Contemporary Water Media that Works Materials List

Material List

Kathleen Mooney

Contemporary Water Media that WORKS!


What YOU should bring:


You may work with any *water* media that you like: Watercolor, Acrylics, Gesso, and any combination that you like.  Kathleen will be working with ALL KINDS OF WATER MEDIA – often at the same time and in the same painting.


___White Gesso – a small / medium bottle is fine.

___8 or more tubes or bottles of watercolor AND OR Acrylic in colors you enjoy. These do not need to be new / full tubes.

___5 (or more) pieces of watercolor paper to paint on! These can be pristine and new or paintings you don't mind painting on top of. Any size you like to work on is fine.  At least 140-pound paper – the thicker the better.

___6-8 assorted brushes suitable for watercolor AND OR Acrylic.

___Please bring one ridiculously BIG brush.

___any favorite mark making tools you have.

___A pack of unscented baby wipes.  You may want MORE.

___If you wear gloves - only NONLATEX gloves PLEASE!

___2-4 clear unscented garbage bags - to protect your work surface. Or whatever you typically use.

___Paper plates, yogurt cups or whatever you use to mix paints.

___Water container and spray bottle that produces a fine mist.

___an example of a contemporary watermedia painting that you admire – on your phone or iPad is fine.  Think in advance about *why* you like it.

___any paintings you want “assistance” with… be prepared to paint right over it - or to have Kathleen paint right over it!

___ Wear Clothing you don’t mind getting paint on.


Suggestions - What you *could* bring – OPTIONAL, but FUN.  Look for the dot in front of the items I usually have in my paint kit when teaching


Materials and Supplies with source information:

  • Plaid 1 ½” brushes – Walmart or Amazon “50557E Plaid Taklon Flat Brush, Gold (2-Piece)”.  I use these for watercolors and acrylics.  Mostly I keep one set for each.  More info about why I love these comes when you are in my class.  I believe in these -- so you usually get one in each of my materials kits.  I have hundreds. 
  • Paper – Amazon – I love the Fluid 100, cold press or hot press, the 300Lb is my current favorite.  Everyone ends up finding their own favorite paper brand, finish and weight.  This is like kissing a lot of frogs to find the Prince…
  • Craft Acrylics – Walmart, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Joann, Amazon – these are the bottled paints that are only 99 cents each – more or less… some name brands are – Plaid, Décor, Americana, Apple Barrel… buy colors you like and white and black.  Don’t fret about the quality – these are fine to use.
  • Gesso – Amazon - Liquitex Acrylic Gesso Surface Prep – White. 

Golden Acrylics – Fabulous top of the line, expensive acrylic paints – I use them on the last layers of a painting.  Slower drying, a little “sticky”, fully pigmented colors consistent across the entire product line.  Great color charts.  Golden is great for answering technical questions about paints.

  • Pastel / Conte sticks – Amazon – Inktense – pencils, sticks, blocks, Conte Crayons (here “crayon” is a French term for a color stick vs. Crayola), Caran D’ache (more French) – these are water media pigments in a stick or pencil form.
  • Mediums – thinners, pouring, fixatives, impasto – Amazon – Liquitex or Golden – fluid, gel, medium – I use Liquitex Matte Medium and Matte Gel.  A small bottle is fine.
  • Old credit card, room access cards, AARP Cards… once these are not in use you can use them to apply paint, scrape lines into your paintings. 
  • Graphitint Pencils – Made by Derwent – Amazon, Hobby Lobby – subtle, smooth, great for sketching, can be good/bad in some situations – and getting ridiculously expensive - however, I still love them.  My “secret weapon” for my landscape and brew pub sketching.
  • Pencil sharpener – I like one with two sizes of sharpener holes, good quality blades (you will know if they are not the first time you use it), and most important – a container at the back to capture the shavings. 
  • School chalk – the box of 99 cent school chalk is fine.  They always break, don’t worry about it.  This allows you to “think on your painting” – draw lines, draw the “third” lines, mark your focal point, circles, arrows, write notes – it comes off easily later.

QOR watercolors – these are made by Golden – the same company with the premium acrylics – worth EVERY bit of the cost – highly pigmented, true consistent colors, colors the others don’t have, great paints are not something to wait for – get these NOW.  I get mine via Amazon.  Some of the sets are good value for the money and you get a nice container.

  • Spray bottles – Any bottle that is small and does a fine mist.

Plastic Wrap – to wrap your art stuff for travel, contain dampness, protect, cushion…

  • Clear Garbage Bags – to protect your work surface.  You can only be free with your painting if you aren’t worrying about wrecking your work space.
  • Canson XL - Watercolor 9x12" - or comes in various sizes - 140 lb. Cold Press - lately this has been my "go to" sketchbook.

Tiny little pipettes - Amazon - 0.2ml Disposable mini transfer pipettes - organic lines and spatters

Flexible printing plates Amazon - Inovart presto foam econo pak printing plates 

  • Mat “corners”.  Bring an old mat if you need this to see what a crop will do for your painting or to isolate the good parts…

Collage papers and medium to stick them down with.


Tips and Tricks

  • Use unscented baby wipes to clean your brushes, keep your hands clean, clean your work space.

Let your acrylics fully dry before you dispose of mixing containers, papers, used up bottles or tubes.  This keeps acrylics out of our water systems.

Only wash your brushes when you are done painting.  First get as much paint off of them as possible.  Use it up on your painting.  Wipe dry on papers you can use for collage, clean with baby wipes, only as a final step go to the sink – run a lot of water directly in the drain or a dedicated washing container.

Inexpensive hair conditioner can make brushes soft again.

Once you use kitchen or household tools in your studio keep them as “studio only” items.  Don’t return to their original use.  Acrylics are bad to ingest!

Keep your hands and workspace as clean as possible.  While most of our materials are fairly safe – don’t let them contaminate your body, kitchen, home, family.  Some materials have cadmium, cobalt, the list is long.  Respect all safety warnings!

Put some unscented trash bags on your work surface to catch watercolor and acrylic.  It will make clean up so much easier. 


Important thoughts -

"It's all in the doing - You have to put in a lot of time and paint to make it appear effortless"

"Be JOYOUSLY fearless - provoke action / reaction - create your own art problems to solve - the world needs more Happy Painters to offset all the other stuff"

"If you find you just can't make time to paint - remember - in times of trouble we often push away the very thing we NEED"


"Starting your painting with PERFECTION - leaves you no place to GO - forget perfection until that last 1%"

"Haptic - The last thing I did / drives the next thing I do - for some of us all that laborious pre-planning just gets in the way of painting"

"We love painting - so why be in such a big hurry to finish?"

"Let it dry" - Acrylic darkens and deepens and Watercolor sinks into the paper... give it time before you go for the *finish*"

"BIG shapes! Directional lines!  Engaging edges!  Color harmony and collisions! Relationships of the elements!"

"Let the imagery find you - if it can - then it belongs there - if not, leave it out!"

"You can ALWAYS paint over it"


“Love the process”