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Location: White Bear Lake Center for the Arts
4971 Long Ave., White Bear Lake, MN 55110
Dates:   August 15- 17, 2017

Back for her third summer workshop at WBCA, Karen Knutson loves to introduce students to fun techniques and stretch their imagination into making their paintings semi-abstract.  In this workshop, students will be making our own stencils, using a glue gun.  Then we will paint illusionary birds and have fun with color exploration.  Another day, we will be pouring water on a charcoal surface and then incorporating a bird of their choice on the charcoal surface.  Karen will be demonstrating a cardinal, but students can pick your own subject.  Collage will be incorporated into an abstract design on the third day, and again, birds will be the subject of this painting, but just the outside shape of the bird.  No drawing necessary for this workshop.  Get ready to learn so many new textural tricks!  Fun to incorporate into any subject for future paintings!  

Supply List
  1. 1 sheet 140 pound cold press paper and a board to use for support. (We will probably be working on 4 quarter sheets.  Use either gator board or I prefer a plywood board for support.) If you wish to make more charcoal pour starts, bring 2 quarter sheets extra paper.

  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, neutral tint, 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. Plastic sleeve for keeping my handouts dry and safe from water spills.

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

  9. 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.)

  10. Masking tape

  11. Ruler

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

  13. Sponge or rag for wiping off your brushes.

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

  15. 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.

  16. Tracing paper

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

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

  19. Blow dryer (optional)

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

  21. 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.

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

  23. Reference photos of birds (or your choice of subject matter), 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. White birds do NOT work well for this exercise, so pick a bird that has color.  No need for reference photos for the birch trees.

  24. 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)

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

  26. Double tipped Sharpie markers (ultra fine and fine tips) or other black permanent markers.

  27. Acrylic paints:  White, Carbon black, cobalt blue, pyrole red, and cadmium yellow.  (The reason for this is that you can mix whatever color you want with the primary colors.) You can buy inexpensive liquid acrylic paints at Michaels for just over a dollar.   My preference is Golden brand, but bring whatever you can afford or already own.

  28. One flat 1/2” acrylic brush.  One small round acrylic brush.

  29. Wax paper or disposable palette for mixing acrylic paints.


These items are optional, so only bring them if you already own 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:

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