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Painting People with Exciting Textures in Acrylic
Location: San Diego, CA
Dates: June 13-16, 2017
Hours: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Susanne Slater 
**Demonstration for SDWS
 Tuesday, June 13, 2017 

Have you always wanted to paint figurative work, but have been afraid to do so?  Karen will demonstrate painting people in this workshop.   No drawing experience necessary.  She has shortcuts to make drawing people really easy!  This workshop will concentrate on how to get many textures that only acrylic allows.  We will be using rubbing alcohol, different surface textures, and many other tricks to come up with special effects. Each painting will have about 4 layers to produce the special effects.  Design tips will also be discussed, since the backgrounds are very important parts of these textured paintings.  Acrylics has become my favorite medium!  Can’t wait to share my tricks!  One day, we will do carefree funky ladies, just for kicks.  On this day, we will be using watercolor and markers.  This has been one of Karen’s most popular workshops!

Supply List

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Supply list (Painting People with Exciting Textures in acrylic)

Instructor:  Karen Knutson     Email:

  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


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 paint in the 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 or 2 sheets 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. Wax paper for your palette or you can buy a disposable palette at the art store. 

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

  5. Jumbo Cotton balls and Q-tips

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

  7. 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.) 

  8. Paper towels and/or Kleenex

  9. 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.

  10. 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)

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

  12. White chalk or white Charcoal white pencil

  13. 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.

  14. Tracing paper and graphite paper

  15. Camera (optional)

  16. Notebook, pencil, and eraser

  17. Scissors and/or exacto knife

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

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

  20. Clear small ruler (mine is 18”)

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

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

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

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

  25. 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, but the reason that I like the W magazine is that the pictures are so big that you won’t need to enlarge most of them.

  26. Bag Lunch

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