Portrait Class Supply List

Participants may opt to either draw or paint.  Choose only one, drawing or painting supplies.  


  • Strathmore Series 400 Drawing pad
  • Anywhere between 11” x 14” and 18" x 24"
  • Several drawing pencils 2H, H, HB, B, 2B
  • Pencil sharpener or razor blade and sandpaper
  • Kneaded eraser
  • Small handheld mirror
  • Hat, visor, or baseball cap (optional - I will explain this on the first day of class)


The brand doesn’t matter, so long as they are not water mixable. I like Gamblin for a high quality, inexpensive brand that is very pliable.  A basic palette might include flake white*, raw umber, burnt umber, yellow ochre/raw sienna, cadmium yellow, cadmium red, cadmium orange, transparent oxide red (Rembrandt)**, alizarin crimson, cobalt blue, ultramarine blue, ivory black, and viridian.
For this class we will be doing 10 portraits, so we'll need 10 supports, somewhere between 9" x 12" and 16" x 20".  I prefer oil primed linen.  Online retailers sell it by the roll, which can get pretty expensive if you are only looking for a few sheets.  In Madison, it is available at Artist and Craftsman, which is available by the yard or sold as individual panels.  You can use either linen that is glued to a panel, stretched over stretcher bars, or just bring in loose sheets of oil primed linen and we can tape or staple them to a drawing board (which I can provide).

I will also have some oil primed linen available for sale at my studio the day of the workshop.  I will have loose sheets of Claessens double primed 15 linen available for $7 for an 11" x 14" sheet or $5 for an 8" x 10" sheet.  I prefer oil primed linen because it is less absorbent than gesso primed canvas, so the paint is easier to manipulate for a longer period of time.  It also leaves the paint looking much more rich and luminescent.  Either one works, and if you are more comfortable using gessoed canvas, that is fine, but if you haven't tried oil primed linen, then this might be a good opportunity to do so.
A variety of brushes is preferable, namely filberts and rounds. I like Robert Simmons Signet (hog hair) for filberts, sizes 2, 3, and 5, and Princeton Summit (synthetic) rounds, size 1, for small details.  I also really like softer brushes - sable, mongoose, or badger, a couple brushes about 1/4" wide each.      
If you go to Artist and Craftsman in Madison, there is usually a container of cheap, slightly defected brushes at the checkout counter that are usually pretty nice. They run between $1-$3.  Make sure you let the cashier know that they are for oil painting.  Watercolor brushes, for instance, don't work so well.  


  • Gamsol - It's the the cleanest of the odorless mineral spirits.  It's all we really use at the studio.  
  • Container for Gamsol - they sell metal containers for this, but a glass jar would work just fine.
  • Wooden palette - No smaller than about 12"-13" in diameter.
  • Paper towels - Viva is the best, though anything works
  • Palette knife - The ones that are symmetric, shaped like a diamond might be best, but any one will do.  
  • Apron, or clothes that you don't mind getting paint on
  • Small handheld mirror
  • Palette cups (optional) - These are nice to put a small about of medium in while painting.  They attach to your palette.  
  • Linseed oil (optional) - refined or cold pressed.  Any brand will do.     


  • Hat, visor, or baseball cap (optional - I will explain this on the first day of class)
*Titanium White is an inferior substitute, but would work just fine.
**Burnt Sienna is an inferior substitute, but would work just fine.