My Workshop Checklist

Starting to gather my materials for my upcoming oil painting workshop “Coast” in Artform, Dunmore East on July 1st 2019. Looking forward so much to spending four full days with fellow artists, painting the beautiful coastal scenery of the area, with the bright, spacious Artform studio as our base.

So here’s what I’ll be packing:

This is my Plein Air Oil Painting kit – box easel (half size), box of painting supplies, small backpack to hold canvas, sketchbook, drawing materials, water bottle, rain jacket, sunscreen. This allows me to carry the easel in one hand, the box in the other, with extra sundries in the backpack, so the weight is spread evenly.

Contents of box – brushes, palette knife, tubes of paint, Sansodor thinner, Liquin, baby wipes, plastic bags, latex gloves, dippers, kitchen towels, apron, small jar. Scroll below for the full materials list- this is just to show how compact it is.

And here’s the easel set up on the beach

Most of my plein air demos will be on small linen boards size 10 x 12 inches, so they are compact to carry and fast to work on. I’ve devised a way to carry a wet board:

I have a spare board in the same size, 10 x 12 inches, with small foam “parquet gliders” (from Woodies) stuck on the corners and edges

The wet canvas goes face down on this, attached with masking tape or bulldog clips, keeping it safe from smudging. I can touch up the corners later. Additional boards or canvases can be added as needed.

Here’s one of the scenes we’ll be painting, right outside the Artform Studio – this is a demo in progress of the cliffs at Dunmore East. The first loose marks are made with a brush, then adding texture and definition with the palette knife

And my Sketchbook studies of the same scene

We will combine sketching with our painting practise – to study our subject in greater depth, as well as to allow us to sometimes travel light and take advantage of a break in the weather. If time is short, we can take a walk with our sketchbooks, make notes and studies of different subjects, then continue to develop our paintings in the comfort of the Artform Studio.

You can choose any sketchbook you like – I have a larger one for more detailed studies (Moleskine A4 size) as well as a compact lightweight one that I use for travel sketching. The paper should be sturdy enough for a light watercolour wash, though it is also fine to just work in pen, pencil or any dry media.

I have several different painting sets as I just love to try out new stuff! It’s hard to recommend one in particular, and you should just bring whatever you have. The above set is Derwent Inktense Blocks, which are water soluble and very nice to use.

I’ll bring all these too, so you can try them out

These are my favourite brushes, firm but springy – Royal and Langnickel Oil / Acrylic brush set. I’ll have extra sets with me, if you’d like to purchase – cost is €12 for set of 12 brushes

This is the Palette Knife I use most of the time. About the size of my little finger, oval tipped (not pointed), and curved handle. The compact size feels like an extension of my arm, and I use the same shape in a larger size for my larger canvases. Available in a pack of 5 knives by Create in most art supply stores. It doesn’t have a particular reference size, just use the photo as a guide. Here is a link to a similar knife from Jacksons Art in UK.

And I like the Unipin Fine Line Drawing Pen 0.5, in Dark Grey – it marks like a pencil, but won’t smudge or erase and I’ll bring some with me. Cost is €3.

I’ll also have a couple of spare sketchbooks in case you need one.

In addition to my plein air and studio demonstrations from start to finish, I will bring some works in progress from my studio in Wicklow – basically decamp my studio to Artform, so I can show you how to approach the various stages of a painting’s progress

Please get in touch if I can help with any further information, and see you there soon

Materials List:

Portable folding easel if you have one

Folding stool (optional)

Several canvases (6 – 10) larger for studio work, smaller for plein air painting (canvas boards are not suitable)

For plein air studies I will be using the “Ultralight Linen Board” from Jackson’s Art in the UK. Size 10 x 12 inches is good for plein air work. Price is €10.54

I will also have some medium size canvases, and pad of oil paper for quick oil sketches

Selection of brushes – I prefer acrylic brushes – make sure they are in good condition!

Sketchbook, any size  

Sketching materials of your choice – pencil, charcoal, pens, water soluble crayons, mini watercolour pan set

Palette knife, oval tip

Disposable palette pad for oil painting

Bulldog clips to hold down palette or sketchbook page if it’s windy


Oil Materials

Dippers to hold medium

Odour free thinner such as Winsor and Newton Sansodor, and a jam jar for cleaning brushes

Liquin (fast drying medium) or linseed oil

Kitchen towels and baby wipes. Latex gloves (optional)

Oil Paints to include the following colours or similar:

Titanium white
Ultramarine blue
Cerulean blue
Cadmium red (hue)
Magenta or alizarin
Cadmium yellow light (hue)

Cadmium yellow (hue)
Yellow ochre
Burnt Sienna

Sap Green

Indigo or Payne’s Grey

These are my 12 « essential colours » for outdoor painting and demos, however I have additional colours in my studio such as Raw Umber, Prussian blue, Terre Verte for occasional use. Bring your own normal supplies for our studio time,  we will pack light for outdoor work. I use Winton Oils most of the time. 

Additional Supplies

Water bottle and / or coffee flask
Sunhat or visor, sunscreen, insect repellent 
Windbreaker or rain jacket
Comfortable walking shoes
Small plastic bags for clean up. 


iPad and / or smartphone, to paint from your photos in the studio


  1. John kent

    Can I have details of the Dunmore trip – availability, accommodation and cost.


    1. Hi John, the July workshop is fully booked, however we will be doing the same course from 30 September to 03 October. Tuition cost is €450, plus accommodation. Details are on website
      I will also be doing 4 day Summer Art School workshops in the Schoolhouse for Art in Enniskerry from 22-25 July and from 19-22 August. See Hope one if these might work for you.
      Kind regards


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