I use Golden heavy body acrylics, but any good quality acrylic paint will do. I don't recommend student grade paints. They have more fillers, less color. You will just be frustrated. The colors do vary from brand to brand, so you might have to do some experimenting to find the ones that are comparable. This is my basic "Palette" - the colors I normally use:

Many of my tutorial videos and class projects use a limited palette of just a few of these, be sure to check first to see which ones are used if you are following along with one

  • Titanium White
  • Quinacridone Azo Gold*
  • Hansa Yellow Medium (I replaced Cadmium Yellow Medium with this color recently. So the older videos use that. Either one works fine!)
  • Napthol Red Light ( I replaced Cadmium Red Medium with this color recently. So the older videos use that. Either one works fine!)
  • Quinacridone Magenta
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Pthalo Blue (green shade)
  • Ultramarine Blue

That's all the colors I use! From there you will learn to mix every color you need.

*This color is only found in Golden Brand Acrylics. I love it and find it indispensable. If you must substitute, the closest alternative would be Yellow Ochre

To start with a less expensive alternative to buying all of these paints right away - I have done a video demo called "Lavender Fields"using only the Golden Brand "Introductory Set" of paints.

Brushes and such

A selection of bristle and synthetic brushes. These would be for a small canvas - choose bigger sizes for a bigger canvas. You will soon discover your own favorites.

  • #4 round bristle or bristle blend
  • 1/2" wide flat synthetic
  • #2 or #4 synthetic filbert
  • Liner brush
  • palette knife
  • mister bottle
  • water container for rinsing
  • paper towels


You will need a palette that you can seal up so your paint doesn't dry.

Click Here for a video showing how I prepare my palette


There are many choices, I use stretched canvas.:

  • stretched canvas
  • canvas panels
  • wood panels


An easel is nice, though not necessary. 

Just so you aren't working on a flat table, you can take an old towel, roll it up and put a rubber band around it. Then just lean your canvas or panel on it to work.

I've created a Shopping Basket at the online art supply store Jerrys Artarama. Click on this link to go there. You can see the products I recommend, and buy them there if you want (no I'm not affiliated with Jerry's :). Hopefully it can help you know what you are looking for when you shop! If you do decide to buy from Jerrys, be sure to give yourself a couple of weeks time for delivery!

Click here to see all the materials I recommend at Jerrys Artarama


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Comment by Karen Ilari on June 12, 2017 at 10:16am

Thanks for letting me know Elizabeth! All fixed now.

Comment by Elizabeth Campbell on June 11, 2017 at 5:40pm

Unfortunately, the link to your recommended materials at Jerrys doesn't work - 404 page not found.

Comment by Phyllis Burnett on February 4, 2016 at 8:03am
Let me know if I am on right track with my switch from oil to acrylic.
All comments welcome. Thanks
Comment by Karen Ilari on August 2, 2015 at 8:19am

Glad you found it Beth! Love those coupons at Michaels!

Comment by Elizabeth Beveridge (Beth) on August 1, 2015 at 9:33pm

I just thought I'd mention I found the quinacridone nickel Azo Gold at Michaels in Canada today... with my handy dandy 40% off coupon, it wasn't half bad :)

Comment by Cindy Carriger on July 19, 2015 at 5:58am

thank you for answering about the yellows!  Very helpful!

Comment by Karen Ilari on July 7, 2015 at 11:39pm

Yes, Golden makes it. I buy mine through Jerrys Artarama online. Yellow ochre seems to be a similar substitute. What I like about Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold is that it is fairly transparent and mixes really well with other colors. Especially for landscape painting it adds that golden tone to greens and dry grasses.  The yellow ochre is an earth color, more opaque and will muddy up faster in a mix.

Comment by Cindy Carriger on July 7, 2015 at 8:44pm

There has now been an occasion where i can definitely tell the difference between the higher grade paint and the 'beginner' paints.  (i commented before when i first started using them, that I couldnt see the difference...)  It has to do with coverage when introducing say a flower over some grass - the better quality paint will usually take to the sub surface pretty well with one to two coats, where as, the cheaper paint will take numerous coats!  Now im getting it! Light bulb moment!

By the way Karen, i still have not seen this color in my supply place - Quinacridone Azo gold.  I hve used the substitute i think i heard you (Karen) mention of Yellow Ochre (or was it Y Oxide?), and sometimes ive used naples yellow to change up the blue to make a green.  You did say that Golden offers that color, right?  Perhaps i need to find it online.  And can you clear up which paint color can be used as a substitute until that time?  And what is different about the Quin Azo gold that you like better?

Comment by Karen Ilari on July 7, 2015 at 2:27pm

You are welcome Jeannie!

Comment by jeannie westerfield on July 7, 2015 at 2:25pm

thank you very much for the encouraging words.  you are so right..i want to let my fingers FEEL how to paint.  thanks for the list for this project.  i watched the video part 1 last night and plan to redo my try made it sound relaxing and stress free...yeah///that is exactly what i want...thank you...jeannie

Comment by Karen Ilari on April 27, 2015 at 4:35pm

You're welcome Cindy.

Glad it is helpful KC!

Comment by Cindy Carriger on April 26, 2015 at 4:47pm

very helpful to know all of the above.  I had been wondering about the Quinacridone Azo gold (as i heard you mention it during your paint video's).  I also don't recall seeing Hansa Yellow lt before.  I have been using the paints i find at Michaels (in Texas), Liquitex Basics (LEVEL 2) since i started a yr ago, but lately been picking up some Golden (LEVEL 3) acrylic paints when on sale.  I cant tell a vast difference really - but i have just started adding in the golden for the few colors i have purchased recently.  Maybe i will as i develop my skills.  THANK YOU!

Comment by KC Cooke on March 10, 2015 at 10:08am

This answers my questions about knowing how to select paints for each new painting. Always using the same to start -simple solution. Thanks! And it certainly encourages lots of mixing and blending ;)

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