Lori McNee Painting Workshop Supply List

South Africa Plein Air Painting Safari workshop!

The following information in Lori McNee Painting Workshop Supply List will help make your painting and travel experience more enjoyable.

Thank you for being a participant in one of my painting workshops!

This is a comprehensive list. Beginners and novice painters will find this list helpful however, it may seem a bit overwhelming! Remember, you don’t need every item on this list. Advanced painters can bring supplies of their own choosing.

Read through this material and plan ahead! Order supplies ahead of time and practice with them!

I am looking forward to our upcoming painting adventure! ~Lori


Pack as lightly and portable as possible. You will be happier when navigating airports, trains, and buses! Plus, most likely we will have to carry our gear in search of the perfect painting spot!

For workshops abroad, it’s best to streamline your art supplies down to the utmost essentials. Your plein air easel/pochade box, tripod, and supplies should fit into one bag, roller bag, or backpack. Most of the vendors below sell backpacks and other travel bags. (Some workshops provide easels, check with Lori).

  • Do not fly with solvents or flammables.

    Giverny, France. Monet’s Garden plein air painting workshop!
  • Check your palette knives, paints, and any liquids with your luggage or
  • TSA will confiscate them.
  • Carry on your empty easel/box, and brushes if you are concerned for their

Here is a helpful article I wrote: How to Pack for Painting https://lorimcnee.com/how-to-pack-for-painting-tips/(the article is old, but there are some great tips!)

For plein air painting, dress in layers to adjust as the weather changes. Wear black, gray, or neutral-colored clothing – long sleeves and pants. Be ready for sun or rain. (Although in Africa, bugs are attracted to black clothing!)

Wear comfortable shoes.


Please bring a sturdy field easel or pochade box with a tripod. Choosing the perfect set-up is a personal choice. Check out the websites and educate yourself. If you need help deciding, I am happy to advise!

Please email me at  lori@lorimcnee.com.

I have tested all the easels/boxes below. This list has a variety of price points, and pros and cons, but all are quality boxes. If ordering directly from the maker, please let them know Lori McNee sent you!

The all-in-one easels do not need a tripod, but the other set-ups require a tripod. You can usually purchase a tripod from the pochade box vendor. Make sure the tripod fits your easel!! If you choose a ball-mount pochade box, don’t forget a corresponding quick-release plate!

*Test out your new set-up well before the workshop.

All-in-one Field Easels:

Palette and Panel Holder Easels: (need a tripod)

Pochade Boxes: (need a tripod)

Or you can make your own pochade box just like Monet did! http://www.finearttips.com/2009/05/build-a-pochade-box/

Here’s a helpful post about choosing a tripod: http://www.thomaskitts.com/2013/12/tripods-for-plein-air-painter.html

The easel/pochade box list above all includes palette mixing areas. Some are wood and some are Plexiglas. I suggest treating a new wood palette with linseed oil. Do not use disposable palette pages. If you prefer using a handheld palette, I like New Wave palettes. Here’s my review http://www.finearttips.com/2012/11/the-plein-air-artist-palette-by-new-wave/


Traditional oil, water-mixable oil, acrylic, and watercolor/gouache paints are welcome at my workshops and retreats. However, I will be painting and demoing with oils (water-mixable and/or gouache).

For overseas workshops and retreats, I suggest using a limited palette of only 5 or 6 paint colors – especially when painting with oils or acrylics. You can mix your own greens, oranges, etc. A limited palette assures a more harmonious painting!

*Paints and palette knives must travel in your CHECKED LUGGAGE.

Lori’s Limited Palette:

  • Titanium White
  • Cadmium Yellow Lemon or Light
  • Cadmium Red Light
  • Madder Lake or Alizarin Crimson
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Viridian or Permanent Green

Lori’s Extended Palette: (best for studio painting)

  • Titanium White
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Cadmium Yellow Light
  • Cadmium Orange
  • Cadmium Red Light
  • Viridian or Permanent Green Deep
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Cobalt or Cerulean Blue
  • Transparent Oxide Red or Burnt Sienna
  • Alizarin or Madder Lake

Need oil paints or want to try water-mixable oils?

Use discount code: lorimcnee30 and save on Lori’s Cobra Water Mixable Oil Set:


I am a trained master artist in Cobra water-mixable, solvent-free oils, and I would love to teach you how to use them. They are especially perfect for overseas travel.

Here is a very helpful post: http://www.finearttips.com/2009/10/water-soluble-oilpaints-facts-tips-why-i-use-them/

Lucca, Italy plein air painting workshop!

Other suggested brands are Rembrandt, Gamblin, Winsor Newton, Holbein, and Utrecht.

Watercolor/Gouache: You might want to bring a small watercolor or gouache set for quick sketchbook field studies.

  • Here’s a beautiful gouache set by Caran d’Ache available on Amazon https://amzn.to/38dsCT8 I love gouache – it’s basically opaque watercolor, but easier.
Lori’s private gouache painting workshop participants in Baja Mexico!



Brushes are an important tool for the artist, but you don’t have to break the bank! Bring a few cheap ½ inch chip brushes from your local hardware store. These are great for laying in underpainting and textures. Bring high-quality brushes ranging from sizes 4-8. I prefer filberts and flats, and
one round. Bring what you like…

Lori’s new Signature Series Landscape Brush Set which is perfect for this trip for oil and acrylic painters… https://lorimcnee.com/product/lori-mcnee-signature-series-plein-air-landscapebrush-set

Here are some other great brushes:

For watercolor or gouache, you will need a set of brushes.

PAINTING SUPPORTS (panels, canvases, etc):

Depending upon our workshop itinerary, plan to paint 2-3 paintings a day. Panels and canvases can get heavy, so I prefer to bring along extra lightweight panels. Bring pre-primed linen or canvas panels, canvas pads, or gessoed hardboard panels in a variety of smaller sizes ranging from 6×8, 8×10, 9×12, and 11×14.

Traditional oil painters can paint on either oil-primed or universal primed gessoed supports. Water-mixable oil and acrylic painters – only paint on acrylic or universal primed gessoed supports.

Lori during a private moment at an early morning painting session in Monet’s Garden.

Other options


  • Easel/tripod (if not supplied by workshop coordinator)
  • Paints
  • Brushes
  • Support (panels, canvases, etc)
  • Empty, clamp-lid container for mineral spirits or water. (We will get
    solvents there) https://amzn.to/3Jap7de
  • Sketchbook, pen, or pencil (for notes and ideas)
  • Black Sharpie
  • Camera and SD Card



  • Brimmed hat
  • Wool cap or beanie
  • Scarf
  • Warm jacket
  • Comfortable waterproof or resistant shoes