Plein Air Materials List

The following is a suggested checklist for plein air work.  Remember, aim to pack your materials so they may be carried in only ONE TRIP to your site.

My minimum checklist:

  1. Paints already distributed onto a  palette
  2. Brushes
  3. Turp in hanging spill-proof can
  4. Surface to paint  on in box to carry
  5. Easel
  6. Backpack with paper towels, trash bag, rubber gloves, sun hat, sun block, apron


Utrecht Oil Paints:

  • Titanium White                                               
  • Ultramarine Blue Deep *                                                             Cobalt Blue
  • Viridian Green (or can substitute Phthalo Green)                    Yellow Ochre                    
  • Burnt Senna                                                                                Cadmium Orange (can omit and mix your own)   
  • Cadmium Yellow Lemon                                                Cadmium Yellow Medium
  • QuinacridoneRose                                                                   Alizarin Crimson 
  • Permanent Red Medium*      

*Made by Rembrandt not Utrecht                   


Use the equivalent from above in softest (not Rembrandt variety which is fairly hard) pastels with dark rich hues, not light variety.  Sennelier Half Stick & Standard Soft Pastel Set of 40 from Jerrys Artarama, $55 is a good buy. 

Brushes & Palette:

Utrecht Brand (preferred sable-like):  

  • Rhenish Filbert shaped:   #2, #4,  #6   
  • Flat brushes:  #4, #6. #8  
  • One rigger: #1 for signing or small detail

Rosemary Brushes 

  • Ivory long flat:  #1, #4,
  • 1/4th ivory dagger 

Palette: Wood or Masterson carrier with lid (with glass insert that you have underside painted grey or inserted grey paper).  

  • No white plastic or paper palettes


  • Gamsol, an odorless turpentine, bring glass or metal container for the solvent. Create an ability to hang this container from your easel  for an extra convenience (you'll be glad you did this), or buy the one with a false bottom made for this at the art store.

For Water based Oil Users: Water soluble oil paints require a special water soluble linseed oil to be used with them, NOT Gamsol.  Optional: Linseed Oil, Galkyd or Liquin, Clove Oil for driers or delaying drying time.  We can discuss this in class.

Painting surfaces  / For pastel: tinted colored paper folded and cut to these sizes

  • Pre-stretched canvas: Universal primed linen/canvas
  • Cradled birch wood from art store:
  • Home Depot- Birch plywood, MDF cut to size etc.
  • Canvas pad (tape sheet to a backing board)
  • 5 x 7's, 6 x 8’s, 1 – 8 x 10, 1 -9 x 12, 1-11 x 14    
  • canvas covered cardboard type

Prep raw wood, MDF or cheaper canvases beforehand with additional coat or two of better gesso (I like to use Jerry’s Worlds Best Gesso) for a better surface if you want.   


  • Palette Knife (right handed) - Connoisseur 6810 58, metal angled tip with wood handle
  • Paper Towels or rags and a bag to hold waste  (Viva paper towels are the best)
  • Portable field easel (a “pochade” needs tripod, “Julien French” or “stanrite" it holds a palette between legs)
  • surgical rubber gloves for oils 
  • apron or smock
  • TV dinner table for pastels or watercolors (I saw one at Target for $9)

For clean up 

Murphy’s Oil or Safflower oil (both from the super market)

Useful but not necessary:

  •  Note book / sketchbook pen, pencil, eraser, extra fine point black marker, with a set of Grey markers (from very light to med to darker grey, Prismacolor Premier: in the color collection - neutral grey 20%(PM-217), 40%(PM-219, 60%(PM-221), 80%(PM-223), (Black PM-98) )
  • Soft charcoal (vine - skinny long pieces)
  • Two small pieces of cardboard with small windows cut in them of the proportions 4x5 and 3x4 for visually framing what you see.
  • Folding chair or stool 
  • Pizza or Priority USPS box for wet painting
  • Sun hat, sun block, bug repellant
  • Parasol/ clip-on umbrella (Rite Aid actually sells colorful inexpensive ones)
  • Apron or smock
  • Blanket in trunk of car for paint protection
  • Art guard cream for hands and protective gloves (dental hygienist’s use)
  • Sturdy shoes and protective leg covering for underbrush?
  • Means to carry your supplies ie bungees, backpack, something on wheels, shoulder bag…
  • Extra credit :-) Night painting: headlight, LED clamp onto easel (this is fun...for the adventuresome)
  • Water bottle and snacks
  • Portable pliers for opening difficult paint tubes