1. Knowledge : Supplies

Paints, palettes and products; Which end of the brush to use; How to wiggle the brush, etc.

These classes will evolve as time unfolds, and will include other media. However, I plan to work initially in oil or watercolor. Please note, I use all media in a similar fashion, whether oil, acrylic, watercolor, or even charcoal. The following are examples of the supplies I use:

Oil List:

Example of my brushes and etching tools.

  • References: Sketches/photos, images you want to creatively explore…. (I strongly recommend that you do not plan to create portraits of horses for family members or clients when just starting out. Far too much pressure!) This should be fun!!

  • OUTDOOR PANELS/GROUND: For outdoor sketching, I like to cut pieces of linen or “Yes” brand canvas and mount it to a board or panel, with tape or glue. (Manageable sizes, such as 11×14, 9×12, 12×16…) Alternatively, you can gesso or seal wood panels, or use a variety of canvases. (I would strongly suggest that you do not bring cheap canvas or canvas panels, since they seem to contain nylon, have no tooth, and will be a lesson in frustration.)

  • INDOOR PANEL/GROUND: I’d like to suggest that you use your outdoor panels, for convenience and economy, while learning (large paintings can be a drawback to a feeling of success). I’ve found that, regardless of your personal wealth, if you have invested in expensive grounds, you feel that what you create has to be at lease “good”….. Often a death knell to enjoying the process. (Vital)

  • Alternatively, I like to use gessoed Ampersand board or Masonite panels for my more creative pieces. (Smooth surface allows me to scrape and play.)

  • Newsprint or cheap drawing paper and drawing board. I recommend about 12×16, 16×20 or similar pad. I keep small pads and water soluble pencils with me at all times and doodle wherever I am.

  • Variety of brushes, including bristle, badger, soft, and script liners.

  • Variety of ‘paint etching tools’ such as paint erasers, brush ends, etc.

  • Variety of favorite drawing tools including charcoal pencils or sticks.

  • Soft kitchen towels, or rags. Old cotton T-shirts are perfect.

  • Easel and palette. My palette is 12 x 16 glass with silver gray foam core board taped to the back of it. You will need glass scrapers to clean this.

  • ODORLESS turpentine or mineral spirits, and a brush-washing container.

  • Variety of brushes, painting knives, & paint eraser tools

  • Favorite gessoes, for example Daniel Smith’s Gold or Dove Grey Gesso.

My Oil Palette:

This is how I lay out my palette for oils, watercolors or acrylics.

Whilst I try to use Holbein for most of my paints, I am not a purist regarding brands or colours, and recommend a palette that is comfortable and affordable for you. Below are the oil paints I use.

Please note, my personal palette is neither cheap nor limited, simply because I prefer not to have to mix my colors when I’m painting rapidly or outside.  You can practice every technique by using just 3 high quality primary colors, red, (Grumbacher Red recommended) blue (cobalt) and yellow (cadmium yellow light) plus white.  With these colors you can mix a wonderful variety of secondaries and tertiaries.

I like to paint on glass.  It’s easy to clean up and it’s wonderful to mix paints upon. The palette above is a silver piece of 16 x 20 foamcore with glass over it.  (If you choose to use glass, you might want to put tape around the edges to prevent cutting yourself.)  I then place this into a 16 x 20 plastic palette seal so that my paints can keep fresh for as long as possible.

Palette Layout:

As I will soon be explaining to you, I always think of color not in terms of hue, but as “temperature”.  I therefore lay out my palette with cools on the left side, warms on the right.  Also, I lay them out in such a way that they create something I like to call ‘a ladder of heat and light’.  By placing paints in an organized way, (that hopefully begins to make sense as you begin to view the lessons) I never need to think of where to go, or what color/temperature will be there.  It’s like driving a car.  You learn where the pedals and levers are so that you no longer have to think about doing it.

It’s not necessary that you lay out your palette in this manner.  I recommend that you find a way that makes sense to you, and that you use the same method each time so that reaching for colors become automatic to you over time.

Oil paints

  • Daniel Smith Mixed White

  • Ultramarine Blue*

  • Cobalt Blue*

  • Cerulean Blue

  • Viridian Green*

  • Pthalo Yellow Green

  • Medium Magenta

  • Mineral Violet*

  • Juane Brilliant*

  • Cadmium Lemon

  • Cadmium Yellow*

  • Cadmium Orange

  • Grumbacher or Cad/Scarlet Red

  • Alizarin Crimson*

  • Venetian Red

  • Transparent Oxide Red*

  • Transparent Ochre Gold or similar*

* Denotes recommended essential, limited palette.

Essential Watercolour List:

  • 140 lbs. “hot pressed”, high quality watercolor paper. Alternatively, I like to use the Arches hot pressed pads and have a variety of sizes, very convenient for travel. Or Crescent Premium watercolor board.

  • Board or something to mount paper upon. (Not necessary if pads are used.)

  • Newsprint or cheap drawing paper and drawing board. I recommend about 12×16, 16×20 or similar pad.

  • Variety of brushes, including bristle, badger, soft, and script liners.

  • Variety of tools for removing paint, including sponges, scrapers, paint erasers, etc.

  • Variety of charcoal/drawing tools including one or two gel pens of any color.

  • Soft kitchen towels (Viva), or rags. Old cotton T-shirts are perfect.

  • Easel and palette (I use the same easel arrangement as with oils.)

  • Spray bottle and water container.

  • Gesso

My Watercolour Palette:

I am not a purist regarding brands or colours, and recommend a simple palette that is comfortable and affordable to you.


  • Coastal Fog (American Journey)

  • Coffee with Cream (American Journey)

  • White Gouache (Windsor Newton)

  • Black Gouache (Windsor Newton)

  • Naples Yellow (Lucas)


  • Lemon Yellow

  • Cadmium Yellow

  • Transparent Orange

  • Halloween Orange (American Journey) Opaque

  • Alizarin Crimson (Lucas)

  • Cadmium Scarlet (American Journey)

  • Magenta (Lucas)

  • Passionate Purple (American Journey)

  • Indian Red

  • Pthalo Green

  • True Green (American Journey)

  • Black

  • Andrews Turquoise (American Journey)

  • Ultramarine Blue

  • A few odd colors


Turpentine & Medium

  • For cleaning brushes & thinning : odorless turpentine

  • Liquin. (You’ll notice I place plastic between the cap and the bottle so I can open it with ease every time. You can do this with any of your mediums/paint bottles.)

  • I like to use a stainless steel brush cleaner that has a good seal. This one is a Holbein.

Want to see the process in action? Click below.

Final Word….



My life is a living testament to the old statement “What comes around, goes around”’; or “What you do for others in an act of generosity, comes back tenfold”.  In honor of this code, I began writing down everything I know in these lessons in 2011 and began to offer them out, for free…. But it’s very valuable information.  The lessons constitute a lifetime of learning, and are lent to you as an act of generosity to help you on your artistic journey.  If you find this material helpful, continue to ‘pay it forward’ by sharing this website with others so that they too can be inspired with Art through "Lessons With Lesley."

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