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"Wire drawings are my new favorite thing to do! They are done with permanent markers, but they look like they are wire sculptures! That’s why I invented the name, wire drawings.”-Karen Knutson


If you struggle with drawing, that's good, because wrong lines actually make these better. There are many steps to create the look of a 3 dimensional image. It has to be seen to be understood. Watercolor and acrylic will enhance these paintings. One day we will be working in acrylics to produce paintings that resemble Gustav Klimt patterns. We will actually be using a credit card to spread the paint! Subjects will include birds, animals, dragonflies, people, or student’s choice. Mixed media makes this a fun exploration of new materials that add to the excitement of the finished piece.  We will be mainly working with acrylic and permanent markers, but students can finish their paintings, using whatever media they wish.  Many new tools will be shared, so the students can try out new materials.   By the end of the workshop, we will learn how to think abstractly, and do a wire drawing design for an abstract painting. Wire drawing will make all of your paintings better in a speedy manner. This workshop has been a hit with all of Karen’s students!  Karen is a very popular workshop instructor who believes that painting should be fun and easy, but with good design!

Supply List

Acrylics:  My favorite colors are 

  •         Nickel Azo Yellow
    • Titanium White (heavy body paint in a tube)

    • Carbon Black

    • Quinacridone or acra Magenta

    • Cobalt Blue

    • Pyrrole Red

    • Yellow Ochre

    • Phthalo Blue (Red Shade) 

    • Cerulean Blue Chromium

    • Hansa Yellow Medium (Heavy body paint)


For this process, the liquid acrylics work better than the heavy body acrylics, but bring whatever you already have.  *If you are investing in acrylics for the first time, my advice is to get small liquid acrylics:  black, blue, green, red, magenta, pink, and yellow.  They are really cheap (about $1) and will be fun to play around with.  I enjoy the turquoise small bottled acrylics for the WOW factor.  

Exception to the rule:  You will need 1 tube of Titanium White heavy body paint and Hansa Yellow Medium Heavy body Paint, AND Carbon Black, Heavy Body Paint.

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

  2. Optional- Gesso (optional) 

  3. 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.  

  4. One sheet Strathmore Aquarius II watercolor 80 lb. paper.  I 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 until the last day, when students get to choose how large they want to make their abstract painting.

  5. Rubber Brayer

  6. One sheet 140 lb. cold press Arches watercolor paper.

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

  8. 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!

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

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

  11. One bag of Jumbo Cotton balls 

  12. Qtips

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

  14. 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.)  

  15. Paper towels and/or Kleenex

  16. 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.

  17. White chalk OR white charcoal pencil 

  18. Caran d/Ache NeoColor II water soluble crayons (bring 3 or 4 neon colors. You can get them individually from Dick Blick Art Supplies.  My favorites are blue turquoise, mauve, orange, and sky blue, but pick your own favorites.)

  19. Tracing paper and carbon paper (carbon paper is available at office supply stores)

  20. Optional- compass for making circles

  21. Notebook, pencil, and eraser

  22. Scissors and/or an exacto knife

  23. 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.  

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

  25. ATG tape, or double stick tape. (Not the ones that look like scotch tape)  Get the ones that are in small dispensers that are available at Michaels in the craft paper area. You may use mine if you’d like.

  26. Ruler

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

  28. 6” Gold foil paper (available through OR 12. 25 inch wide Gold reactive foil (available at Hobby Lobby) (You may buy some from me if you can’t find it.)

  29. Permanent black markers (ultrafine and fine tips).  I use the Sharpie Twin Top markers (available at office supply stores).   Bring whatever other markers that you would like to embellish your paintings with.  I use gold, black and white mainly for the finishing touches. 

  30. Reference photos. My subjects will include outline shapes of people and simple subjects that read well just by their outer shape.  You may choose your own subject matter if preferred or keep completely abstract. 

  31. 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. 

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