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How to get ideas for abstracts!
Location: Cape Coral, FL
Dates: January 12- 14, 2017
Hours: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Marjorie Ewell
​Phone:  239-945-3158 

mixed media workshop

On Day 1, we will prepare papers for both techniques and then paint on the charcoal pour paintings in the afternoon.  This process is so fun!  We actually will be throwing a bucket of water on the charcoal powdered surface.  (Outside, of course!)  Then we will paint the subject, using watercolor, and adding collage, creating a textural masterpiece!  Karen will demonstrate a crow, but students may pick whatever subject they prefer. Karen believes that painting should be fun, and gives lots of individual help. 


On days 2 and 3, we will learn an easy fun way to paint an underpainting, using acrylics.  No drawing skills needed.  Karen has lots of tricks to make drawing people easy.  We will get to doodle to our heart’s content in this workshop, painting like Gustav Klimt, with tiny patterns and even adding gold outliner paint for details.  Acrylic actually makes this process so fun and easy. Craft acrylic paints (available at Michaels) can be used for this process, so this will be an introduction into acrylics that won’t break the bank.  This workshop will emphasize good design and lots of tricks to make the detail work easier.  We actually paint using a credit card to begin the process!  Students always LOVE this process!


Supply list for charcoal pour painting: 


  1.  1/2 sheet 140 pound cold press paper or (2 quarter sheets)and a 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.)

  2. 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.

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

  4. #2  Pencil, eraser

  5. Scissors and/or utility knife

  6. Sketch pad or notebook for taking notes.

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

  8. 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.)

  9. Masking tape

  10. Ruler

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

  12. Sponge or rag for wiping off your brushes.

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

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

  15. Tracing paper

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

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

  18. Blow dryer (optional)

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

  20. 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.

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

  22. 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.

  23. 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)

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

  25. Double tipped Sharpie markers (ultra fine and fine tips)


These items are optional so bring them if you already won them.  I can share mine. 

  1. (optional) Compass or circle templates

  2. Optional) Caran d Ache crayons (I love these for finishing touches!) (get at Dick Blick or Cheap Joes.)

  3. (Optional:  markers for adding details. My favorite markers are Tombow brand.

  4. (optional) Margarita salt or table salt

*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.  (General’s is my favorite brand)

  2. Krylon Workable fixative spray


If you have questions about the supplies, my email is:


Painting like Gustav Klimt with Good Design – Supply list:

  1. Acrylics:  My favorite colors are


  • Nickel Azo Yellow

  • Titanium White and/or gesso

  • Carbon Black

  • Acra Magenta or Quinacridone Magenta

  • Cobalt Blue

  • Pyrrole Red

  • Yellow Ochre

  • Phthalo Blue (Red Shade)

  • Cerulean Blue Chromium

  • Hansa Yellow Medium

  • Titanium white (heavy body tube)


I use both heavy body acrylics (in tubes) and liquid acrylics (in bottles), for this process.  (The white one, I use in the heavy body tube.)  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. (Gesso can be substituted for the titanium white if you wish.)

  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 watercolor 80 lb. paper.  (I have enough for everyone to buy one from me, if you’d rather not get it from the art supply store.) Bring a board for support. (I usually cover it with plastic.) We’ll be working on quarter sheet sizes. 

  3. One sheet of plastic to cover your table.  (plastic tablecloths work great for this.)

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

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

  6. (Optional) Face mask (if you are sensitive to the smell of rubbing alcohol.)

  7. Jumbo Cotton balls and Q-tips

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

  9. 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.) 

  10. Paper towels and/or Kleenex

  11. 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.

  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 exacto knife

  19. Any gold or metallic acrylic paints that you already have.   

  20. Clear small ruler (mine is 18”)

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

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

  23. 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 11 or 12 inches tall.)  I also look through People magazine for loving couples.

  24. Lunch (we usually have a 45 minute break for lunch)

  25. 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)

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

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