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Professional’s Choice: What artists choose

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What are the professional watercolorists preferences for tools and colors? The following lists include color, paper and brush preferences of accomplished, professional artists, past and present. For some artists, it doesn’t take much in the way of materials to make great art.

CHARLES BURCHFIELD (1893-1967)
Paper: Early work – mounted light weight HP Strathmore; Mid career – HP, CP or Rough, usually CP Whatman or Arnold; Late career – mould-made rag papers, gelatine sized.
Brushes/Palette: 1 pointed red sable, 3 straight black sable (camel hair) brights, 4 diagonally trimmed brights, 2 pig bristle brights cut short (for scrubbing). Palette used was a Winsor & Newton folding watercolor box with 30 full sized pans.
Pan and Tube Colors: YELLOW: Cadmium Extra Pale, Cadmium Light*, Cadmium Medium*, Cadmium Orange*, Aureolin, Gamboge, Yellow Ochre*; RED: Alizarin Crimson*, Orange Vermilion, Chinese Vermilion*; BLUE: Cobalt*, Cerulean*, Prussian*, Ultramarine*; GREEN: Viridian*, Permanent Greens 1,2 & 3*, Emerald*; BROWN: Van Dyke*, Sepia*, Raw and Burnt Sienna*, Raw and Burnt Umber; BLACK: Ivory*; PURPLE: Permanent Violet; WHITE: Chinese*. *indicates Burchfield’s list of essential colors.

RANULPH BLYE
Paper:300 lb. Rough
Brushes/Palette: 6 sables ranging from a #6 round to a 1 1/2″ flat.
Colors: Naples Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna, Sepia, Sap Green, Oxide of Chromium, Viridian, Cerulean Blue, Ultramarine, Prussian Blue, Payne’s Gray, Black, Light Red, Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, Mauve, Gouache White.

MARIO COOPER
Paper: Stretched 300 lb.
Brushes/Palette: Flat Sable Brights: #16, #18, #20; Flat Bristle 1/2″, 1″, 1 1/2″
Colors: Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Pale, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Indian Yellow, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Scarlet, Cadmium Red Deep, Scarlet, Alizarin Crimson, Rose Madder Genuine, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Raw Sienna, Raw Umber, Phthalocyanine Green, Violet, Ultramarine Blue, Payne’s Gray.

TONY COUCH
Paper: 140 lb. Cold Pressed Full or Half sheets, wet and clamped to a board.
Brushes/Palette: White Nylon Flats: 1/4″, 1″, 2″. Round Red Sable: #8. #3 or #4 Rigger. Robert E. Woods Palette, 24 wells, 2 large mixing areas plus cover.
Colors: Lemon or Hansa Yellow, New Gamboge or Cadmium Yellow, Raw Sienna or Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, Thalo Purple, Viridian or Thalo or Prussian Green, Winsor or Thalo or Prussian Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Ivory Black. Grouped by cools and warms, light to dark.

HENRY GASSER
Paper: 140 lb. Rough or Cold Pressed
Brushes/Palette: Red Sables: #3, #6, #17 rounds, and 1/2″ flat
Colors: Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Cadmium Red Light, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson, Indian Red, French Ultramarine, Viridian, Payne’s Gray, Ivory Black, Cerulean Blue, Vermilion, Davy’s Gray.

TOM HILL
Paper: D’Arches 140 lb. Cold Pressed
Brushes/Palette: Ox hair or synthetic flats: 5/8″, 1″, 1 1/2″. Round Red Sable: #6, #8, #10, #6 rigger. 1/2″ bristle brush.
Colors: Scarlet Lake, Alizarin Crimson, Permanent Rose, Burnt Sienna, Lemon or Hansa Yellow, New Gamboge, Raw Sienna, Winsor or Phthalocyanine Green, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Winsor or Phthalocyanine Blue, Manganese or Cerulean Blue.

TED KAUTSKY
Paper: 300-400 lb. Whatman or D’Arches, rough or medium rough
Brushes/Palette: Round Red Sables: #2 or #3, #12; 1/2″ & 1″ flat ox hair. Palette: 16 well paint box w/ 12″ x 18″ butcher tray.
Colors: Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Raw Sienna, Raw Umber, Hooker’s Green #2, Davy’s Gray, Payne’s Gray, Orange Vermilion, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Yellow, Aureolin Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Cobalt Blue, French Ultramarine Blue, Winsor Blue.

NORMAN KENT
Paper: N/A
Brushes/Palette: #12 red round sable
Colors: Alizarin Crimson, Vermilion, Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow, Hooker’s Green, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Cerulean Blue, Prussian Blue, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Payne’s Gray.

DONG KINGMAN
Paper: N/A
Brushes/Palette: N/A
Colors: N/A

CHARLES LAESSIG
Paper: N/A
Brushes/Palette:
Colors: N/A

TOM LYNCH
Paper: N/A
Brushes/Palette: N/A
Colors: N/A

ELIOT O’HARA
Paper: 4 ply paper (bristol) or smooth illustration board
Brushes/Palette: Red Sable: #5, #12 round, 1″, 1 1/2″ flats, A longhaired sable and a rigger. Palette is 6″ x 9″.
Colors: Cadmium Scarlet, Alizarin Orange, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Cadmium Yellow Pale, Lemon Yellow, Viridian, Monastral Blue, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Alizarin Crimson.

JOHN PIKE
Paper: 300 lb. D’Arches Cold Pressed
Brushes/Palette: Ox Hair Flats: 5/8″, 1″, 1 1/2″. Round Red Sable: #8, #4 rigger. John Pike Palette
Colors: Ultramarine Blue, Phthalocyanine Blue, Phthalocyanine Green, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Yellow Light or New Gamboge, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Cadmium Red.

HENRY C. PITZ
Paper: 300 lb.
Brushes/Palette: Red Sables: #3-#12, bristle brush, housepainter brush, bamboo brush.
Colors: Raw Umber, Yellow Ochre, Sepia or Van Dyke Brown, Prussian Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Red, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Payne’s Gray.

IRVING SHAPIRO
Paper: 300-400 lb. Rough
Brushes/Palette: #8, #12, round red sable; 1″ & 2″ flat camel hair
Colors: Alizarin Crimson Golden, Light Vermilion, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Yellow Light, Mauve, Cobalt Violet, Phthalocyanine Blue, Ultramarine, Cerulean Blue, Lemon Yellow, Sap Green, Phthalocyanine Green, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Sepia, Payne’s Gray. Mr. Shapiro often worked in the studio from on-the-spot pencil sketches, color notes and black and white photos.

ZOLTAN SZABO
Paper: 300 lb. Lanaquarelle, 300 lb. Arches, Noblesse mounted WC board
Brushes/Palette: Slant Bristle Brushes: 1″, 2″, 3″, 4″. Soft (Nylon) Slant Brushes: 1 1/2″, 2 1/2″. #3 Rigger. 3/4″ Flat aquarelle with chisel end, a palette knife. Szabo plastic palette with 16 color wells and 8 mixing areas with cover.
Colors: Maimeri Watercolor Palette: Ivory Black, Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna, Cadmium Green, Phthalocyanine Green, Phthalocyanine Blue, Primary Blue (Cyan), Cobalt Blue Dark, Cadmium Yellow Lemon, Brilliant Yellow, Cadmium Orange, Roase Madder Alizarin, Quinacridone Rose, Quinacridone Violet, Violet Lake, Ultramarine Blue.
Blockxx Watercolor Palette: Gamboge Yellow, Gold Ochre, Burnt Sienna Light, Rose Madder, Magenta, Vandyke Brown, Ultramarine Blue Deep, Manganese Blue, Aureolin Yellow, Cobalt Violet, Cadmium Red-Orange, Cobalt Blue, Emerald Green, Blockxx Green (Phthalocyanine), Cyanine Blue, Cerulean Blue.
Winsor & Newton Watercolor Palette: New Gamboge Yellow, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Permanent Rose, Sepia, Antwerp Blue, French Ultramarine, Manganese Blue, Aureolin Yellow, Cobalt Violet, Scarlet Lake, Viridian Green, Winsor Green, Winsor Blue, Cobalt Blue, Cerulean Blue.

EDGAR A. WHITNEY
Paper: 140 lb.
Brushes/Palette: Round Red Sables: #2, #3, #6, #10, #14; 2″ camel hair; 1″ red sable flat; #4 rigger. O’Hara Palette (6″x9″)
Colors: Brights: Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Stronium Yellow, Viridian, Phthalocycnine Green, Prussian Blue, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Alizarin Crimson.
Regular: Indian Red, Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Raw Umber, Burnt Umber, Payne’s Gray, Ivory Black

FRANK WILCOX (1887-1964)
Paper: Rough, mounted on board
Brushes/Palette: 2 round red sables, 1 large flat
Colors: Ohio Landscape Palette: Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Yellow Pale, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Viridian, Rose Madder, Light Red, Burnt Sienna, Payne’s Gray.
Add for far west: reds and yellows
Add for maritime scenes: blues and Cadmium Red

ANDREW WYETH
Paper: Medium Rough 22×30 blocks
Brushes/Palette: Round Red Sables: #5, #10, #15
Colors: N/A

FRANK WEBB
Paper: 140 lb. D’Arches Cold Pressed
Brushes/Palette: Flat Camel Hair: 2″, 3″. Flat Synthetic & Sable: 1/2″, 3/4″, 1″, 1 1/2″, #6 square lettering brush, #4 liner, #4 scriptliner, #36 Synthetic Round, Round Red Sable #8.
Colors: Ivory Black, Indian Red, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Hansa Lemon Yellow, Viridian Green, Phthalocyanine Green, Prussian Blue, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Payne’s Gray, Phthalocyanine Purple, Thio Violet, Phthalocyanine Crimson, Yellow,Ochre, Raw Sienna, Raw Umber, Sepia.