The Essentials

The time ... 1Oam to 6pm, Sunday, 1 June, 1997 (until August 10) The place ... The Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly, London Tickets pounds 5, pounds 4 concessions, pounds 2.50 for 12-18 years, pou nds l for 8-11 years
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The Independent Online
This is your chance to buy an original work of art for as little as pounds 10 or as much as pounds 1m. Almost all of the 1,200 works on display are for sale at what is described as the largest open contemporary art exhibition in the world. Watercolours, oils and etchings by internationally acclaimed and younger, less well-known artists hang side by side. Perhaps you fancy creating your own masterpiece and entering it in next year's summer exhibition? First you'll need a few basic materials such as an adaptable easel, price pounds 29.99, for securing canvases or boards, a sketch , at pounds 2.70, brushes, from pounds 1.90, and a starter paint kit, at pounds 12.95. These can be bought direct from Winsor & Newton materials (0181-424 3253), or from any fine art shop.

Easels: the Dart Easel, a versatile, lightweight beechwood design, pounds 29.99; the Severn easel, a more substantial version, pounds 69.99; the Trent metal sketching easel, pounds 37.99; the Tyne aluminium sketching easel, pounds 47.99.

Cotman pads and Cotman paper are most often used by beginners in water colours. Paper spiral pads cost pounds 3.25, gummed pads, pounds 2.70 and sheets, pounds l.20.

Cotman brushes suitable for water colours and oils are priced at pounds l.90- pounds 7.25.

Learn to paint water colour pan set, pounds l2.95; paint with water colour tube set, pounds l2.95

Now practise your brush strokes on a painting course. Whisk yourself off to the wilds of Suffolk on a water- colour weekend at artist Deborah Ardizzone's studio in Yoxford (01728 668327). Two days' tuition costs just pounds 35, but you'll need to take your own materials and book into a local B&B. You could take your easel and paint palette to the hilltops of Tuscany. A fortnight at the Verrocchio arts centre, between Florence and Siena, excluding flight but including accommodation, home cooking and local wine, costs between pounds 570 and pounds 620. Call 01244 676585 to book.

Then, of course, you can buy an original. How about a Lorna Wilson - Rhapsody 2, pounds 850 - Nicola Hicks - Dressed for the Woods, pounds l5,275 - or, at the top of the market, the controversial work by RB Kitaj RA - Sandra Three, pounds 1m.


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