stool you can carry and use your body to shade your painting as you work on your lap.  An easel isn't necessary unless you need to work standing. A sketch book can be a good remembrance of your trip, perhaps better than a camera. The sketch book idea is ONLY a thought not a requirement.

You'll need a small hand held palette. if you don't have a metal or plastic hand held palette, a plastic palette with colours included is a good choice. I wish you wouldn't bring synthetic brushes. They are cheap but don't hold paint or water and don't "flex" well. Escoda have a fine line of Reserva travel brushes which I highly recommend. I'd choose Nos.6, 8 & 10. If you could manage it a 12 would be good but not necessary. Charles does not like synthetic brushes at all, which he says don't suit with his direct method of painting, but several top artists use synthetics so it is a matter of choice and how you paint.

You'll need a water container, spray mist bottle, mechanical pencil with extra leads, Nos 7 and 9 HB or 2B. Very important a kneaded eraser.

Think about your set before you come. If you bring an easel - Does it work? You'll need a small container to hold your brushes. I use the top of a thin mailing tube with holes to loop a string around a clip attached wherever handy - always bring extra clips.


Rosie Kerr said...

I am enjoying your blog. Thanks for writing it. Have just taken up watercolour painting after a career as a teacher and having lots of fun with my new watercolour paint.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks for commenting Rosie and welcome. Have fun with watercolour!

David Meldrum said...

Wonderful! Thank you for sharing that information Peter!

Peter Ward said...

You are welcome David.