Painting & Sketching Resources

Online suppliers

Click on the named links below to be taken to the specified online supplier. The online stores listed stock all that is recommended for your basic kit for a watercolour painting workshop. It is worth comparing prices so as to take advantage of special offers which become available from time to time. There are a couple of art supplies’ shops in Venice where these materials can be purchased. We cannot guarantee that you will find particular brands in stock in Venice, though it is highly likely that they will have suitable alternatives.

UK based
Venice based
  • Bottega dell’Arte, San Marco 1756, Venezia
    Tel: +39 041 2770812
  • San Trovaso Cartoleria, Dorsoduro 1076, Venezia
    Tel: +39 041 5223071
  • Carta e Penna, Dorsoduro 2916, 30123 Venezia (Campo Santa Margherita)
    Tel: +39 041 2413532
Basic Kit Recommendations

Here follow the recommendations for your basic kit as suggested by our guest tutor, Cecil Rice for the watercolour painting workshop. A few of the more cumbersome accessories will be provided on loan by Creative Retreats in Italy.

A basic set of good quality watercolours is advised. You don’t need many colours (unless, of course, you like to have a wide choice) but a few quality watercolours are important.

Winsor and Newton artists’ watercolours. These can be tube or whole pans. Half pans are too fiddly. Tubes are great because you can get at a quantity of colour very readily. 5ml tubes are fine but 14ml are more cost effective in regular use and will not run out quickly. It’s a good idea to buy 14ml of Raw Sienna.

Here is a hit-list of essentials which will provide a very sound basis for your watercolour painting.

  • Cobalt Blue (genuine)
  • Winsor Blue Red Shade (R/S)
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Indian Yellow
  • Raw Sienna

It is also very desirable to have some other colours, as these will extend your range. Unless you already have extra Winsor and Newton Artists Watercolous that you can bring with you I recommend investing in an affordable set of St.Petersburg watercolours. It will save you money and give you many extra colours of good quality. I recommend the 12 pan set (around £12) or 24 pan set.

There are pros and cons to different papers. If you fancy the flexibility of paper that is sealed along the edges in a block-pad then buy a 300gsm or 140lb weight, NOT surface block of Arches or Saunders Waterford paper. These can be bought via Ken Bromley or Jacksons Art. Bromleys will supply pre-cut sheets. Don’t buy the very smooth paper called Hot Pressed or the rough paper (called ‘rough’). Get the ‘Not’ surface paper.

A few loose half-imperial sheets of watercolour paper is an excellent idea. The paper on the blocks does not stay flat as it gets wet and we will often be working wet. In this case it is better to have several half-imperial sheets of Not watercolour paper, of at least 200lb/425gsm weight.

We at Creative Retreats will do our best to source appropriate paper locally to offer at cost. Check with us if any will be available at the workshop. However, if you have a preference (eg.Bockingford) you would be wiser to bring your own paper with you.

It is important to have one very soft moppish brush of around 1 inch wide. Rosemary and Co (UK) series 41 Extra large Squirrel mop is excellent. But a cheaper purchase could be a flat goat hair ‘Hake’.

Two or three sable brushes are excellent too. A set with size 8,6,4,2 and 1 size can be bought for around £25. But many medium-soft synthetic hair brushes can be used and many people will already have some watercolour brushes at home.

Mixing vessels/palettes & water containers
For those who do not wish to carry a palette with them from home, small white mixing palettes and white plastic plates will be supplied on loan in situ. Tubs/small buckets will also be supplied for use as water containers.

Boards & stretchers
For the determined, a paper stretcher is a good idea though not essential. Each painter will be supplied with a board to rest the paper on, and masking tape to fix the paper to the surface. The board size will accommodate a paper size of about 50 x 35 cm (half-imperial). Stretchers can be bought from Ken Bromley (Perfect paper Stretchers) for those who prefer to bring their own equipment.

Here follow the recommendations for your basic sketching kit as suggested by our guest hostess, Sarah Sherwood for the walkabout sketching and photography outing. Please make sure that you and your equipment are mobile! There will be a fair amount of walking involved, so try to keep your tools to a minimum. We advise you to dress ‘onion style’ to be able to ‘strip down’ and ‘cover up’ easily. Even on the warmest days, some of the back streets of Venice can be quite cool.

Sketching Kit

  • A rigid cover sketch pad
  • Pencils according to your own drawing preferences. A softer pencil is preferable to a hard one — it can always be used more lightly to draw finer lines.
  • Charcoal pens (optional)
  • Micron black ink pens in different sizes (optional for those who would like to try a more graphic style)
  • Rubber
  • Small ruler
  • Pencil sharpener or knife (you may have problems bringing a knife on your flight over)

Here follow a few suggestions for miscellaneous extras that you might like to bring along with you.

  • Small hair dryer (for more rapid drying of work)
  • Digital camera to capture views/details that might be of interest for further development of your ‘Venetian’ works. A modern mobile phone with camera function would be adequate as an alternative.
  • Comfortable walking shoes and a lightweight ‘kagool’ which will roll up to a minimal — or tied round waist, and double up as seating if needs be!
  • At least one item of comfortable clothing that you can wear to sit on the ground or on otherwise grubby surfaces (steps, walls etc) when a chair is not available for your sketching around town.

It may be possible to borrow folding stools or chairs for the duration of your stay. You will find more details of what is available on the ‘Equipment on site’ page. Please let us know what your requirements will be. Available equipment will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. There will be a €20 caution deposit for the use of the equipment. You will be refunded in full at the end of the workshop when all is returned.

It goes without saying that those students who already have their own tools and supplies are encouraged to bring them along to the workshop. The items listed above are those recommended as giving the most satisfactory results in your preparatory and finished work.