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Charcoal Pour Birds, Funky Ladies, and Gustav Klimt style paintings
Location: Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Dates: April 19th - 22nd
Hours: ---
Cost: ---
Karen Knutson

Days 1 and 2:  Painting Charcoal Pour Birds  and Funky Ladies  (watercolor and collage)


We’ll start this workshop with a charcoal pour as a preparation for our bird paintings.  This is such a fun process, and very easy!  We’ll actually be pouring a big bucket of water over the charcoal papers (Outside, of course).  Wear old clothes and shoes on the first day.  Contour drawings make these paintings easy and a great adventure!  There will be exciting new ways to establish texture, using collage papers, and different surface treatments for special effects.  Tricks!!!!  We’ll learn an easy way to draw a funky lady.  No portrait painting here!  This is one of Karen Knutson’s most popular workshops.  She believes that painting should be fun, and gives lots of individual help.  She is known for her enthusiastic demonstrations and lessons in good design.  


On Days 3 and 4: Painting like Gustav Klimt (acrylic)


Students will learn the magical process of painting like Gustav Klimt.  They will get to doodle to their heart’s content in this workshop. This workshop will emphasize good design and lots of tricks to make the detail work easier.  Students actually paint using a credit card to begin the process! This workshop has been a huge hit with lots of oohs and awes as they scrape across the paper with a credit card to expose the beautiful colors below the surface.

Check out Karen's blog for previews of this process.  

Supply List

Download as PDF:


Supply list for Days 1 and 2: (Charcoal Pour and Funky Lady)

  1. 1 sheet 140 pound cold press paper and a quarter sheet size board to use for support. (We will probably be working on 2 quarter sheets.  Use either gator board or I prefer a plywood board for support.)  Or watercolor blocks work well also.  I usually like to cut the paper to size each day, because I work on odd sized papers.

  2. #2  Pencil, eraser

  3. Scissors and/or utility knife

  4. Sketch pad or notebook for taking notes.

  5. Watercolor brushes (bring your favorites) I use 1” flat and ½ “flat, and a small (#6) round brush. 

  6. Water containers (old Cool Whip containers work great) bring 2.

  7. Bring a plastic container with a lid for storing the acrylic matte medium that I will be sharing with you.   (I use small butter containers or sour cream plastic containers.)

  8. Masking tape (I prefer Duck brand tape, because it sticks well.  Get at Walmart or Fleet Farm.)

  9. Ruler

  10. Kleenex brand tissues (because they pop up for easy grabbing)

  11. Sponge or rag for wiping off your brushes.

  12. Margarita salt or table salt (optional)

  13. Spray bottle (I use a push button top, old Windex bottle.  You can usually get these at Holiday gas stations.)

  14. Blow dryer (optional)

  15. Bring your palette filled with your usual colors, making sure that you let them dry in the palette for one or two days.  (The reason for this, is that I double load colors and if they are fresh out of the tube, you won’t be able to do this procedure.  However, if you are used to using fresh watercolors, you may do that.)  Because everyone always asks, my palette is as follows.  I use mainly transparent colors.  (Please do not feel that you must go out and buy these colors.  The most important 5 colors are listed first.) Aureolin yellow, permanent rose (or DaVinci red rose deep), cobalt blue, winsor green, alizarin crimson, antwerp blue,  French ultramarine blue, manganese blue, cerulean blue, quinacridone gold, burnt sienna, permanent magenta, winsor red, and scarlet lake.

  16. Camera (optional) If you want to take photos of my demonstration in progress, that’s OK with me.

  17. Bring one package of napkins that have repetitive shapes (ie.,checks or diamonds).  We’ll have a napkin exchange.  These will give you ideas for negative painting later.  (Also, bring old newspapers to use for collage)

  18. Bring a big bucket if you have one.  (ie.  ice cream bucket size)

  19. Acrylic matte medium OR “Yes” paste is used for adhesive (with an old brush) to apply the collage materials. 

  20. Masking fluid (optional)  I use Pebeo brand, because of its fluidity and that it is grey in color. 

  21. Self stick rhinestones or “bling, bling” things to glue on our ladies for the earrings and necklaces.  You can get these at craft stores.  I like to get clear ones that are quite small and look like diamonds. J

  22. Tracing paper

  23. Graphite paper (a great brand is Saral, graphite color)

  24. Reference photos of birds, that are enlarged to about size 7” high.  We will be copying these to use for the outside shape.  I will be bringing examples of crows and cardinals.  Try not to pick white birds.  They don’t show well on the charcoal surface.  No reference needed for our people paintings.  J

  25. Elegant Writer Calligraphy pen OR Derwent inktense colored pencil (charcoal colored).  (They smear when you wet them.) If you can’t find these, you can use mine.


*Be sure to dress in layers, so you can adjust to your hot flashes.  J  Also, wear old clothing and old shoes. This can be messy.


Karen will bring along these supplies and charge a small fee for the use of them:

  1. Dry Charcoal powder. 

  2. Workable fixative spray

  3. Oriental fiber papers, (my favorite are chiri, amime, and unryu papers) and assorted paper napkins.   If you have some collage materials, you may want to bring them.  I will have small kits for sale. 

  4. We will be using a few acrylics for finishing touches, so bring white, black acrylic for sure.  (I have some other  acrylic colors to share, but for sure bring white and black.) Also, bring a couple of acrylic brushes.

  5.  (Optional) Caran d Ache crayons

  6. Optional:  markers for making details on the funky lady paintings.  My favorite markers are Tombow brand



Supply list for Days 3 and 4:  Painting like Gustav Klimt using Acrylics


  1. Acrylics:  My favorite colors are

  • Nickel Azo Yellow

  • Titanium White and/or gesso

  • Carbon Black

  • Quinacridone or acra Magenta

  • Cobalt Blue

  • Pyrrole Red

  • Yellow Ochre

  • Phthalo Blue (Red Shade)

  • Cerulean Blue Chromium

  • Hansa Yellow Medium


I use both heavy body acrylics (in tubes) and liquid acrylics (in bottles).  Just bring whatever you already have.  If you are investing in acrylics for the first time, my advice is to get liquid acrylics:  white, black, cobalt blue, pyrole red, quinacridone magenta, and hansa yellow.  Then go to Michaels and get whatever little bottled acrylics that you like.  They are really cheap and will be fun to play around with.  I enjoy the turquoise colored little bottles.

  1. Brushes.  If you already have oil painting brushes or acrylic brushes, bring those.  I use mainly 3 brushes:  1” flat, ½” flat, and #6 round.  Otherwise, I use a big 2 or 3” cheap brush for preparing the paper at the beginning. 

  2. One sheet Strathmore Aquarius II watercolor 80 lb. paper.  Beth will have these available for you to purchase at the workshop site.  Bring a board for support. (I usually cover it with plastic.) We’ll be working on quarter sheet sizes. 

  3. Wax paper for your palette or you can buy a disposable palette at the art store. 

  4. Old Credit cards or plastic cards (I save the ones that I use in hotels).  We will be using these to scrape the paint across the surface of the paper.  A really FUN procedure!

  5. One bottle of Rubbing Alcohol (make sure it is 91% isopropyl alcohol, available at Walgreens)

  6. Jumbo Cotton balls and Q-tips

  7. Water container (I use big Parkay tubs.  Some people use big ice cream buckets)

  8. Windex bottle (push button top) for spraying water.  Empty Windex out and put water in the bottle.  (You can usually find these at Holiday Gas Stations or convenience stores.) 

  9. Paper towels and/or Kleenex

  10. Any special effects tools that you already have.  For instance, rubber stamps, or stamps that you have carved yourself. We will be stamping with very small rubber stamps, so if you have any circles or square rubber stamps, bring those. I have lots to share.

  11. Repetitive or tiny designed papers to use for collage.  Bring colored tissue paper also.  Bring your favorite collage papers.  Napkins work great for collage also.  (think of checks or spots for the repetitive designs)

  12. Acrylic matte medium and (an old brush for applying it.  I use a 2” cheap brush.)

  13. White chalk or white Charcoal white pencil

  14. Wear layers, since sometimes it gets too hot for some or too cool for others.  Also, bring a protective apron, or wear old clothes.  Acrylic is hard to get out of clothing.

  15. Tracing paper and graphite paper

  16. Camera (optional)

  17. Notebook, pencil, and eraser

  18. Scissors and/or an exacto knife

  19. Old credit card or Hotel key card (we use this for scraping the acrylic paint) 

  20. If you are sensitive to the smell of rubbing alcohol, bring a face mask.  I’ll try to bring extras too.

  21. Optional:  Plastic gloves for your hands (I don’t use them.  I’d rather get in there and scratch with my fingernails. Your choice!)  I use a Scotch-Brite heavy duty 3M scour pad for getting the paint off my hands. 

  22. Any gold or metallic acrylic paints that you already have.  Again, I have some to share with you.

  23. ATG tape, or double stick tape.  Get the ones that are in small dispensers that are available at Michaels. 

  24. Clear small ruler (mine is 18”) 

  25. Pebeo gold Porcelaine outliner paint (in tube)  I got mine through the Cheap Joes catalog. 

  26. Gold Deco Foil and/or copper Deco foil.  You can buy your own at

  27. Any markers that you would like to embellish your paintings with.  I use gold, black and white mainly for the finishing touches.

  28. Old magazines or newspapers to use in collage.  (My favorite is Architectural Digest.)

  29.  Reference photos.  (I use W magazine or InStyle magazine) Enlarge the photo that you want to use to fit a quarter sheet paper.  (I like the people to be about 9 or 9 ½ inches tall.)  I also look through People magazine for loving couples.

Scotch-Brite heavy duty 3M scour pad is useful for getting the paint off our hands. 

Questions? email 

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