1. Gesso: I have traditional white gesso, black, and clear. They all come in handy. Gesso is great for priming your surface before you paint and it can be used as an eraser to cover up things to don't like. It allows you to start over. Black is great for as a base for underpainting. Clear gesso can be mixed with paint to create colored gesso. I use white the most often but enjoy experimenting with all three.
2. Spray bottle: I have a large spray bottle that I picked up for a few dollars at a home improvement store. I use it to blend colors, create washes and mix paints.
3. Baby wipes/paper towels: are great for cleaning pallet knives, wiping down surfaces, removing excess paint, and they can be used to create texture.
4. Water cups: fill up 2 or 3 at the beginning of each session so you have clean water ready to go. It will keep you from loosing momentum because you won't have to stop and refill your water when it gets muddy. Simply switch to the next water cup.
5. Sparkle water: its important to stay hydrated. Choosing sparkle water feels more like a treat while still being a healthy choice. Occasionally I sneak in gold fish crackers too.
6. Texture tools: stencils, bubble wrap, sponges, and repurposed kitchen utensils all fall in this category. I have a drawer full of texture tools making them easy to find and easy to put away.
7. Pallet knife: it took me a ridiculously long time to purchase this tool. It has quickly become one of my favorites because of its versatility.
8. Teflon sheet: that covers my work area. They are super easy to clean quickly with a baby wipe or damp paper towel.
9. Gel medium: this is a multipurpose product. Use it to create texture on canvas. Mix with acrylic paints like an extender, extending the time your paint stays wet. Use to create glazes out of your paints. Use as a glue for adhering collage papers, tapes, or ephemera. You can also use it for image transfers.
10. My apron: without my apron, I have ruined several shirts and a beloved pair of jeans. Now I use it every time. I keep it on a hook right by my work table so there's no excuse for not putting it on.
5 things I use at nearly every session
1. India ink: is ink made out of carbon and is a wonderful ink for writing.
2. Spray inks: which are great for adding in additional layers of color.
3. Light modeling paste: hands down my favorite product for adding depth to a canvas.
4. Pencil: either lightly sketch on canvas or to plan out a basic outline of painting in sketchbook. Sometimes I think I have a plan and then the painting morphs into something else. This is fine. I go with the flow, but having an idea helps get the painting started.
5. Pastels: I use both stick pastels and Pan Pastels.