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Rebecca Z Artist’s Basic To-Go Supply List (for Travel and Painting on Location)

This list is for you if you’re coming with me on an Art Adventure, or if you’re my student and carrying your materials back and forth to class.

This is a list of items I routinely take with me on the road.  Plein air painting is a chance to combine the inspiration of travel with your creativity!

Paper-My favorite painting surface while traveling is a good sketchbook.

  •  Moleskine hardbound watercolor journals are one of my favorites.  The 5×8 fits in your purse easily, but larger versions can make elegant books to use and revisit later. They have a hard bound cover which can make them awkward to paint with in the field, but the paper is lovely and they have excellent binding.  My favorite size is A4 (8.25×11.5)
  • Spiral bound journals can be easiest to paint on in the field. The Bockingford 9×12 spiral bound journals are a favorite in this category.  They fold back on themselves, allowing for nice sized landscape or portrait work on location.  Click to order:   Bockingford 9 x 12
  • Arches Watercolor block can be heavy to carry, but it’s wonderful having a secure paper of excellent quality that can dry flat and be ready to go.
  • ¼ sheets of Arches watercolor paper are the lightest type of painting surface to carry. If you plan to paint on loose paper, you’ll need a firm, flat support. (I like using a piece of foam core board covered with clear packing tape to make it waterproof as described in the picture below.)
    • Do-It-Yourself-ers can try this portable folio for paper : Cut 2 pieces of foam core a bit larger than your ¼ sheet of paper…about 12X16 or 12.5 X 16.6. Cover with plastic shelf liner (Contac Paper) or with Clear plastic packing tape to make them waterproof. Create straps from velcro tape to hold the two pieces of foam core together and form a carrying case for your loose sheets of watercolor paper. I cover the sticky backs of the velcro tape with fabric.

Other Incidental “Must Have’s”

  • Bulldog Clips or large binder clips to keep your paper from blowing away (one clip attached to your sketchbook is sufficient) another possibility is to use an extra large rubber band.
  • Frog Tape
  • Automatic Pencil– these are always sharp
  • kneaded eraser
  • Salt in a plastic ziploc bag or Rx bottle



    watercolor supply list- current paints on my palette

Watercolor Paints

use these materials to create a tiny palette for yourself

use these materials to create a tiny palette for yourself

JUST FOR FUN-  Lately I’ve been having a good time with iridescent paints while sketching on trips.  I use these shimmery pan paints for playful results. Click here for Amazon: Palette 1 Greens and purples  and Palette 2 Sunset Colors

Pens/Watersoluble Crayons


  • Container to carry water: Collapsible bowls work well.
  • Something to hold water for painting: water bags are my favorite, but a plastic water bottle can be used.
    • As an alternative, you can use a “water brush”- a brush with a water reservoir in the handle. This way you don’t really need a water container. Any brand is fine.  purchase a water brush via  THIS LINK
  • Travel pack of Kleenex (my favorite) or paper towel for water control.
  • optional folding chair
    • I love having a lightweight chair for sitting while painting. I find it very helpful for working on location. GCI Outdoor has a sturdy chair that folds up to a small size that weighs only 26 ounces and is priced at around $20 on Amazon. Here is the link GCI Outdoor Packseat purchase on Amazon with this link. Or go to THIS LINK for the GCI Outdoor Pack Seat or call 800-956-SEAT (7328).
  • Hat, umbrella and/or shirt for sun protection
  • Phone Camera
  • Lightweight backpack (I use one on wheels.) Click this Link to Amazon for Backpacks which I use
  • If you’re shy and do not want to speak to people on the street as you paint, I recommend a set of ear buds.  People are much less likely to engage you if it looks like you are listening to music.

Special technology:

  • Photographers can certainly bring a real camera.  I no longer find it worth the hassle.
  • Your iPad or tablet can be helpful to paint from. It’s nice to be able to zoom in on your image.

* Note clicking the links in “basic supply list for watercolor travel”  will allow you to shop online on Amazon and have the supplies delivered to your door.  I attach these links for your convenience as part of the Amazon Associates Program. Your purchase via these links does not impact your price. It does help support me and my efforts to be a resource for inspiration and advice for you on your artistic journey.  ❤️ 🎨