These notes are intended to be used as general information about my views about materials - every artist will have their own personal approach to selecting materials which is just as valid as the one presented here.
The materials you use are really important, and I urge you to avoid student grade materials altogether. The reason is that student grade materials often are inferior enough to seriously compromise their usefulness for painting at any level of proficiency.
First, the paints: any reputable brand of professional grade paints should be suitable. Do avoid the inexpensive discount store paints; apart from the low price there is nothing to recommend them. Often the pigments used in their manufacture are of inferior quality. It is also common to find that the paints contain less pigment which shows up as weak colouring power when painting.
Of the available brands of acrylics, I recommend the the Australian made Matisse range of paints. These are professional quality and because they are locally made the cost is modest.
You'll find that the price of the paints will vary according to the colour; this is normal for any professional artist's paints because some pigments are more expensive than others.Most manufacturers offer cheaper substitutes for the more costly colours such as cadmium yellow. The substitutes are usually identified by the word "hue" in the name of the colour; i.e. Cadmium yellow hue. As a rule, these should be avoided, the inexpensive substitutes do not compare well with the real pigments.
The following list of colours will fill most needs.
Cadmium Yellow (preferably not a "hue")
Cadmium Red (as above)
For a painting ground a heavy cartridge or drawing paper (about 200 gsm) is suitable, no priming or special preparation is needed. A3 size is recommended, any smaller and the work gets cramped and if it's larger it will be hard to handle.
On the subject of brushes, I would recommend a number 8 Filbert. The Filbert (regardless of brand) refers to a flat brush with a rounded end. This style of brush is very versatile and a pleasure to use. As an optional extra, you could consider also getting a number 4 brush for detailed work.
Additional bits and pieces that you need are TWO water containers, one for clean water and one for less clean water. A packet of paper tissues is also very useful.
The palette can well be a pice of cardboard that can be discarded at the end of your painting session.
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